Croatia v England Betting Tips & Preview – Friday 12th October 2018

Gareth Southgate takes his England side to the Stadion Rujevica to face Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia in a UEFA Nations League A, Group 4 fixture on Friday night. With Spain sitting pretty at the top of the group on six points from a possible six, this is a big match for both nations, neither of whom have started their campaign as they would have hoped.

The Blazers, who were runners-up in Russia in the summer, will be hoping to make home advantage count in Rijeka. How much advantage they will have remains to be seen, however, as there will be no fans inside the ground as Croatia serve a punishment imposed by UEFA for an incident that occurred in Euro 2016 qualifying.

The Three Lions, meanwhile, will want to bounce back following defeat to Spain at Wembley Stadium in their opening Nations League outing. Can the English seal their first group win against the 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists on Friday night to get their campaign back on track?

Top Tips

England to Win 1-0 @ 13/2

England to Score First @ 6/5

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

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Croatia News: Magical World Cup for the Croatians

Croatia Flag

Croatia were one the standout performers at the World Cup in Russia. After cruising to wins over Nigeria and Argentina, Dalic’s side beat Iceland 2-1 in their final Group D game to upset the odds and finish top of the pile. After seeing off Denmark and Russia on penalties, Croatia needed extra time to beat Southgate’s England in the semis to reach their first ever World Cup final. Despite coming up short with a 4-2 loss to France in the final, Croatia had a tournament to remember in Russia as their “golden generation” came so close to delivering.

Heavy Loss to Spain a Big Dent to Their Confidence

A few months on from their heroics at the World Cup, Croatia succumbed to their worst ever defeat. In an incredible Nations League game in Elche, Vatreni were thumped 6-0 by Spain, with five different Spanish scorers and an own goal by Lovre Kalinic doing the business for Luis Enrique’s men. That result at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero was a rude awakening for Croatia, who were perhaps suffering something of a World Cup hangover, and it will have no doubt knocked their confidence. Can Dalic’s boys respond against England on Friday to get themselves back in the group?

Senior Players to Stand Up Tall

Croatia have some outstanding players in their squad, with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic at the forefront. Both players, along with the likes of Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic, played in that defeat in Elche. Dalic will be banking on his senior players to shrug that humiliating result off and get back to their best on Friday.

England News: Feel-good Factor Back for the Nation

Wembley Stadium Before England Game
Jack Davison, flickr

Although England did not go as far as Croatia at the World Cup, the Three Lions also had an excellent tournament, perhaps giving hope for a new golden generation to come out of this young group of players. The English finished runners-up behind Belgium in their group before beating Colombia (on penalties) and Sweden in the knockout rounds. Their journey came to an end when they were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in Moscow at the semi-final stage. Nevertheless, the tournament was certainly a huge step in the right direction for the Three Lions and a semi final appearance was better than most fans had dared dream of.

Southgate’s Side Second Best Against Spain

Despite a Marcus Rashford goal giving the Three Lions an early lead at Wembley against Spain last month, Enrique’s side showed their class after that, dominating the remaining 80 minutes in London. Goals from Saul Niguez and Rodrigo gave the Spanish a deserved 2-1 win. England followed that up with a hard-fought 1-0 friendly victory over Switzerland at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium just a few days later, but can they seal their first Nations League A, Group 4 victory on Friday?

Shaw Out, Chilwell In

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell, who made his debut in the 1-0 win over Switzerland at the King Power last month, has replaced the injured Luke Shaw in the squad. Meanwhile, the likes of Danny Welbeck, Danny Rose and Alex McCarthy are doubts for Friday’s game after missing training. It will be interesting to see who Southgate’s picks for this one, with a number of youngsters added to what was already a youthful core squad.

Captain Kane Instrumental for England

Harry Kane had an outstanding World Cup, netting six goals to win the Golden Boot ahead of the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku and Kylian Mbappe. The Tottenham Hotspur striker has not been at his best this season though but he has scored four goals in his last four league and cup appearances for Spurs.

Analysis: Three Lions to Nick the Points in Rijeka

England will be out for revenge following their World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia a few months back. It was a very close game in Moscow, and we’re expecting more of the same between the pair in Rijeka. Being the hosts, Dalic’s boys are the slight favourites with the bookies, but the English will fancy their chances of picking up a result on Friday in what is likely to be a flat and unusual atmosphere. We’re backing the Three Lions to secure a narrow victory in Croatia.

Narrow Win the For the Visitors

After three consecutive defeats, England stopped the rot with a 1-0 win over the Swiss in their last outing. Croatia failed to score in their thrashing at the hands of Spain, and we fancy Southgate’s men to keep a clean sheet in this one as the backline grows as a unit. Have a punt on the away team to win 1-0 at the top odds of 13/2.

Away Side to Draw First Blood

A Kieran Trippier free kick after just five minutes got England off to a flying start in the World Cup semi-final and gave England supporters real cause for optimism. Unfortunately for them, goals from Perisic and Mario Mandzukic turned the game on its head. The Three Lions have scored the opening goal against the Croatians in each of their last three meetings, so back England to score first in this one at nice looking odds of 6/5.

Kane to Fire Three Lions to Victory

By his high standards, Kane made a slow start to his season, netting just two goals in his opening eight matches for club and country. And that was despite breaking his much-talked about August goal drought. However, the England skipper is starting to find his feet again by claiming four goals in his last four outings for Tottenham. You can get the 25-year-old at 7/2 to open the scoring on Friday.

Recent Matches

Before meeting in the summer, Croatia and England had not gone head-to-head since World Cup 2010 qualifying. Since drawing 0-0 in a friendly at Wembley back in 1996, England have won four and Croatia have picked up three wins from their last seven meetings. Meanwhile, each of the last six have been competitive fixtures and these are two nations that know each other well and generally fight out close games.

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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