Euro 2020: England vs. Croatia betting odds, preview, and pick
Two of the top 15 teams in the FIFA World Rankings will square off on Sunday, June 13 as England and Croatia play their opening match at Euro 2020.
Sun, June 13 2021, 1:00 PM
England hoping to get revenge after World Cup defeat
Three years ago, the chants of "It’s coming home" ended with an extra-time defeat to Croatia as their early goal from Kieran Trippier was not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat. Now, England hopes to get the better of Croatia and begin their run to the final by winning on home soil, as they host the matches in Group D along with Scotland. The Three Lions come into the match in terrific form, having won their last six international matches by a combined score of 15-1 while keeping five clean sheets.
In the nine previous European Championships, England has played in 31 matches—the most of any nation without reaching a final. Their fans expect them to put an end to that when this tournament is over. If they are able to win the group, they would avoid the winner of Group F and would be in the bottom half of the bracket, which many experts expect to be the far easier of the two. A defeat to Croatia would severely hinder that effort, so they will look to defend and hit with their pace on the break.
Harry Maguire will most likely miss the match as he recovers from injury, so Gareth Southgate has some questions to answer with his team selection. However, his attack of Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford will be written in pen on the team sheet, with Mason Mount and Phil Foden providing plenty of youth and energy in the midfield.
Does Croatia have the legs to repeat their run?
Croatia fell 4-2 to France in the 2018 World Cup final, exceeding even their own wildest expectations by advancing that far. However, the squad is now three years older, meaning key players are coming in with heavier legs. Midfield maestro Luka Modric turns 36 in a few months, and his form dipped this season with Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, prolific scorer Mario Mandzukic retired from international play following the 2018 final, leaving a huge hole in attack. AC Milan forward Ante Rebic scored 11 goals for his club in league play this season, and hopes to fill that void. Ivan Rakitic joined Mandzukic in retirement, and Mateo Kovacic will try to replace his box-to-box abilities, while Marcelo Brozovic will be the wrecking ball in the midfield trio.
Croatia will likely be looking at the same game plan as England: get a result and take points from the following two matches. To do this, they will need to shore up their defense. Since the resumption of international play last September, Croatia have won just four of their 13 international matches, suffering seven defeats and keeping a clean sheet just twice against minnows Malta and Cyprus. With the firepower England have going forward, it wouldn't be surprising to see them bunker in and try to play for a draw.
England vs. Croatia Trends
In their previous nine appearances at the European Championships, England has failed to record a single victory in their opening match, with four defeats and five draws. However, Croatia have never lost any of their five opening matches, drawing just once.
Croatia have lost just twice in their last eleven matches in the European Championships, not counting penalty shootout defeats. However, they have lost five of their last nine international matches since October 2020, with only two victories.
England have scored four or more goals in each of their last three matches in the European Championships, and there have been three or more goals scored total in each of their last nine in the competition. Furthermore, they have suffered defeat in regulation just twice in their last 34 matches in the competition.
Croatia will struggle to keep pace with England
While there are plenty of questions surrounding the selection of the roster and how they will line up, England have few questions in attack against a Croatia side that is leaking goals. Furthermore, the aging Croatian roster will find it hard to withstand the pace and energy that England will unleash on them.
In front of their home supporters, look for England to kick off their Euro 2020 campaign with a victory and put themselves in the pole position in Group D.