Semi-Final: Croatia vs England - soccer world cup Preview

Croatia vs England - soccer world cup Preview


We down to the last four. Find out who our in-house writer is backing between Croatia and England on Wednesday the 11th of July 2018. 

The soccer world cup has produced one cracker after the next, and now it’s time for another mouth-watering semi-final. Croatia started the tournament like a house on fire, advancing to the knockout rounds with a 100% win-record.

England, on the other hand, are the one team with supporters that have believed from the get-go with fans singing and screaming “it’s coming home”. Could it be? Let’s take a look below.

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Semi-Final | Luzhniki Stadium | Wednesday 11 July | 20:00

To Win (90 Mins) 
Croatia 5/2 | Draw 2/1 | England 5/4

To Qualify
Croatia 13/10 | England 61/100

Croatia
Following Croatia’s perfect group stage execution, seeing off the likes of Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland, manager Zlatko Dalic’s men have somewhat slowed down, playing a much more cautious brand of football.

The Round of 16, as well as the quarter-finals saw the Croatians progress via successful penalty shoot-outs – seeing off Denmark and Russia. That said, the Croats might just be lacking fatigue heading into their semi-final clash with England, having gone the full distance in both of their knockout games.

Another worrying factor for Croatia is the fact that every goal they have conceded has come from set-pieces, aside from Denis Cheryshev's rocket in the first half in the quarter-finals. On the other hand, Gareth Southgate's side have scored more goals from set-pieces than any other team at this year’s showpiece.

Captain fantastic, Luka Modric, will be pulling the strings in the centre of the park alongside Barcelona’s creative Ivan Rakitic. Both players are more than capable of dictating play from deep and looking to find the pockets of space that unlock England’s defence.


England
The Three Lions have progressed to the semi-finals of a soccer world cup for the first time in 28 years with just two victories keeping Gareth Southgate’s men from taking the trophy home.

England started the tournament with back-to-back wins in the group stages before suffering a 1-0 defeat against Belgium after both teams fielded weaker sides in a dead rubber – England and Belgium had already known they had sealed qualification to the Round of 16 – but top spot was still up for grabs.

The Three Lions saw off Colombia in the Last 16 with a 4-3 penalty victory before ending putting Sweden to bed with a 2-0 win. The one downfall from the quarter-final clash with the Swede’s was seeing Jordan Henderson substituted with a tight hamstring but there is good news coming out of the camp that he will be fit to play. England are undefeated in their last 30 games in which Jordan Henderson has played – the longest unbeaten streak of any Three Lions player in history.

Harry Kane will lead the line for England and is the top scorer with six goals in the tournament. The Tottenham frontman is one of the best finishers around and he will definitely be looking to add to his tally.

Verdict: England (5/4)
To be quite frank, I’m sick and tired of seeing the phrase ‘’It’s Coming Home” all over social media. However, following Croatia playing a full 120 minutes in both of their knockout games, as well as their set-piece weakness, I just feel England will have the upper hand coming into this contest. Expect the Three Lions to wear the Croatians down before wrapping up a narrow victory.

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