England kick off their Euro 2020 tournament campaign on Sunday, June 13 against Croatia. The two national teams famously played in the 2018 World Cup semifinals with Croatia collected a 2-1 win to progress to the final. They lost to France in the final 4-2. England and Croatia have met twice since the 2018 World Cup semifinals. They played in the UEFA Nations League in 2018 with England collecting a draw and win.

The Three Lions are second-favourites to win the Euro 2020 tournament pre-competition. England are at odds of 5/1 to win the competition in July. Croatia are ageing and considered long shots to lift the Euro Championship trophy. Croatia are at 33/1 to win the tournament. Manager Zlatko Dalic does not have the same quality squad as at the 2018 World Cup. However, Dalic will hope the side can shock a few onlookers.

England and Croatia are in Group D alongside Scotland and Czech Republic. With England expected to go through the group unscathed, Croatia are expected to fight for second place against a so-so Czech team and an improving Scotland.

England have an all-time record of 5W-2D-3L versus Croatia. Gareth Southgate needs the team to start on the right foot to kick start the team’s journey to the final in London. Can they stay unbeaten versus Croatia?

England vs Croatia Betting Odds

 

England go into the Euro 2020 tournament as the world’s No. 4 ranked team in the world. According to ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, England are the team that will give France the most trouble at the tournament. Meanwhile, France are considered “super favourites” by the former manager. England have been on a great run of form in 2021. They are on a five-match winning streak claiming four wins to nil in that timeframe. England have not suffered a lost since November 2020. The 2-0 defeat came versus Belgium in Brussel.

Leading sportsbooks have England at odds of 8/11 to start the tournament with a win versus Croatia. The Three Lions are unbeaten in back-to-back games versus Croatia. Both matches took place in 2018 in the UEFA Nations League.

Croatia are the No. 14 team in the world according to FIFA. The Croatians are coming off of a poor run of pre-Euro 2020 tournament friendlies. They drew 1-1 with Armenia before losing 1-0 to Belgium. Croatia’s poor run of form was interrupted by two wins against sub-par talented teams Cyprus and Malta. Croatia could be considered flat-track bullies. They scored just six goals in five international matches in 2021.

Croatia are at odds of 19/4 to win the match versus England. They have not defeated England since the 2018 World Cup semifinal. Dalic’s team won when it counted versus England. However, the squad for the semifinal was vastly different to the one that faced England in the UEFA Nations League.

England vs Croatia Team News

Defensive injuries could kill England’s chances of winning against the Euro 2020 tournament’s better teams. Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was expected to be one of the team’s creative players. However, Alexander-Arnold suffered a thigh injury against Austria on June 2. The Liverpool defender is now out of the tournament.

Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire is still recovering from a serious ankle injury suffered at the end of the club league season. Maguire has continued to miss training for England and is likely to sit the first game – possibly the group stage – out. Although it was joked about the number of full-backs Southgate included in the team, England’s top-level defensive options now look thin.

When these teams met at the World Cup three years ago, England were far more dependent on Harry Kane. Southgate now has a number of players capable of scoring goals in the side. However, it was worrying that England scored just two goals over the course of their last two friendlies. The defence did keep back-to-back clean sheets.

Luka Modric is Croatia’s main man, but the Real Madrid player needs Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic and Andrej Kramaric to step up. All four players are holdovers from the 2018 World Cup. Croatia defeated Wales, Slovakia, and Hungary in qualifying to win the most competitive group. They recorded 17 points, which was the lowest of the 10 qualifying group winners. They are poor travellers having won just one away game.

England vs Croatia Prediction

Both teams to score: NO @ 8/11 - BET NOW

 

The first match of Group D could be a low-scoring affair. England won both of their pre-tournament friendlies by identical 1-0 scorelines. Croatia drew 1-1 with Armenia – a sub-par side in European football – and lost 1-0 versus Belgium. Three of England’s last four matches ended with both teams not scoring. A defensive struggle could be on the cards.

Harry Kane to score anytime @ 13/10 - BET NOW

 

Harry Kane was the man England leaned on three years ago at the World Cup. The Tottenham Hotspur striker isn’t depended upon like he was previously. However, Southgate will hope Kane can rise to the occasion at the Euro 2020 tournament. Kane won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2020-21 with 23 goals in 35 matches. Kane has 34 international goals in 54 matches.

Under 2.5 goals scored @ 13/20 - BET NOW

 

England should win the match on Sunday in a low-scoring affair. They won two pre-tournament friendlies by identical 1-0 scorelines. England’s defence has been excellent over the course of 2021. The team could keep another clean sheet even without the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Maguire. England showed in the friendlies that Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings could be a decent pairing. Ben White could play in defence as well.

Southgate should be more worried about the attack. The goals in the friendlies were sloppy or penalties. Croatia are just not the team they were three years ago. Dalic’s team are more likely to fight for second place in the group. England should win and start the tournament on the right foot.