Preview - Croatia vs England 12 July 18

Started by Harry85, Jul 09, 2018, 09:01 PM

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Harry85

World Cup Semi Finals
Croatia vs England
Thursday, July 12th, 2018
03:00am, (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium

Croatia:
Last five matches form: W W W D D
Average goals per match last ten: 1.30
Average goals against per match last ten: 0.90
Top Scorer: Mario Mandžukić (31)

England:
Last five matches form: W W L D W
Average goals per match last ten:  1.70
Average goals against per match last ten: 0.60
Top Scorer: Harry Kane (19)

The stakes couldn't be any higher at the Luzhniki as Croatia - bidding to reach the World Cup Final for the first time ever - lock horns with England who are attempting to make it for the first time in 52 years.

These two have met seven times in the past, with England winning four, Croatia winning two and one draw.

Both sides have possibly slightly exceeded expectations in making it this far, but with the big prize now so tantalisingly close they certainly won't be resting on their laurels.

With an average age of 27.40, Croatia do boast an experience edge over England who come in at a relatively youthful 25.70 years. That really cuts two ways though, and back to back gruelling encounters with Denmark and Russia, which each went to extra time and penalties is hardly ideal for one of the older sides in the competition.

Croatia have the more talented midfield, but with Modric and Rakitic running the show, that would be the case against nearly every side in the competition. England look stronger in defence and attack though and if they get their tactics right we fancy the Three Lions to come out on top.

Croatia are lethal on the counter, so attacking at will will likely be counterproductive for Gareth Southgate's men.

We fancy England to keep things tight here and use their set piece prowess to nick this.



Prediction: Croatia 0 - 1 England

Harry85

Half time: 0 - 1
Full time: 1 - 1
After Extra Time: 2 - 1
Shots: 20 - 9
Shots on target: 9 - 3
Corner Kicks: 8 - 4
Possession: 55% - 45%

Mario Mandžukić and Ante Rebić were booked for Croatia, whilst England's Kyle Walker also had his name taken by referee Cuneyt Cakir.

The game could hardly have started any better for England as they took the lead in just the fifth minute. Awarded a free kick just outside the area and almost dead centre, Kieran Trippier was the man to take responsibility. One wonderful curled effort over the wall and into the top right corner later and Trippier had a first international goal.

The Three Lions continued to be the better side for much of the first half. Harry Kane going very close to doubling their lead when played in on goal. Danijel Subasic doing well to save his first effort and also getting a toe to Kane's second shot to deflect the ball onto the post and away. The usually reliable Kane would normally have put at least one of these efforts away, but would the miss come back to haunt England? 1-0 at half-time.

If England were the better side in the opening 45 minutes, there's no doubt it was Croatia who were superior for the remainder of this contest, and in the 68th minute they were back on level terms. Ivan Perisić getting across Kyle Walker to get an outstretched boot to Sime Vrsaljko's cross from the right and divert the ball in.

Nervy stuff from there on in, with Croatia continuing to look the more likely, Perisic going close again when thumping an effort against the post following a mazy run. 1-1 at full time though.

If there was a team going to win this it was going to be Luka Modric and co. And they did in the 109th minute. Perisic heading the ball back into the area to find Mandžukić turning to beat the offside trap to the left of the six yard box. Smart finish from the Juventus man into the bottom right corner.

No way back for Gareth Southgate's men. They can nevertheless look back on a successful tournament having reached the semi finals for the first time in 28 years.

Croatia meanwhile are in dreamland as they make the final for the first time in their history.






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