Croatia v England: Three Lions seek World Cup Revenge
Three months ago, Croatia and England were battling to take their place in the 2018 World Cup final. Momentum seemed to be with Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side but the Croatians proved to be too strong on the night.
Fast forward to this Friday and the teams meet again in the next stage of the newly-formed UEFA Nations League. It was a shaky start to the tournament for both and after such a tight semi final in Russia, the bookmakers are expecting another close contest here.
All three result options head above the Even Money mark for Friday’s game but it’s Croatia who lead the way in the betting at best odds of 9/5 with BetFred for the win. Victory for England is next at a top price of 19/10 with Royal Panda while the draw completes things at a best of 11/5 with William Hill and Betway.
Croatia won that semi final by two goals to one but form has been poor since. They lost the final to a dominant France team and in their most recent outing, the Eastern Europeans were on the wrong end of a 6-0 hammering at the hands of Spain.
England stopped a poor run of form with victory over Switzerland last time out so, just as they were at Russia 2018, the teams look to be evenly matched. A draw will therefore be a popular option at that 11/5 price but before we make our own verdict, we’ll look at the players most likely to make the difference.
Individual Goal Scorers
England’s Harry Kane has started the season in solid form for Spurs and after registering five goals in seven league games so far in 2018/19, he is favourite to open the scoring at best odds of 4/1 with Betway.
Croatia’s Ivan Santini may be a new name for some punters: He didn’t make Croatia’s squad for the World Cup in Russia but after seven goals in his first six league matches for club side Anderlecht, the striker will attract interest at a top price of 15/2 with Betway again.
Betway tend to dominate the first goalscorer betting for this match and they follow up with a clutch of players at best industry odds of 8/1. They include England forward Marcus Rashford along with the Croatians Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric and Duje Kop.
Duje Kop will be another new face for some but his striking record doesn’t compare to that of Ivan Santini so we’ll quickly move on. Kramaric and Perisic are, however, more familiar to football fans outside of Croatia and both could offer a threat.
Rashford, meanwhile, scored both of England’s goals on their recent international break and therefore has the form to deliver at what looks to be a generous price.
Other options for this bet include Raheem Sterling at 9/1 and Luka Modric at 14/1 – once again with Betway. It’s a tough call but after taking the Player of the Tournament award at Russia 2018, Modric looks a good fit and remember, he will take any of Croatia’s spot kicks. WIth that in mind we’ll get behind the Real Madrid midfielder but we’ll play a bit safer and back Modric in the anytime goal betting at 5/1 with Betway yet again.
Other Side Bets
While the Croatians conceded six in that defeat to Spain last time out, the early rounds of the Nations League didn’t exactly produce a feast of goals across Europe. With that in mind, Both Teams to Score could be a risk at a best of Even Money with William Hill and SportPesa.
We subscribe to the theory that there won’t be too much goalmouth action on Friday night but we’ll look at the Overs and Unders betting where Under 2.5 goals is an alternative but it looks too short at a top price of 33/50 with MarathonBet.
Of the two options, BTTS therefore offers better value so we’ll finish our round up with that tip. We’re expecting a tight, and fairly uneventful game in Croatia and could end with a Correct Score prediction of 1-1 at 11/2 with SportingBet but hopefully these suggestions will bring a profitable end to a subdued 90 minutes.