England to face Croatia and the odds are in their favour
It is not the first time England have played against Croatia, and the Three Lions are going in confident.
England’s Past Meetings With Croatia
April 24, 1996 – DRAW 0-0 (friendly)
August 20, 2003 – WON 3-1 (friendly)
June 21, 2004 – WON 4-2 (Euro 2004)
October 11, 2006 – LOST 0-2 (Euro 2008 qualifying)
November 21, 2007 – LOST 2-3 (Euro 2008 qualifying)
September 10, 2008 – WON 4-1 (World Cup 2010 qualifying)
September 9, 2009 – WON 5-1 (World Cup 2010 qualifying)
Gareth Southgate’s men were not high on the list of pre-tournament favourites but a couple of knockout victories later, here they are – just one match away from having their first final appearance since 1966.
When asked about 1966, Jordan Henderson said; “We are concentrating on what we want to to do and what we want to create. We have taken it game by game, it is a massive game but we do not need to make it bigger. We have to focus on the job in hand and we will take the good things from the past in 1966 but it was a long time ago.”
Both sides have reason to be confident this year, but England are an advantage over Croatia as their opponents had to go to extra-time against Russia on Saturday, while England were resting. Moreover, England have scored one more goal than Croatia so far, but have also kept one fewer clean sheet.
We feel that England have a good chance of making it to the final, and looking at the odds England are predicted to qualify at odds of 1.63, whereas the odds for Croatia is 2.28.
England’s progression has been crafted under the watchful eye of coach Gareth Southgate, with the even-handed leadership of Harry Kane inspiring an underrated group to unexpected glories in Russia. Meanwhile, Croatia have the creative genius of Luka Modric to fuel their campaign — but needed extra-time and penalties to dispose of host nation Russia in their quarter-final clash. So, England are looking like the stronger contenders.
As for their pre-game approach, England were seen using a rubber chicken in training. When asked about it Southgate replied;
“What is that all about? I asked that to my fitness coach. They try to keep refreshing the warm-up to get them moving with exercises.”
In the news conference, and build-up to England vs Croatia, Southgate continued to talk about their position at the moment, and how proud he is with his team;
“We are enjoying the journey, we are enjoying our football and we are one of the youngest and least experienced teams in the tournament. We were not sure how far we will go.
“The hunger has been apparent to see and we are proud of our style and we have performed under pressure and dealt with difficult situations,” Southgate said.
Nonetheless, they are aware of the threat Croatia pose, as Jordan Henderson said;
“I have played against Luka Modric a few times and he is world class player, hopefully he has a quiet night tomorrow.
Gareth Southgate: “For a small nation, they have produced some incredible players. We know their qualities and a huge test for us. We are in a semi-final of a World Cup, we would not expect it to be any different.”
And Southgate has high hopes that Henderson will be able to bring it home.
“Jordan is a player who has been underestimated for some time,” Southgate said. “He is an outstanding person with outstanding leadership qualities. The quality of his game has gone to another level this season.”
England vs Croatia will be held on Wednesday at 20:00 (GMT+2).