England and Croatia have scrapped their way to the World Cup semifinals, and now one of them will win the honor of reaching the final against France. It’s a near-improbable run for both teams, each of whom won penalty shootouts to reach this round. Croatia actually won two, and are the only team besides Argentina in 1990 to win two shootouts at the World Cup. That has some bettors thinking fatigue for Croatia, who are underdogs for Wednesday’s matchup.
England vs. Croatia Odds
England are the odds favorite for this matchup, coming in at +125 on the three-way moneyline. Croatia are +290 to win outright, and the draw is priced at +240.
Remember, these odds are for 90 minutes of action only. Croatia has played back-to-back games that were tied after 90 minutes.
The spread is moving for England-Croatia with only hours until kickoff. Last night, I checked at England was +130 laying .5 goals. That line has since shifted, and England is now a large favorite on a Pick Em spread. The spread change is a massive difference, as it allows bettors to push should the game go to extra time.
On 5Dimes, England is still laying .5 goals and is priced at +120. Croatia would be a solid bet getting .5 goals, priced at -135 with the possibility of winning on a full-time draw.
The goal total for this match is just 2 goals, with the under (-120) slight favored against the over (-110).
As with any match in this tournament, odds are good that Harry Kane scores a goal. The Golden Boot leader has six goals in Russia, and is priced at +130 to score anytime.
If you’re confident in the Three Lions, “England Wins & Croatia no goals” is a decent underdog at +245. Croatia is -660 to have at least one scoreless half, so oddsmakers aren’t giving Croatia much of a chance at multiple goals if any.
England vs. Croatia Prediction
For England, one game away from the final, it’s going to come down to set pieces.
They’ve executed on them throughout the tournament, and Croatia have been vulnerable. Three of Croatia’s four goals conceded in this tournament have been on set pieces, as have all of England’s goals sans two.
With that being said, despite the speed on the ground for England, the true tests will be in the air. Harry Kane will have to win balls against the Croatian defense, and England will similarly have to handle the aerial prowess of Mario Mandzukic at the other end. Croatia haven’t really been able to pump balls in to Mandzukic in Russia, but the Juventus striker is more than capable of generating goals in the box. The challenge will likely fall to defender Harry Maguire, who is already reaching hero status after his goal against Sweden.
Croatia have played consecutive 120 minute matches, but the fitness doesn’t concern me. These are professional players, and the adrenaline will be enough to push Croatia forward. I am much more concerned about the fitness of keeper Subasic, who seemed to injure his hamstring very late in the quarterfinal win over Russia.
The longer this match goes, the more Croatia will think they can win. Both teams have shootout wins, but it is Croatia that has come from behind previously in this tournament. If England cannot slow down the weapons in the middle for Croatia, Luka Modric has the individual skill to carry Croatia to a massive upset.
Croatia have pieces, but England are a complete team. It may have been hard to picture it at the start, but England are really headed to a World Cup final.
Prediction: England win 2-0