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2018 World Cup Semifinals Preview: England vs. Croatia

England and Croatia face off in the second semifinal of the 2018 World Cup. Read on for the preview and prediction of this exciting game.

World Cup 2018 – England vs. Croatia

  • Date: July 10, 2018, 2:00 PM ET 
  • Betting Odds: England +137 vs Croatia +260 – Draw +212
  • England to Advance PK -155
  • Croatia to Advance PK +128

England has competed against Croatia on five opportunities since the turn of the century; the Three Lions have won three games while losing two. Though it’s been almost a decade since they’ve played, in the 2010 World Cup, it’s now time once more for these two soccer greats to compete to bring the glory back home.

A Look At Croatia

The group stage wasn’t too difficult for Croatia to pass through; but, the knockout stages have pushed this team to its boundaries and they’ve had to decide things in penalties with both Denmark and Russia to make it to the semifinals.

The one constant though for this team has been its leader, Luka Modric. The team captain will once more take the reins of his country’s team to defeat England.

There’s an open question whether or not Croatia’s players, however, will have enough gas left in their tanks after having pushed themselves to the limit against Denmark and then Russia.

Whether or not they can hold up their stamina against an arguably more rested English squad remains to be seen.

Key for Croatia will be how they can use their formidable midfield to anchor their attack, taking advantage of Modric and Rakitic to cut through England’s defenses. Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic was key in Croatia’s win over Russia as he gave Modric the opening to create scoring opportunities up front.

Croatia arguably also has the upper hand over England in that it’s not quite so reliant on one player to score. So far, nine different players have scored Croatia’s 10 goals.

This makes Croatia an incredibly difficult opponent to contend with as any of their front four can take the lead at center forward and wreak havoc on England’s defense.

This same advantage, however, can also prove to work against Croatia as they don’t really have a point man to rely upon to score goals.

Croatia also must figure out a way to defend against England’s set pieces, its greatest threat, and one which they’ve shown to be a weakness both against Denmark and Russia.

A Look At England

The Brits practically strolled into the semifinals after defeating Sweden rather easily in their quarterfinals match. This means they’ll be arguably more rested than their opponents which could prove to be a big advantage if they manage to draw out the game.

England’s most effective weapon has proved to be their set-pieces on dead ball situations. So far, no team has been able to figure it out and has led to eight of their 11 goals.

Nevertheless, England will have their hands full in trying to slow down Croatia’s formidable midfield that is probably the best of the teams left in the competition. Shutting down Modric and Rakitic will be key if the Three Lions are to win this game.

Croatia has struggled against tight defensive stratagems, but given England’s open alignment they might be open to disaster if they can’t put a plug on Modric.

England Predicted Lineup: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Henderson, Young; Lingard, Alli, Kane, Sterling

Game Prediction: It’s bound to be a close game in which neither team will budge but an inch. However, stamina will be an issue for Croatia and England will get away with a 2-1 win.