Croatia’s win against Spain on Thursday night means England’s UEFA Nations League match at 2.00pm on Sunday has much more importance than was originally anticipated. Had Spain won in Croatia, Spain would have progressed to the inaugural UEFA Nations League semi-finals. However, Spain now need England and Croatia to draw for them to end up as group winners, as a win for either England or Croatia will see the winning team top the group and make it to semi-finals.
Spain are assured of remaining in the top league of the UEFA Nations League no matter what happens, but there are several scenarios in which either England or Croatia can be relegated. If either team loses, they will finish bottom and drop to the lower league for the next edition of the UEFA Nations League.
Meanwhile, if the game ends 0-0, as it did when the two teams played in Croatia, Croatia will be relegated as they have an inferior goal difference to England. Goal difference becomes irrelevant the moment a goal is scored though, as a score draw will see England relegated. That’s because the finals standings will be decided on the matches between England and Croatia, and Croatia would win that argument on away goals.
England vs Croatia Head-to-Heads
England and Croatia have met four-times in the last decade, with England dominant in both legs of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, winning 5-1 and 4/1. Of course, as both teams are almost unrecognizable to the ones that played in those matches, this year’s two confrontations are better points of reference.
The first of those was in Russia in the World Cup Finals in July, a match that Croatia won in extra-time after the game had ended 1-1 at full-time. The most recent encounter was in Croatia just a few weeks ago, where the two teams drew 0-0 in a match that was played without a crowd due to the bad behaviour of Croatia’s fans in a previous match.
England vs Croatia Outright Betting
England are odds-on with most bookies to win this match, win the group, and progress to the UEFA League semi-finals, and Gareth Southgate’s men have their destiny in their own hands. Playing at Wembley should be an advantage, especially as English fans are now firmly behind the England team. The big question is, will this young England team have the bottle when it matters?
What has been impressive in England’s last few matches is their belief in their own abilities. They may not have scored in Croatia, but they were the team that carved out the clear-cut chances. They again took the game to Spain in Spain, shocking the home team with three first-half goals. The friendly against the USA may not have meant much, but England again created plenty of chances as well as scoring three goals.
More significantly, Harry Kane hasn’t scored any of England’s last eight goals, and it could be that emergence of other goalscorers that puts more pressure on Croatia’s defence. England have also taken the wraps off another potential star in Jadon Sancho, and it would be no surprise if the teenager figured if England need a late goal.
That’s not to say that Croatia haven’t got plenty of danger me but, like England, they also have a habit of blowing big matches. So, with plenty of positives for England, I’m going to take a patriotic punt on Gareth Southgate’s men.
England vs Croatia Outright Free Tip: England @ 1.96 Unibet, 1.95 Bet365
England vs Croatia Half-Time/Full-Time Betting
Gareth Southgate’s England team have a tendency to start games quickly and, when they’ve won recently, they tend to have been in front at half-time and full-time. That was the case against the USA, Spain, whilst they also led at half-time against Croatia in the World Cup, and really should have been in front at half-time in Croatia a few weeks ago. So, if you want to back England at odds-against, this looks the best market to do it in.
England vs Croatia Half-time/Full-time Free Tip: England/England @ 3.05 Unibet, 3.00 Bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair, Betvictor, PaddyPower
Last Goalscorer Betting
It’s hard to see either team playing for a draw so, if it’s still a tight game in the latter stages, expect both managers can be expected to make some positive changes. That could mean that Jadon Sancho could make an appearance, and he has the individual skill in a tight situation to grab the last goal.
England vs Croatia Last Goalscorer Free Tip: Jadon Sancho @ 11.00 Bet365, 9.00 Betfair, PaddyPower
Odds Correct at Time of Publication