It’s guaranteed that a European country will win the 2018 World Cup because the last four are France and Belgium in one semifinal and Croatia and England in Wednesday’s other semi. The English are favored on the soccer odds to advance in the latter match.
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2018 World Cup Semifinals Odds & Pick: Croatia v England
“If a player feels like you respect them, they are more likely to follow you” – a good time to revisit this 📹 interview with Gareth Southgate and the empathy and empowerment that has led @england to a #WorldCup semi-final https://t.co/JLE1yAztkD pic.twitter.com/ePrag6kVEj
— St. George’s Park (@StGeorgesPark) 9 de julio de 2018
- When: Wednesday, 2 PM ET
- Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
- TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Semifinals Odds: England +135 / Croatia +205 / Draw +215 (Total 2)
Why Bet on Croatia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Zlatko Dalić
- Captain: Luka Modric
- FIFA Ranking: 20
- World Cup Appearances: 5
Croatia is in their first World Cup semi-final since 1998.
The Croats knocked off host Russia in the quarterfinals in penalty kicks 4-3 after it had finished extra time 2-2. Denis Cheryshev’s goal (31) had earned Russia a first-half lead in front of a boisterous home crowd, but that was canceled out eight minutes later when Andrej Kramaric headed in. Ivan Rakitic struck the crucial spot-kick in penalties after Fedor Smolov and Mario Fernandes failed.
Croatia made one change from the side that overcame Denmark in the previous round; Andrej Kramaric replaced Marcelo Brozovic. Russia is the first host country to be eliminated at the quarterfinal stage of a World Cup since Mexico in 1986. Croatia is the second team to win two penalty shootouts at a single World Cup tournament – the other was Argentina in 1990. The Balkan side got a monkey off their back by ending their hex against World Cup hosts, having been knocked out by France in 1998 and lost to Brazil in the opening match of the 2014 edition.
Croatia has now had eight different scorers at the 2018 World Cup – only Belgium (9) have had more. Both of Croatia’s goals in this game were via headers – only one of their previous 29 World Cup goals was a header.
Having twice endured the draining, yet ultimately successful, of dealing with extra-time and penalties, the big question over Croatia going into this match will be about how much they have left in the tank. And will goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, the shootout hero against Denmark and Russia, be fully fit after appearing to injure his hamstring late in Saturday’s game against Russia? Sime Vrsaljko limped off against Russia but Croatia will hope the Atletico Madrid defender will be fine to play on Wednesday.
“In the past six days, we have spent a lot of energy. We played two games, totaling 240 minutes and it certainly will be a problem. We will do everything to recover and I’m sure we will find energy for England,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said over the weekend.
- 23-D. Subašić
- 21-D. Vida
- 3-I. Strinić
- 6-D. Lovren
- 2-Š. Vrsaljko
- 10-L. Modrić
- 7-I. Rakitić
- 4-I. Perišić
- 11-M. Brozović
- 17-M. Mandžukić
- 18-A. Rebić
Why Bet on England?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Gareth Southgate
- Captain: Harry Kane
- FIFA Ranking: 12
- World Cup Appearances: 15
The Three Lions beat Sweden 2-0 to advance; their only loss thus far was 1-0 to Belgium to conclude the group stage, but England rested many key players in that one. Against the Swedes, England got header goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli as they reached their first World Cup semifinal in 28 years. Maguire’s header from a corner in the 30th minute was his first international goal and England’s fifth from a set-piece at this World Cup, more than any other side.
Alli is the second youngest player to score for England at the World Cup (22y 87d), behind only Michael Owen (18y 190d against Romania in 1998). Six of England’s last 11 goals against Sweden have been scored via headers, all from different players (Sol Campbell, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Andy Carroll, Maguire, and Alli.
England – who scored with both shots on target in vs. Sweden – have found the net with 10 of their last 13 shots on target at the 2018 World Cup. England has scored 11 goals in a World Cup tournament for only the second time, also doing so in their victorious year of 1966.
Kyle Walker, Alli and Ashely Young recovered from minor injuries to start against Sweden on Saturday but Jamie Vardy remains a doubt for this match. Gareth Southgate may consider Eric Dier or Fabian Delph to ease the pressure on Jordan Henderson but may feel no reason to make any changes against Croatia.
England will wear all white for this match. It means England’s tradition of wearing white for World Cup semifinals continues having done so in 1966 and 1990. England beat Portugal at Wembley in the first but lost to West Germany on penalties in the more recent semi-final.
England and Croatia have played in five competitive games since the turn of the century, with England winning three. It’s almost a decade since the last clash, which came in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. England thrashed the Croatians 5-1 thanks to braces from Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and one from Wayne Rooney.
- 1-J. Pickford
- 18-A. Young
- 2-K. Walker
- 12-K. Trippier
- 6-H. Maguire
- 5-J. Stones
- 8-J. Henderson
- 20-D. Alli
- 7-J. Lingard
- 9-H. Kane
- 10-R. Sterling
Expert Final Score Prediction
England 1 – Croatia 0