Saturday, October 20, 2018

Prediction: Croatia vs England

Prediction: Both teams to score

Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

England will be hoping to avenge their World Cup semi-final loss as they take on Croatia on Friday evening in the UEFA Nations League.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions travel to Rijeka to face the beaten finalists as they aim to notch their first points of their campaign.

England

England’s time in the UEFA Nations League did not get off to the best possible start against Spain. Despite Marcus Rashford’s early opener at Wembley, Saul Niguez equalised for Luis Enrique’s troops before Rodrigo hit the winner for the visitors. That result took England’s recent form to three losses in a row. Despite that, they managed to get back to winning ways with a slim 1-0 defeat of Switzerland at the King Power Stadium during the last international break, Rashford again managing to find the net.

Despite Southgate earning plenty of praise for his short time with the England squad, it is the defence that have the most problems. During their last 12 games, the Three Lions have only kept three clean sheets and they came against the likes of Costa Rica, Sweden and Switzerland. Having said that, their last defeat away from home outside of the pressures of an international tournament came some time ago with a 3-2 loss to France in June 2017.

Team News

There are a few notable absentees from the Three Lions squad for the trip to Croatia. Luke Shaw has been forced to withdraw through injury, as well as James Tarkowski. The duo have been replaced by Ben Chilwell and Lewis Dunk. Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Danny Rose and Alex McCarthy are all unavailable but youngsters James Maddison, Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount and Nathaniel Chalobah have all been handed a place in the senior squad.

Croatia

Zlatko Dalić’s men have had to endure a difficult period since losing the World Cup final to France. Their first clash since the tournament in Russia saw them secure a 1-1 draw with reigning European champions Portugal. However, they were humbled in their last competitive game 6-0 by Spain. Similarly to England, it has been their defence that has seen them suffer the most in recent matches. In their last ten matches, they have shipped 17 goals. As a matter of fact, they have not managed to keep a single clean sheet in their last seven competitive games. That could potentially be an area that England target.

The team are currently on their worst run of form for over three years, something that they will be keen to rectify against the Three Lions. They have not gone four games without a win since 2006.

Team News

Inter Milan duo Marcelo Brozovic and Sime Vrsaljko have both had to withdraw from the squad due to injuries and have been replaced by Karlo Bartolec and Simon Sluga respectively. Mario Mandzukic, who scored the winner against England in the World Cup semi-final, retired after the tournament so will not be called upon.

Key Facts To Consider

  • England have the marginally better record between the two sides (W4, D1, L3)
  • There has been 31 goals scored in the eight games the two teams have gone head to head
  • Croatia won the last clash 2-1 in the World Cup semi-final in Russia
  • Harry Kane has not scored in his last five appearances for the Three Lions
  • Croatia are currently fourth the FIFA world rankings, whilst England are sixth

Conclusion

This should certainly be a clash that will intrigue spectators considering the recent dramatic meeting between the two sides in Russia. Whilst both sides have world class players capable of winning the game on their own, one thing is guaranteed; goals. Considering the recent clashes between the two sides and their porous defences in recent games, a bet of both teams to score would be a clever option.

Prediction: Both teams to score

Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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