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Croatia v Czech Republic Bet Builder: Oppose goals at Hampden Park

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Croatia take on Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Friday in a 5pm kick-off.

Czech Rep will feel at ease in Glasgow after their impressive 2-0 win against Scotland on Monday, with Patrik Schick scoring from further out than any player in European Championships history.

Croatia, however, need to bounce back after their 1-0 loss to England and cannot afford to lose.

The World Cup finalists are 13/10 favourites to win the match, with the draw 21/10 and a Czech Rep win 12/5.

These two nations have consistently punched above their weight at major tournaments since gaining independence in the early 1990’s so it should make for an interesting spectacle.

However, neither have exactly been amongst the goals of late, with 10 of Croatia’s last 12 and 10 of Czech’s last 13 seeing fewer than four goals scored at either end.

This feels like a decent starting point for a Bet Builder, then, with Croatia likely to be a little cagey given the stakes.

1+ card each team has landed in five of the six ‘second matchday’ fixtures so far, and with Spaniard Carlos del Cerro Grande at the whistle I‘m happy enough to back this again.

Both sides averaged two cards per game in qualifying for this tournament, with Croatia receiving three yellow cards against England.

Lastly, with Croatia having to take the initiative, I’ll back them to earn 3+ corners. They have hit this mark in 10 of their last 12 matches, including against the likes of Portugal, Belgium and France.

If you’re looking for a bit more juice, Croatia to score, Under 4 Goals, 4+ Croatia corners & 1+ card each team is 3/1.

Scotland created plenty of decent chances against Czech Rep but lacked the finishing quality to put at least one away, and while Croatia do lack a natural goalscorer, the likes of Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric and Ante Rebic are still better than anything the Scots have to offer in attacking areas.

In terms of player bets, I’m keen on Tomas Soucek to be carded at 11/2 (bet365).

The West Ham midfielder was carded seven times in the Premier League last season and he was extremely fortunate not to receive another against Scotland having made three fouls as well as cynically kicking the ball away to prevent a quick free-kick.

Soucek effectively man-marked John McGinn out of the game and I expect him to be given a similar task on Luka Modric, who was fouled three times against England.

Alternatively, Soucek is 4/5 (Unibet) to make two or more fouls in the game. This landed in 20 of his 38 league matches for the Hammers and in four of his last six competitive internationals.

There’s a bit of uncertainty around Croatia’s starting line-up with Dejan Lovren and Borsa Barisic’s fitness still unclear, while regular booking merchants Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Duje Caleta-Car will all be walking a tightrope after each receiving one against England.

If I had to pick anyone it would be Domagoj Vida given that he escaped one and has had five bookings in recent qualifiers for his country, but Soucek’s price is big enough to back as a single to be honest.

Selections:

Under 4 Goals, 1+ card each team & 3+ Croatia corners @ 23/20 (bet365)

Croatia to score, Under 4 Goals, 1+ card each team & 4+ Croatia corners @ 3/1 (bet365)

Tomas Soucek to be carded @ 11/2 (bet365)

Soucek to commit 2+ fouls @ 4/5 (Unibet)

I'm a freelance sports journalist who has worked for Goal & Bleacher Report amongst others. Get in touch, you're more than welcome to do so via Twitter or contact me via email .

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