2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting Prediction: England vs Croatia

Posted by Derrick Harper on July 9, 2018 in

The second semi-final of the 2018 World Cup will take place Wednesday in Moscow between England and Croatia. Both were dark horse teams heading into the tournament, but one of them will be playing on Sunday for a world title. England is the early favorite at +120. However, it’d be foolish to discount Croatia, who’s listed at +230 to advance to the final.

2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting Prediction: England vs Croatia

England

The Three Lions showed no signs of a letdown from their historic penalty kicks win over Colombia when they beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals. Many were skeptical of England early in the tournament, as they won their first two matches against lesser teams. However, they had complete control over their two games during the knockout stage and are looking like a team with few weaknesses. At this stage, England is locked into its lineup and its style of play, and the result is a young team that fully believes they can win a world title.

Against Croatia, England will look to use their athleticism to break down Croatia’s defense. Despite a lack of finishing, Raheem Sterling has played well in his last two games, causing problems for opposing teams in the back. If he can use his speed to create scoring opportunities for his teammates, most notably the tournament’s leading goal-scorer Harry Kane, England has a good chance to unlock a Croatian defense that’s been stingy for much of the tournament. At the same time, the Three Lions need to be wary of Croatia’s quality in the midfield. The midfield of Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, and Jesse Lingard have to be more conscious of their defensive responsibilities than they thus far in the tournament. Otherwise, they risk getting torn apart in the midfield by savvy veterans like Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Croatia

For much of the tournament, Croatia has looked a calculating and experienced squad with both the tactics and quality to shock the world. However, they may have peaked during the group stage despite advancing to the semi-finals. Croatia has reached the semi-finals by advancing past both Denmark and Russia on penalty kicks. In both games, Croatia failed to seize control against a lesser opponent. They did well to erase a deficit in both games and are clearly comfortable in a penalty shootout. However, there are growing doubts about the quality of the side, not to mention questions about their health and fitness after playing physically and emotionally draining games in both the Round of 16 and quarterfinals.

Croatia is the 2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting underdogs against England.

When they face England, there will be great pressure on the likes of Modric and Rakitic to control the game. However, it may be up to the supporting cast of Croatia to be the differences makers in the semi-final. England has proven to be a complete and balanced team, from Kane and Sterling at the top all the way to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who has made some outstanding saves over the past two games. Croatia will need to match up to England’s quality all over the field if they hope to advance.

2018 World Cup Semifinals Prediction

After back-to-back games of 120 minutes plus penalties, an aging Croatia team figures to be a little tired during the semi-finals. England, on the other hand, is young, accustomed to a grueling schedule in their domestic league, and rested most of its starters at the end of the group stage. The Three Lions also had a relatively easy 90 minutes against Sweden in the quarterfinals. Ultimately, the speed and athleticism England has in the attacking third of the field will be too much. England wins 3-2.