It will be a tight match, but England will be fancied to win against Croatia -170 (1.58) and progress to the finals to challenge France for the trophy.
Journey to the Finals
England have shown convincing performances in this World Cup, winning 4 out of 5 matches played – losing just once in the group stage to a strong Belgium team that also made it to the semis. England have opened the scoring in all matches they’ve won but their back line has been defensively careless at times; allowing their opponents to level but only to delay their inevitable loss. As fortunate as England are for having a Golden Boot contender in Harry Kane leading their attack, the Three Lions also have an inspired Jordan Pickford making remarkable saves in between posts to make up for their defensive gaps.
Croatia on the other hand, finished their group stage at the top of the table, winning all matches including a comfortable 3-0 win against Argentina. It’s been a bit more of a challenge for them since the Round of 16 match. Croatia have been coming from behind and progressing through penalty shootouts in their last 2 games. They let a goal slip in the first minute against Denmark, leveled on the 4th and were unable to orchestrate a decider in the next 116 minutes that followed. Against Russia, they were unable to hold on to a lead earned during extra time. Despite their slight misfortune, Croatia are still strong contenders for a spot at the finals. With the likes of Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić in their midfield ranks, Croatia will give England a run for the trophy.
Goals and Goalscorers
Harry Kane has been the top scorer for England scoring 6 in the 4 matches he’s played so far in this tournament. In his current form, you could expect him to be the first +300 (4.0) on the score sheet. This stat, however, is a double-edged sword for the Three Lions. Scoring 6 of England’s 11 goals, Kane has been the only forward in the team who’s been able to convert opportunities into goals. Nullifying Kane might be the key to beating England. England’s remaining 5 goals have been scored by 4 different people: 3 from the back line: Stones and Maguire; and 2 from midfield: Lingard and Alli.
For all his skill, Raheem Sterling has yet to score a goal in this World Cup. If you’re Sterling fan and you fancy him breaking his goalless spell, the odds are in your favor at +750 (8.5).
On the flip side, Croatia’s 10 goals have come from 8 different scorers (and 1 own goal from Nigeria). Luka Modrić leads the tally with 2 under his name and if you fancy him delivering the opening goal of the game, your odds are at +1,000 (11.0). Despite having scored just once, you could also expect Mario Mandzukić to score the first goal of the game +650 (7.5) if you’re supporting Croatia – he is after all Croatia’s 2nd all-time top goalscorer. Croatia may not have the Golden Boot awardee in their squad but you could also say that no one in their team should be taken for granted when given the opportunity in front of goal.
Should we be expecting a goal fest? Maybe not. The odds for over 2 / under 2 are just the same at -110 (1.90) but after the last games of both teams and considering what’s at stake I’d put my money on under.
They’ll be more cautious at play.
Should we be expecting a clean sheet from either team? England’s Jordan Pickford might be able to pull one off given his previous performances at this tournament. I can’t stop reiterating he’s been making amazing saves. Odds for England with a clean sheet are at +140 (2.40)
Final Score and Match Duration
If you’re rooting for England, a win in 90 minutes +135 (2.35) with a score of 1-0 +450 (5.5) should be realistic.
For Croatia fans, I imagine a 2-1 win +1,200 (13.00) in extra time +1,200 (13.00).
Personally, my bet is on England.