The 2018 World Cup has reached the semi-finals and for the first time in 28 years, it includes England.
The entire United Kingdom has gone bananas as their Three Lions have advanced to this point and there will be nothing short of euphoria if they reach the final. While the Three Lions are a young team, they are actually favored to advance over the Croatian side according to the latest World Cup betting odds. Can they do what’s expected and keep the high of a nation going for a few more days?
World Cup Semifinals 2018: Croatia vs. England Betting Analysis
England typically has the upper hand in meetings with Croatia. That is, of course, if you remove the one famous Croatian win from the equation when Croatia ended England’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 at Wembley Stadium.
Other than that, England won at Euro 2004 and also won in Zagreb in 2008.
While the Croatian team is loaded with quality up and down the roster, one would have to say that they’re a bit lucky to be where they are. They are fresh off surviving penalty kicks against Russia. Prior to that, they needed penalty kicks to outlast Denmark as well. While Russia overachieved and had home-field advantage in this tournament and while Denmark is a decent team, neither are soccer super powers. The fact that Croatia struggled in these games has to be a concern.
Croatia’s midfield is where their strength lies as Luka Modric has been fantastic. Along with Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, Croatia arguably has the best group in the tournament. They will look to control the game in the center of the field and go from there. Mario Mandzukic has been the main man up front and while Croatia is a bit lacking in this area – truth be told – between Mandzukic and the creativity of the midfield, this team hasn’t been lacking for goals.
Croatia is an experienced bunch, which could be the key. England’s team is still very young and hasn’t been tested that much. They beat a weak Swedish side and basically needed a miracle against a James Rodriguez-less Colombian side. Their toughest opponent was Belgium and they lost that game, so England is more than beatable.
The question for England is which Croatia side are they going to face? Croatia looked like one of the best teams in the tournament in the Group Stage, spanking Argentina 3-0 and then also beating Nigeria and even Iceland when they rested players. However, they’ve been a different team in the knockout phase, barely getting by Russia and Denmark.
England is a young side but you can see that they’re gaining confidence by the game. While they lost to Belgium, they’ve won every other game and have looked more and more comfortable in the process. They’re excellent in set pieces, scoring more goals from a spot than any other team, and they have really talented players at every level.
The difference in this game could be the quality at the very front and very back. Harry Kane has been a fantastic finisher, leading the tournament with six goals. And at the back end, Jordan Pickford has been an anchor. For Croatia, goalkeeper Danijel Subasic has also been great but he might be dealing with a mild hamstring injury after pulling it against Russia. He managed to stay in the game but it could hamper him in the slightest, which could make all of the difference.