England reached the semi-final converting both shots on goal in the clash with Sweden. The Three Lions scored as many as 10 times from last 13 shots on target at the World Cup. They are now up against Croatia who dispatched both Denmark and Russia after a shoot-out to match their best previous showing at the World Cup (in 1998 when they lost the semi-final 2-1 to hosts France).
Croatia vs England Match Preview
England will feature the World Cup semi-final for the first time in 28 years following a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden on Saturday afternoon. They will take on the likes of Croatia four days later in Moscow as the European hopefuls are set to table each other for the final.
Harry Maguire and Dele Alli had combined only two international goals in their England careers before the quarter-final tie with Sweden. However, they were just the ones who headed the Three Lions into the semi-final, Leicester’s defender opening the scoring at the half-hour mark, Spurs’ midfielder doubling the lead just before the hour mark.
We have to mention another phenomenal display rom Everton keeper Jordan Pickford whose R16 heroics seemed to have inspired an extraordinary performance against the Scandinavians. Pickford brutally denied Marcus Berg on two occasions as well as Victor Claesson once to help England avoid a dramatic finish to the tie in the second half.
Gareth Southgate will certainly need Pickford at his best against Croatia who can be lethal up front. The Blazers may not have a star striker such as Harry Kane, but goals can literally come from anywhere when you are up against them.
The star-studded centre of the park, led by the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, is team’s strongest weapon, but players like Ante Rebic, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic and Andrej Kramaric are all well capable of hurting any defense in the world.
On paper, Croatia may look vulnerable at the back with Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida in the heart of the defensive line, but this duo has already proven quality by stopping both Lionel Messi (in the group) and Christian Eriksen (in the last 16 round).
Croatia vs England Team News and Predicted Line-ups
Croatia Team News
Zlatko Dalic decided to play the Russians with four men up front, leaving an important defensive midfielder Marcelo Brozovic on the bench.
We believe he will shift back to the 4-1-4-1 formation here as Andrej Kramaric or Ivan Perisic could be left out of the starting XI.
Dalic also has huge issues with his players’ fitness as both Danijel Subasic and Ivan Strinic suffered injuries in the extra-time of the quarter-final against Russia.
Croatia Predicted Starting Eleven (4-1-4-1)
Subasic – Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Pivaric – Brozovic – Rebic, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic – Mandzukic.
England Team News
Southgate made no changes to the side that went past Colombia in the last 16 round.
Jordan Henderson could give his place in the starting line-up to Eric Dier this time out as Liverpool’s defensive midfielder had to be subbed due to a muscle groin in the second-half of the clash with Sweden.
We don’t expect any changes elsewhere, meaning it should be a 3-5-2 formation with Kane and Sterling leading the line for the Three Lions.
England Predicted Starting Eleven (3-1-4-2)
Pickford – Walker, Stones, Maguire – Dier – Trippier, Lingard, Alli, Young – Sterling, Kane.
Croatia England Head-to-head
England will certainly remember that painful rainy night in November 2007 when they needed only a single point in the final qualifier on the home patch to secure a place at EURO 2008.
Croatia, who have already secured the qualification earlier on, picked up a shocking 2-3 victory, helping Russia to travel at a major on the expense or England.
The most recent history, however, belongs to the Three Lions who scored as many as nine goals in two demolishing victories over the Blazers in the 2010 World Cup Qualifications (4-1 and 5-1).
Overall, England won four, drew one and lost two of seven H2H games against Croatia.
Croatia vs England Predictions
It’s England who are favourites according to the bookies. It is hard to justify such tag based on their performances so far in the tournament and given they are up against a very talented Croatian side here.
Harry Kane did score six goals so far in the tournament, but three came from the spot, the other three against the likes of Tunisia (two after corner-kicks) and Panama. Set-pieces are England’s main strength as they’ve scored as many as five goals from dead-balls so far in the tournament.
Croatia were very tough to break down in the group stage when they kept their net untouched against Nigeria and Argentina. They showed a huge mental strength to come from behind in both eliminatory games against Denmark and Russia and we doubt England can tackle such a strong mind-set Zlatko Dalic’s men have at the moment.
The value is certainly with Croatia which is why we will shoot for them not to lose inside the 90 minutes at the odds of 1.60. You can alternatively back the Croats to qualify at 2.30, while our correct score prediction would be 2-1 Croatia at 15.00.
Predicted Full-Time Result is Croatia to edge into their first ever World Cup final past England.
Croatia vs England Betting Tips
Croatia or Draw Double Chance @ 1.60.
Croatia to qualify @ 2.30.
FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final: Croatia vs England
Even though some may call England’s World Cup run lucky, the young team led by Harry Kane has managed to shake up the dynamic of international football. From winning a penalty shootout for the first time in their World Cup history to scoring six goals in a match, this team is boldly marching into uncharted territory and seem to be loving it. England are playing their first semi-final since 1990 and are eager to bring the World Cup back home — something which has eluded even their best squads in the previous tournaments.
The British entered this World Cup after crashing out in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup. While they knew that this team was capable of achieving something great, there was no real hype around them. This probably worked in coach Gareth Southgate’s favour. After securing qualification with comprehensive wins against Tunisia and Panama, they lost their only game against Belgium in a dead-rubber. The loss perhaps worked in their favour as England was now drawn in the relatively easier right side of the draw.
Facing Colombia in the Round of 16, England were tested in a true physical contest but managed to overcome all odds, even a penalty shootout to storm into the quarterfinals. Although Harry Kane is deservingly getting a lot of praise for his goal-scoring prowess, England have thoroughly impressed with their good all-round performances. Be it Jordan Pickford making impossible saves in the last minute or Harry Maguire dominating the headers, England have been riding high on good collective team performance.
Going forward, the Three Lions have never looked this threatening. Southgate’s plan to play both Walker and Trippier seems to work like a charm. Walker, being a right back, provides that extra man in the attack, while Trippier’s crosses have been pinpoint. Players like Lingard, Alli and Sterling have been terrorizing opposition defense with their run-ins.
Croatia, on the other hand, entered the tournament as an underdog but proved exactly why they have to be taken seriously with their 3-0 thrashing of 2014 finalists Argentina. Having finished the group stages with a perfect record of three wins (one of the three teams to achieve that), Croatia’s knockout rounds have been a nail-biting affair.
They faced Denmark in the Round of 16 in a fixture that had all the ingredients to be a contender for match of the tournament. Even after missing a penalty in the second half of extra time, it was Croatia who managed to scrape through with the help of a shootout. Croatia then ended hosts Russia’s dream run in a game which kept fans on the edges of their seats. Again, the hero was their goalkeeper Danijel Subašić, who made vital stops in the penalty shootout to ensure their journey to the semi-finals.
Thought to be the golden generation in Croatian football, players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic are looking to better Croatia’s record from the country’s debut World Cup tournament in 1998 when they reached the semi-finals. While England won’t be an easy opponent tonight, the Croats will believe that they have what it takes to actually qualify for the finals against all odds. Let’s now take a look at the full FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final predictions: