England will play host to Croatia on Sunday, June 13, at Wembley Stadium in their EURO 2020 opener. The temperature at the stadium won’t be too kind for the players, and it certainly doesn’t help that the game will be played at 14:00 local time.
England vs Croatia
Where: Wembley Stadium in London, England
When: Sunday, June 13 – 14:00 BST
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 26°C
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
These two last met back in 2018, when England won 2-1 at home, adding their second head-to-head victory since the 2009 World Cup. The last time Croatia beat England inside 90 minutes was way back in 2007.
England will be eager to hand Croatia a loss here, since it was the Vatreni, who eliminated them from the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, denying them their first World Cup finals appearance since 1966. No matter whether you believe in the revenge narrative or not, you can be sure that we’re in for one of the most exciting fixtures of the tournament so far.
England Counting on Young Players
Throughout football’s history, England proved to be a factory of world-class talent, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Looking at the English’s squad, it all seems like this is the beginning of a so-called Golden Generation – akin to that of Belgium, but a far younger version.
As good as this sounds, I could have said that about the English squad numerous times before, and yet the Three Lions haven’t achieved much over the last few years. But, hey, the insert number‘s time is a charm.
Gareth Southgate’s men enter their EURO 2020 opener against Croatia without Harry Maguire, which is a huge concern. Without the 28-year-old, the hosts will lack a crucial central defender that will make them far more vulnerable in the back.
And that’s not something you want when faced with a side like Croatia. Of course, Southgate has other options in highly talented youngsters, but as good as they are, none can replace Maguire and what he brings to the table.
Croatia’s Ageing Squad Have Another Go at a Major Title
Croatia will hope they can emulate their run from 2018 World Cup, but it doesn’t seem likely that Vatreni will manage to achieve that. The 2018 World Cup was a miracle run, to begin with and possibly Croatia’s best chance to grab an international title.
That’s largely due to Croatian’s ageing squad. Unlike the English team who field a handful of young players, Zlatko Dalić’s side is largely assembled from veterans, most of whom are well over the age of 25.
What’s more, Croatian side haven’t been doing too well in their games leading into EURO 2020. They’re 3-1-6 in their last 10 outings, which includes a 1-1 draw with Armenia, a narrow 1-0 victory against Cyprus, and a 0-1 loss to Slovenia.
Croatia’s only two victories since October were against Cyprus and Malta, which is obviously not great. It’s also important to note that Croatia have conceded at least one goal in all but two of their last 10 games.
That run includes three goals against Portugal (2-3), two against Sweden (1-2), three against Turkey (3-3), and two against France (1-2). If we look at only games against top-quality sides, Vatreni have conceded 11 goals in five games (2.2 goals/game).
England vs Croatia Betting Picks
Croatia have deteriorated across the last three years and are not the same powerhouse that made it to the finals of the 2018 World Cup. Their biggest issue seems to be defending their net, and it won’t get much better when faced with a high-scoring team like England.
On a more positive note, Croatia can score goals, which could prove to be a valuable trait when faced with England’s weakened backline. They have notched a goal in all but one of their last 10 outings, and if they can score against the likes of Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and France, they can put in at least one against England as well.
Expect plenty of goals today.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals – 2.12 at Matchbook
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