England get their 2020 European Championship winning campaign underway with a redemption game against the side that knocked them out in the World Cup semi-finals.
Goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic rendered Kieran Trippier’s free-kick null as the Croats booked their place in the World Cup final.
Get 30/1 Harry Kane to have a shot on target
Three years on and several members of that side have moved on from international football, leaving Zlatko Dalic’s side at a bit of a crossroads.
The Blazers have been leaking goals for the last 18 months – keeping just two clean sheets in 16 games, and they came against Malta (ranked 175th in the world) and Cyprus (97th).
The only wins they’ve picked up in their last nine games also came against those sides; losing to France, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, and Belgium in that time.
England, on the other hand, are in the midst of a six-game winning run that has seen them score 15 times and concede just once – albeit none of those wins were against sides ranked inside the world top 20.
The Three Lions, however, have failed to win any of hh nine opening matches at the European Championships; and Gareth Southgate has a selection headache ahead of their 10th.
Harry Maguire’s lack of fitness means he will likely persist with the 4-at-the-back he’s been trialling in the centre-back’s absence, with Ben White and Tyrone Mings likely battling it out for that left centre-back spot alongside John Stones. Further forward; Mount, Grealish, Foden, Rashford, Saka, Sancho, and Sterling are competing for one of three or four spots behind Harry Kane.
The Man In The Middle
Taking charge at London’s Wembley Stadium is Italian official Daniele Orsato. The 45-year-old has dished out 5.13 yellow cards per game in Serie A this season, and ended a 28-game penalty drought by giving two in his final domestic game of the year.
Assuming Jack Grealish starts on the left-hand side for England, Croatia’s defenders could be in for a torrid time. Right-back Sime Vrsaljko will certainly have his hands full with the Premier League’s most fouled player – as Romania full-back Tiberiu Capusa found out last week.
The Atletico Madrid back-up has only started 10 La Liga games over the last two years, but has somehow picked up five yellow cards in that span. At 4/1, he represents nice value for a card.
Elsewhere; England Over 14.5 free kicks appeals for the same reasons – which creates a 7/1 bet365 BetBuilder double.
I’d also recommend a small dabble on the aforementioned Grealish to pick up Man of the Match, if he starts.
The electric forward lit up the Premier League last season for club side Aston Villa, and has picked up the gong in three of his last six international starts. Odds of 11/2 at bet365 certainly appeal.
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