Kick-off: 1400, 18/11/2018
TV: Sky Sports
Croatia’s dramatic win over Spain has opened the door for England to reach the Nations League Finals and Gareth Southgate’s side can take full advantage.
The Three Lions lost out to Sunday’s rivals at the World Cup but were much the better team in last month’s goalless draw in Rijeka in this competition.
We’re firmly behind a home win at Wembley at 17/20 as our opening England vs Croatia prediction.
A Look At England’s Betting Odds
England warmed up for this crucial clash by brushing aside the USA 3-0 in a friendly, with Southgate praising his team for some “really exciting” forward play.
Wayne Rooney’s cameo role hogged the headlines, but goals from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson gave the Three Lions a nice confidence boost.
There will be widespread changes when Croatia visit but this was another fillip following last month’s fine triumph over Spain in Seville.
The scenario now is that England will qualify for the Finals with a win, but will be relegated with a loss or a score draw.
“It’s not a European Championship or a World Cup, but it’s good habits to get into,” Southgate said ahead of the Group A4 decider.
“We want to win big matches and matches where there is a bit more pressure and more emphasis, a full house.”
On the evidence of last month’s meeting at Stadion HNK, Southgate should approach this game in a positive frame of mind.
Eric Dier and Harry Kane struck the woodwork in either half, while Marcus Rashford spurned two glorious chances to break the deadlock.
With more clinical finishing on home turf, 8/5 for a home win and over 2.5 goals in the game stands out from the England vs Croatia odds.
A Look At Croatia’s Betting Odds
Croatia put in a subdued performance in that last encounter behind closed doors, but they were spurred on by an electric atmosphere when edging out Spain 3-2 in Zagreb on Thursday.
Bayer Leverkusen defender Tin Jedvaj was the unlikely hero with a double strike, including the stoppage-time winner after La Roja had twice levelled.
After avenging an earlier 6-0 loss to the same opponents, Jedvaj said: “We knew that we needed to play for a win and we managed to show that the heavy loss in Spain was just a bad day.
“We are improving from match to match and now we are facing England. It will be difficult but we will try to win.”
However, Spain wasted a number of clear-cut chances to take control of that contest and England could benefit from another gung-ho display by Croatia.
Losing Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic to injury is also a huge blow for the visitors!
ENGLAND 3-0 USA – Lingard, Alexander-Arnold, Wilson
CROATIA 3-2 Spain – Kramaric, Jedvaj (2)
Head-to-head: Croatia 0-0 England, Croatia 2-1 England, England 5-1 Croatia, Croatia 1-4 England
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