England v Croatia Betting Tips & Predictions – Sunday 18th November 2018

Everything is wide open with one game left to play in this Nations League group after it had started to look like Spain had top spot in the bag after just two games. Following a couple of surprise defeats for the Spanish, whoever ends up victorious at Wembley will advance to the finals in June, while a draw would see Spain remain in first place. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic finale that should not fail to live up to expectations.

As if the group wasn’t exciting enough already, relegation remains a real threat for both of these nations. A goalless draw would see Croatia sent down to League B but a score draw is enough to see them leapfrog England into second place – by virtue of having netted more away goals in their two clashes with each other.

Top Tips

Over 2.5 goals @ 4/5

England to win @ 19/20

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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England News: Rooney bows out

Wembley Stadium Before England Game
Jack Davison, flickr

Wayne Rooney enjoyed a send-off in front of a healthy Wembley crowd on Thursday evening as England took on the USA. On his 120th appearance for the Three Lions, the DC United forward showed he’s still a capable player, impressing with a fine range of passing. So solid was his performance that it raised the question of Rooney perhaps featuring against Croatia too. The 33-year-old categorically ruled out playing in this match earlier in the week however. The plan has always been to feature England’s all-time top goalscorer in the USA friendly only, regardless of how he performed.

Sancho stars on full debut

Jadon Sancho’s decision to move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer now seems like a true stroke of genius. Not only is he getting plenty of action in the German top flight but he earned his first full international cap on Thursday evening.

By doing so he became the first player born post-millennium to start for England. He seized the moment by putting in an impressive display against America, full of pace and tenacity. Being rewarded with another start is not out of the question but Southgate may prefer a more senior name with plenty riding on this fixture.

Croatia News: Vatreni avenge humbling defeat

Croatia Flag

In September Croatia fell to the heaviest defeat in their history at the hands of Spain. It was an awful night for the visiting side in Elche and after the game manager Zlatko Dalic said his men were a shadow of their former selves. The Vatreni were able to inflict some revenge on La Roja mid-week however, doing so in the most dramatic of fashion. Tin Jedvaj struck in the dying moments of the game to hand his side their first competitive win since their World Cup final loss. Their 3-2 win has opened the group up and the Nations League organisers will be delighted to have one of the top groups going right to the wire.

Strinic handed all clear

He played six matches for Croatia on their way to the World Cup final but that disappointing defeat was the last time Ivan Strinic has been seen on the pitch. A problem with the AC Milan defender’s heart was spotted in August, forcing him to take an immediate break from football. Earlier this week however he was given the all clear after the diagnosis only showed ‘athlete’s heart’, which is not deemed as dangerous. Now able to train again, the 31-year-old will be eying up a return to the national side during the next international break.

Analysis: All to play for in group finale

You very rarely find a group game between two sides that can end up with either one of them finishing first or last. The Nations League has made it possible though and we look set for an attacking game of football as a result. Croatia must find the net to avoid playing League B football next season and if they do, England will have to outscore them. Although neither manager will go gung-ho from the first whistle, the game should become stretched as it goes on with everything to play for.

Croatia set for another thriller

Croatia versus Spain on Thursday was a breathless affair at times with both sides throwing everything they had at each other. The end to end nature of the match was reflected by the 3-2 scoreline as Croatia seemed to regain much of the confidence they showed at the World Cup.

Their last meeting with England was a fairly lacklustre contest but the way this match is poised, excitement should be in no short supply at Wembley. That first clash was a strange affair behind closed doors and the lack of atmosphere clearly affected the players.

Both nation are more than capable of scoring goals, something they demonstrated on Thursday night and England did so even without the services of Harry Kane. With the Tottenham striker returning here, over 2.5 goals is a must at 4/5. Croatia’s defence looks shaky to say the least right now and odds not far shy of evens offer real value.

England to make full use of home advantage

There were no signs of Croatia being home sick as they reached the final of the World Cup in Russia but their record in away, rather than neutral venues isn’t fantastic. During World Cup qualifying they fell to defeats to Iceland and Turkey as well as drawing with Greece.

Admittedly they are an improved side now but the Three Lions are strong at home, losing just once there since March 2016. There won’t be much to separate these sides, just as there wasn’t at the World Cup, but a gradually improving England should have what it takes to secure the all-important victory (19/20) and seal the group.

Kane to be a constant danger

With goals looking likely in this match, Spurs striker Kane will be fancying himself to add to his impressive international tally. The World Cup Golden Boot winner was rested during Thursday’s clash with USA so should be fresh and raring to go here.

He’s scored 19 times for his country from 28 starts and has had no trouble finding the net at club level this season. The width of the post denied him a goal last time he took on Croatia but he may not be so unlucky this time. Bearing in mind he’ll also be on penalty duty, odds of evens on him being an anytime goalscorer should provide some interest.

Recent Matches

Croatia denied England a place in the European Championships 11 years ago and dumped them out of the World Cup last summer. Could the Nations League be competition number three that sees the Croatians progress at the expense of the Three Lions?

12th October 2018: Croatia 0 – 0 England

These two sides went from meeting inside a packed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow with an electric World Cup atmosphere, to a near deserted Stadion HNK Rijeka. The few people able to watch the match live didn't miss much as action was limited during an affair that was far more eerie than it was entertaining. Although chances were a rarity, England were unlucky not to have stolen all three points after hitting the post through both Kane and Eric Dier.

11th July 2018: Croatia 2 – 1 England

In a tense, tight and emotional World Cup semi-final in Moscow back in July, Croatia booked their place in the showpiece final by beating England 2-1 after 120 minutes of gruelling football. Despite taking an early lead, Southgate’s team failed to hold on, eventually losing out to Mandzukic’s goal in the 109th minute.

9th September 2009: England 5 – 1 Croatia

During World Cup 2010 qualifying almost a decade ago, England did the double over the Croatians. Back in September 2009, a brace each by Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and a Wayne Rooney goal sealed an emphatic 5-1 win over Croatia at Wembley.

10th September 2008: Croatia 1 – 4 England

A year prior to that 5-1 victory in London, Fabio Capello’s Three Lions beat Slaven Bilic’s Croatia 4-1 in Zagreb. Theo Walcott had his finest night in an England shirt, bagging an excellent hat-trick. Rooney also got his name on the scoresheet in the handsome win. The English went on to win Group 6 on 27 points, with Croatia missing out on qualification to the 2010 World Cup by finishing third.

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