Match Preview

Croatia vs. England Predictions, Betting Tips and Match Preview

England’s tournament continues on Wednesday night as they play Croatia in Moscow in their first W. Cup semi-final in 28 years. Sir Bobby Robson’s team lost to West Germany in Italy in 1990, but Gareth Southgate’s team have surprised many and could make their first final since 1966 with victory over Croatia.

England beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarter finals, with goals coming from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli. Maguire has become one of the stars of England’s campaign so far, especially as England’s “Love Train” at corners has proven to be so effective. England are still very reliant on set-pieces, but they did score from open play against Sweden, as Kieran Trippier crossed for Tottenham teammate Alli to head in. This game will prove a tough test for Southgate’s men though, as they’ll come up against the strongest midfield they’ve played all tournament. It’s yet to be decided whether Southgate will make a tactical switch and bring in Eric Dier for one of Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling or Dele Alli.

Croatia beat hosts Russia on penalties in their quarter final, as the game ended 1-1 after normal time, before both scored again in extra time. Ivan Rakitic struck the winning penalty, his second in two games, and he’ll line up alongside Luka Modric in the Croatian midfield. They’re yet to win a knockout game in this tournament without it having to go to penalties.

Croatia vs. England Predictions

This could be a very close game and could go either way, but I can see England winning if they can control the midfield. Set pieces have been crucial for the Three Lions in this tournament and I can see England scoring from one.

Croatia vs. England Betting Tips

  • England to win 2-1: 19/2
  • John Stones to score anytime: 16/1
  • 0-0 at half time: 5/4

Head to Head

  • This is the eighth meeting between England and Croatia, with England winning four of those games, with one draw and two Croatia wins. Six of the previous seven games have also been played on a Wednesday.
  • England and Croatia have met once before at a major tournament. England won 4-2 in a group stage match at Euro 2004.
  • England are competing in their third W. Cup semi-final. They won 2-1 against Portugal in 1966 on their way to winning the tournament, but lost on penalties to Germany in 1990.
  • Croatia have had eight different scorers at the 2018 W. Cup. Only Belgium have had more different players find the net (9).
  • England have not beaten two European nations in a single W. Cup since 1982, when they beat Czechoslovakia and France.
  • England have scored 11 goals at this year’s W. Cup, a joint-record along with the 11 they scored in their victorious 1966 tournament.
  • Croatia have reached the W. Cup semi-finals for the second time since their first W. Cup participation in 1998. Which is more than the likes of Argentina, England, Italy, Portugal and Spain (1 each). The only European nations with more semi-final appearances in this period (including 2018) are Germany (4), France (3) and Netherlands (3).
  • Croatia reached the semi-finals via penalty shootout victories in the last 16 against Denmark and quarter final against Russia. The only other team to win two penalty shootouts in a single W. Cup were Argentina in 1990 (against Yugoslavia and Italy).
  • England had 15 shots on target in their first two 2018 W. Cup matches but have attempted just six in their three games since. England had eight shots on target against Portugal in the 1966 semi-final and four in 1990’s semi-final against Germany.
  • Croatia have only lost one of their six knockout matches at the W. Cup, losing to France in the 1998 semi-final.
  • Harry Kane has scored on six of the seven days of the week for England, with Wednesday the only day he hasn’t scored on. Should he score, he’ll become just the third player to score on all seven days of the week for England, after Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.
  • Mario Mandzukic assisted Andrej Kramaric’s goal against Russia in the quarter final. He has been involved in four goals at the W. Cup finals for Croatia (3 goals, 1 assist), with only Davor Suker involved in more (6).
  • Eight of England’s 11 goals at the 2018 W. Cup have been scored via set pieces. Since 1966, the only team to equal that number in a single tournament are Portugal in 1966 (also eight goals).
  • Croatia scored two headers in their last match against Russia. Only one of their previous 29 W. Cup goals was scored via a header.

Croatia Team News

Daniel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Internazionale), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Internazionale), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt)

England Team News

Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Words by @dominictrant