All you need to know about Croatia-England, FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final.
The match between Croatia and England is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11th at 20:00 (CET).
A surprising World Championship like Russia 2018 is ready to give another unique emotion to one of the two semi-finalists. On the one hand, Croatia returning for the first time to the semi-finals after 20 years from their amazing display at FIFA World Cup 1998 in France. Then England, returning amongst the best four in a world cup event after Italy '90. Anyway it goes, it will be a historic final for the winner: it could be the second for England or the first ever for Croatia.
Precedents and statistics
Due to the recent birth of the State of Croatia (1990), there are not many precedents between these two nations. Croatia and England have challenged each other 5 times in official matches, but never in a World Cup and never at the knockout phase. The first match was in the qualifying round of Euro2004. After that then they have clashed in the qualifying rounds for the Euros in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, in both cases home and away matches. The budget is 3 wins for England and 2 for Croatia.
The curiosity is that after this semi-final, there are already two other matches lined up for these two nations: they will meet in October and November as part of the newly formed UEFA Nations League.
Team Forms and Recent Results
There are still those who accuse the Croatian players and Coach Dalic that they have not fully managed to express their extraordinary technical potential and talent. This may be a fair observation, but underestimating what Croatia have achieved in this world cup would be a big mistake. If the results with Russia and Denmark – which they could have practically won before going for the penalty shootouts – were not fully convincing, we must take into account that Croatia had to overcome the pressure of being match favourites. Against England, Croatia should play with a clearer mind and without the obligation to win. The same conditions that prevailed for their dominating 3-0 win over Argentina at the group stage.
The enthusiasm within the English team is highly visible. What should have been a “test” World Cup for the young England team in view of the real goal, Qatar 2022, is proving an exciting journey towards the final that has been missing since 1966, in the home edition that ended in a triumphant way. The fans are already singing ” It's coming home “, obviously referring to the World Cup that has not landed beyond the English Channel for more than 50 years. The potential of this team could not be fully assessed during the group stages, while the final sixteen highlighted the two strengths of this England squad. The first is the character, demonstrated in the ability not to be beaten after the goal suffered just before the 90 minute against Colombia in the second round. The second is their technical and play qualities, with which they could easily, penetrate the strong Swedish defensive line up.
Croatia vs England – Probable Squads and formations
Coach Dalic will have the full squad available for this match. None of the yellow-carded players – Vrsaljiko, Rebic, Rakitic and Mandzukic – have been warned against Russia. Croatia will still play with a 4-2-3-1 formation. The only doubt is the choice of a playmaker. Croatia could, in fact, play with Kramaric behind Mandzukic same as against Russia or, alternatively, raise Modric up filed in that role and put Brozovic alongside Rakitic as the two middle midfielders.
Similarly, Southgate does not have any squad problems. Everyone is curious to see how the England coach will place his starting eleven. The most accredited hypothesis is that he will stick to the 3-5-2 formation that he used throughout this competition. However, this could turn into a more solid 4-4-2 formation to better contain Croatian fast wingers and the frequent play changing game of Modric.
CROATIA (4-2-3-1): Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rakitic, Modric; Rebic, Kramaric, Perisic; Mandzukic. Coach: Dalic
ENGLAND (3-5-2): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Alli, Henderson, Lingard, Young; Sterling, Kane. Coach: Southgate
Croatia vs England key players to watch
The Real Madrid playmaker perhaps shouldn’t be first-choice penalty taker given his miss against Denmark and lucky escape against Russia, but there’s no doubt that Modric is the man who makes Croatia tick.
Their 32-year-old captain collected his third man-of-the-match award in the quarterfinals, having also been recognised for his role in the group triumphs over Nigeria and Argentina. The odds are at 5.00 that he scores against England and at 8.00 that he does so in a win for his squad.
Raheem Sterling continues to attract media and fan derision having not fired for his country since 2015 but take away the missed chances and his showing in Samara was his brightest yet. He’s at 3.80 in the Anytime Goalscorer betting.
Croatia vs England – Our prediction
Our Algorithm believes in England qualifying to the next round, recognizing significant chances for an England win at 52% and 33% for a draw after 90 minutes.
England are at 2.30 in Croatia vs England odds to achieve the 90-minute semi-final victory that will see them play in Sunday’s final rather than Saturday’s third-place play-off.
A Croatia win is a 3.45 prospect, while it is at 3.05 odds that the tie goes to extra time, as three of the pair’s four combined knockout ties at this World Cup have done.
There will be plenty of tips and predictions of a shootout, especially as the Three Lions’ World Cup 1990 and Euro 1996 semi-finals went the distance.