England vs Croatia Betting Preview – 18/11/2018

England vs Croatia Betting Preview – 18/11/2018

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England vs Croatia

England take on Croatia in the final match of League A, Group 4 of the UEFA Nations League. With both managing to get a shock win over Spain, there are plenty of permutations, but it essentially sets the match up as both a must-win and a must-not-lose.

A win for either side would mean qualification to the playoffs next summer, while a loss would mean relegation. On six points, Spain cannot be relegated, but different types of draws have different outcomes: a score draw would see Croatia in 2nd place and England relegation on away goals in the head-to-head between them, while another goalless draw would see Croatia relegated on overall goal difference.

England have plenty of evocative memories of playing this Balkan nation. The infamous defeat at Wembley a decade ago cost England qualification to Euro 2008 and turned Steve McClaren into a figure of fun. Midfield stalwarts that remain today for Croatia, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, both featured in Croatia’s 3-2 win that night.

Under Fabio Capello in qualification for the 2010 World Cup, England had their revenge, winning the home and away legs by an aggregate score of 9-2, with Theo Walcott memorably scoring a hat-trick in Zagreb. The most recent fixture between the two sides, of course, will see a lot of the same players take to the field on Sunday afternoon: this summer’s World Cup semi-final, in which Mario Mandzukic scored an extra-time winner.

England will be the better rested of the two sides, with almost all of the first-teamers given a rest in Thursday night’s Wayne Rooney send-off, the 3-0 win over USA. Dele Alli is the only player likely to start both games, while Luke Shaw, Joe Gomez and Eric Dier likely to be the only starters different to the one that faced Croatia at the Luzhniki in July, and the goalscorer that night Kieran Trippier has withdrawn from the squad through injury.

Harry Kane has four goals in his last five games for Tottenham, but remarkably he only has one goal in his last nine appearances for England, despite picking up the Golden Boot at the World Cup. However, he lead the line brilliantly and provided two assists in England’s shock 3-2 win in Spain last month and is looking sharp. He can be backed at 10/11 with Ladbrokes and Skybet to score anytime, while Bet365 offer odds of 9/2 that he can score two or more.

Croatia enjoyed a thriller of a game at home on Thursday evening, pegged back twice against Spain but scoring the crucial winner in the 93rd minute – quite the turnaround given they lost 6-0 to Luis Enrique’s men back in September. The unlikely hero was left-back Tin Jedvaj who scored two goals. The Bayer Leverkusen man has astounding odds of 300/1 with William Hill to repeat his heroics at Wembley and score two once again.

The more likely goalscorer is Ante Rebic, who will lead the line after Mario Mandzukic retired from international duty in the summer. The Frankfurt striker has four goals in six appearances for high-flying Frankfurt this season and can be backed at 7/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power to score anytime.

It will be some turnaround for Croatia to put in another spirited performance in London, just three days after they were pushed all the way in a frenetic encounter against Spain. However, at the World Cup they set a precedent for recovering after gruelling encounters, and got the better of England in extra time, despite being taken to penalties in their last two knockout matches. SkyBet offers odds of 29/10 that they get a win here.

A score draw would relegate England and have Spain wiping their collective brow as they qualify for next summer’s final Nations League playoff. It was 1-1 over 90 minutes the last time these two sides met in Russia, and both teams to score and draw can be backed at 7/2 with Bet365.

Recommended Bets:

Harry Kane to score anytime at 10/11 with SkyBet – BET HERE

Both teams to score and draw at 7/2 with Bet365 – BET HERE

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