World Cup Semi Final: Croatia v England

The second semi-final to determine who will advance to the Final will see Croatia take on an enthusiastic and confident England out at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Stats

What’s their current form?
Croatia dominated their group, winning all 3 games, opening with a somewhat fortunate 2-0 victory over Nigeria. They then blitzed the highly fancied Argentina 3-0 in a stunning second half, before scoring a 90th minute goal to beat Iceland 2-1. Denmark and Croatia were at 1 all after just 4 minutes, but neither side could pull away. Croatia won 3-2 after penalties. They were again forced to a shoot out in the Quarter final with host nation Russia, prevailing 4-3.

England cruised into the Round of 16 after just 2 of their 3 games. They opened with a last gasp 2-1 victory over Tunisia, before blitzing Panama 6-1. They then lost 1-0 to Belgium. England lead 1-0 until the 93rd minute when Mina scored, forcing the game to a shoot-out, where England won through 4-3. England then accounted for Sweden 2-0 in the Quarters.

Lineups
Croatia: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Corluka, Lovren, Vida; Badelj, Rakitic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Kramaric.
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Henderson; Trippier, Lingard, Alli, Rose; Kane, Sterling.

Any interesting facts I should know?
Croatia’s two knockout wins have come via shoot outs

What should I be betting on?
England to take on another defensively stingy side here. They are riding high though and look likely to win a tight game here.

Wolf’s Prediction

Croatia were The Wolf’s value pick and they are still alive following another penalty shootout victory. They joined Argentina as the only two nations to have won multiple shootouts at the same World Cup. The Wolf is completely aware of England’s momentum but says there is something special about this Croatian side. They conceded first against both Denmark and Russia but were never flustered. The midfield of Rakitic and Modric give the side a real calmness and The Wolf says they will again be in complete control. Henderson on his own cannot take on the duo and the English will again rely on the speed out wide. Kane has failed to score against Sweden and Under 2.5 goals is 3-0 in each of the sides last 3 matches. Croatia have had great success against European nations at the World Cup losing just once in 8 matches – to hosts France in 1998. They have also scored in 9 consecutive World Cup games and The Wolf cannot see England keeping them scoreless. Both teams will score but The Wolf says the tempo will not be a rapid one. Croatia have played 120 minutes plus penalty twice in the space of a week and will look to play a more controlled game. The Wolf says we will be going to extra time with Rakitic to slot the winning penalty for a 3rd consecutive match.

Recommended Bets

Best: Under 2.5 goals ($1.50)
Other: Both Teams To Score – YES ($2.10)
Correct Score: Draw 1-1 ($5.75)
Value: Win On Penalties – Croatia ($9.00)


FAQ’s

TV channel, kick-off time, betting odds, tips, live stream and team news

What time is kick off? The game starts at 9pm (local time) on July 11. In Australia, kick-off will be at 4am on July 12th.

What TV Channel is it on and can I live stream it? In Australia, the only network with live broadcast rights is SBS. SBS Radio will also cover games that aren’t broadcast. Optus Sport in Australia will broadcast every game live as well via live streaming, however it will be available to subscribers only.

What’s the team news and who’s injured? Both sides come into this match injury free.

Who’s the referee? Not yet announced.

What happened the last time they played each other? There have been 7 previous contests between these nations, with England winning 4 games, Croatia 2 games and a draw. England won the last two meetings quite convincingly; 4-1 in 2008 and 5-1 in 2009.

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