FIFA World Cup – Semi-finals – Croatia v England – Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a match centre with betting tips for the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England. The game kicks off on the 12th of July at 4:00 AM AEST. It will be broadcast live on SBS.

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Croatia

Croatia

  • FIFA World Rank: 20
  • Elo Rating: 17
  • Qualifying: Runners up in Group I with a 6-2-2 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification. Defeated Greece 4-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Second Round playoffs.

Squad:

  • Coach: Zlatko Dalić
  • Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo)
  • Defenders: 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)
  • Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)
  • Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter), Nikola Kalinic (Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht)

Recent results:

  • Russia 1 – 1 Croatia
    2 – 2 after extra time
    Croatia won 4-3 on penalties
    07/07/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Croatia 1 – 1 Denmark
    1 – 1 after extra time
    Croatia won 3-2 on penalties
    01/07/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Iceland 1 – 2 Croatia
    26/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Argentina 0 – 3 Croatia
    21/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Croatia 2 – 0 Nigeria
    16/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Croatia 2 – 1 Senegal
    08/06/2018
    Friendly, played in Croatia
  • Croatia 0 – 2 Brazil
    03/06/2018
    Friendly, played in England
  • Mexico 0 – 1 Croatia
    27/03/2018
    Friendly, played in USA
  • Peru 2 – 0 Croatia
    23/03/2018
    Friendly, played in USA
  • Greece 0 – 0 Croatia
    12/11/2017
    WC qualifiers, played in Greece
  • Croatia 4 – 1 Greece
    09/11/2017
    WC qualifiers, played in Croatia
  • Ukraine 0 – 2 Croatia
    09/10/2017
    WC qualifiers, played in Ukraine

Statistics: (last four years):

  • H2H Record: 28-12-8
  • O/U record
    • O/U 0.5 record: 46-2
    • O/U 1.5 record: 35-13
    • O/U 2.5 record: 17-31
    • O/U 3.5 record: 8-40
    • O/U 4.5 record: 5-43
    • O/U 5.5 record: 4-44
  • Wins
    • Total wins: 28
    • Won by 1 goal: 12
    • Won by 2 goals: 7
    • Won by 3 goals: 4
    • Won by 4 goals: 2
    • Won by 5 goals: 0
    • Won by 5+ goals: 3
    • Won to nil 21
  • Losses
    • Total losses: 8
    • Lost by 1 goal: 4
    • Lost by 2 goals: 3
    • Lost by 3 goals: 1
    • Lost by 4 goals: 0
    • Lost by 5 goals: 0
    • Lost by 5+ goals: 0
    • Lost to nil 7
  • Clean Sheets and BTTS
    • Total Games: 48
    • Clean Sheets: 23
    • Held Scoreless: 9
    • Both Teams Scored: 18
England

England

  • FIFA World Rank: 12
  • Elo Rating: 7
  • Qualifying: Won Group F with an 8-2-0 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification.

Squad:

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

Recent results:

  • Sweden 0 – 2 England
    07/07/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Colombia 1 – 1 England
    1 – 1 after extra time
    England won 4-3 on penalties
    03/07/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • England 0 – 1 Belgium
    28/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • England 6 – 1 Panama
    24/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • Tunisia 1 – 2 England
    18/06/2018
    FIFA World Cup, played in Russia
  • England 2 – 0 Costa Rica
    07/06/2018
    Friendly, played in England
  • England 2 – 1 Nigeria
    02/06/2018
    Friendly, played in England
  • England 1 – 1 Italy
    27/03/2018
    Friendly, played in England
  • Netherlands 0 – 1 England
    23/03/2018
    Friendly, played in Netherlands
  • England 0 – 0 Brazil
    14/11/2017
    Friendly, played in England
  • England 0 – 0 Germany
    10/11/2017
    Friendly, played in England
  • Lithuania 0 – 1 England
    08/10/2017
    WC qualifiers, played in Lithuania

Statistics: (last four years):

  • H2H Record: 32-11-6
  • O/U record
    • O/U 0.5 record: 44-5
    • O/U 1.5 record: 35-14
    • O/U 2.5 record: 22-27
    • O/U 3.5 record: 12-37
    • O/U 4.5 record: 6-43
    • O/U 5.5 record: 2-47
  • Wins
    • Total wins: 32
    • Won by 1 goal: 15
    • Won by 2 goals: 10
    • Won by 3 goals: 2
    • Won by 4 goals: 2
    • Won by 5 goals: 2
    • Won by 5+ goals: 1
    • Won to nil 21
  • Losses
    • Total losses: 6
    • Lost by 1 goal: 5
    • Lost by 2 goals: 1
    • Lost by 3 goals: 0
    • Lost by 4 goals: 0
    • Lost by 5 goals: 0
    • Lost by 5+ goals: 0
    • Lost to nil 3
  • Clean Sheets and BTTS
    • Total Games: 49
    • Clean Sheets: 26
    • Held Scoreless: 8
    • Both Teams Scored: 20


Commentary

Croatia

Croatia topped Group D after they defeated Nigeria 2-0, Argentina 3-0 and Iceland 2-1. In the Round of 16 they drew Denmark 1-1 in a match where Denmark had scored in the 1st minute and Croatia had scored in the 4th. Luka Modric missed a penalty near the end of extra-time which would have prevented penalties. In the shootout Croatia prevailed 3-2. In all it was a disappointing performance, particularly in the second half. In the quarter-finals Croatia drew Russia 1-1 and scores were level at 2-2 after extra time. Croatia defeated Russia 4-3 on penalties, but it mean’t that they’ve had to play two consecutive 120-minute matches plus penalties. In both matches Croatia paid the price for conceding a late goal.

With world-class players in their midfield, Croatia had been many peoples dark horse for this World Cup, but they’ve failed to impress against Denmark and Russia. They remain dangerous, however. Since losing to France in the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup, Croatia have since won five of their eight World Cup games against European opponents. Including pre-tournament friendlies, Croatia have won five of their last eight games, with their only defeat a 2-0 loss to Brazil at Anfield in June. In team news, right-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out of the semi-final after he picked up a knee injury against Russia. Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is facing a late fitness test after he suffered a hamstring problem in the quarter-final.

England

England reached the knockouts as the runners-up in Group G behind Belgium. They started their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Tunisia. It took a stoppage-time goal to seal the win, but Tunisia were fortunate to receive a penalty while England had at least two genuine penalty appeals waived away. England then thrashed Panama 6-1 after leading 5-0 at the break. In their final group stage game both England and Belgium rotated their squads and Belgium prevailed 1-0. In the Round of 16 England won on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Colombia. It wasn’t a great performance, with England paying the price for dropping back after scoring the opening goal, but the nature in which they bounced back from the injury-time equalizer was impressive. In the quarter-finals England defeated Sweden 2-0. England controlled the game well and defensively were good enough to keep Sweden out, largely due to the impressive performance by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

When at full strength, England are a tough side to beat. They went unbeaten in qualifying and since 2017 they have drawn the likes of Spain, Germany, Brazil and Italy. England have an impressive statistic of only failing to score in one of their 20 knockout games at the World Cup. In team news, midfielder Jordan Henderson is in doubt due to a tight hamstring. Jamie Vardy is available for selection after he missed the quarter-finals with a groin strain.

Betting

bet365 odds (subject to change):

Compare the latest bookmaker odds for Croatia vs. England

England have a strong 4-1-2 record against Croatia, however the two sides haven’t met since 2009.

24 Apr 1996 – England v Croatia – 0-0 – International Friendly
20 Aug 2003 – England v Croatia – 3-1 – International Friendly
21 Jun 2004 – Croatia v England – 2-4 – UEFA European Championship
11 Oct 2006 – Croatia v England – 2-0 – UEFA European Championship
21 Nov 2007 – England v Croatia – 2-3 – UEFA European Championship
10 Sep 2008 – Croatia v England – 1-4 – FIFA World Cup
09 Sep 2009 – England v Croatia – 5-1 – FIFA World Cup
Source: 11v11.com

The big talking point ahead of this clash is the accumulative fatigue on the Croatian team after playing back-to-back 120-minute games followed by penalties. Against Russia in particular they had a number of players, including the goalkeeper struggling to finish the match. While England had to play for 120 minutes in the Round of 16, they benefited from a less draining 90-minute quarter-final and they also had the luxury of rotating the squad for their final group stage game. The question is whether Croatia will have the legs to play at their best for 90+ minutes.

Another possible feature of this clash is set-pieces. England have scored eight goals out of eleven from set-pieces this tournament, which is the most by a team at a World Cup since Portugal in 1966. Croatia conceded goals from high balls into the box in recent matches, notably from a long throw by Denmark and a header from a free-kick against Russia. Croatia will need to sort out any defensive frailties before they take on a team for whom set-pieces are their biggest strength.

If Croatia do lose this fixture in regular time, there’s a decent chance it will be to nil. Over the last four years 7 of their 8 defeats have been without scoring. Meanwhile, 21 of England’s 32 wins were to nil. Also, four of the last eight World Cup semi-finals ended 1-0 while another ended 2-0.

Croatia tend to be involved in low scoring games. Over the last 12 months 31 of their 48 matches have gone under 2.5 goals, including 7 of their last 10. Meanwhile, 9 of England’s last 12 matches have gone under this total. Both teams were defensively strong during qualifying. Croatia only conceded 4 goals during 10 games, while England conceded just 3. Neither side scored an abundance of goals to get here (15 for Croatia, 18 for England), but they consistently kept things tight.

Betting tips:

With both sides having shown a good ability to grind out tight results, I expect this to be a tense, low scoring game. I’m leaning towards England progressing due to Croatia’s tiring side and the fact that no one has been able to handle England’s set-pieces, but a 90-minute draw wouldn’t surprise me.

Back under 2.5 goals at 1.60 (Betfair)

The correct score that holds the most appeal is Croatia 0-1 England at 7.60 (Betfair).

A number of goalkeepers have picked up man of the match awards this tournament, so Jordan Pickford is worth consideration in this market at 9.00 (bet365). If Croatia progress then Luka Modric would be a good chance at 9.00 (bet365).

Notes

 

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