The Three Lions’ journey in EURO 2020 begins here, against the very team which defeated them in World Cup 2018 semifinal and ended their campaign in Russia three years ago, Croatia. Minus Ivan Rakitic and the goalie Subasjic who have retired from national team, they remains one of the respected and potential dark horses in the tournament. This might look like a revenge for Harry Kane and Co. Yet, it means more, to show the world that they deserve to be the favourite.
Both teams’ previous games
England’s final squad was initially hinted with criticism over naming too many right back in it. Yet, Southgate had the right moment to answer such as Trent Alexander Arnold’s serious injury which cost his absence for the summer tournament. The former England U-21 boss decided to call up Brighton’s Ben White to cover Harry Maguire’s unfit condition. The only surprise would probably be the fact that Jesse Lindgard and James Maddison were excluded while Jordan Henderson made the list.
Vatreni is still guided by Zlatko Dalic and his squad is still including the key figures in Russia 2018 except some names apparently did not make the cut. They are Tin Jedvaj and Wolfsburg man Mario Pongracic. He opts to call up the youngsters Luka Ivanusec and 19-year old Dinamo Zagreb defender, Josko Gvardiol.
Gareth Southgate has a number of possible formation to be deployed here, from 4-3-3, 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1. The match against Vatreni is all about the physical and intensity plus pace and creativity to create spaces. Harry Kane will be leading the attack in 3-4-2-1 formation supported by Jack Grealish and Mason Mount or Jadon Sancho behind the skipper.
Meanwhile, Zlatko Dalic might still be relying on offensive pressing system in 4-3-3. Luka Modric is still the anchorman in the midfield accompanied by Chelsea man Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic. The front three men will be occupied by Ivan Perisic, Josip Brekallo and either Ante Rebic or Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric.
Players to watch
The skipper Harry Kane is certainly the key man of The Three Lions today. However, he will not be able to thrive without his comrades on both flanks. This is where Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho could play a bigger role as a creative midfielder and winger respectively. Another notable name who could be England’s secret weapon is the versatile Phil Foden.
Real Madrid man Luka Modric remains the vital figure in the midfield. He has contributed 17 goals in 138 appearances so far. The Ballon D’Or winner in 2018 must not be given some spaces to build up their attack. Some other important names to watch are Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric who just had a fairly stellar season with Hoffenheim by contributing twenty goals and five assists in Bundesliga.
England vs Croatia prediction
Gareth Southgate’s side advantage by playing in Wembley should help them clinch maximum points here, at least in a narrow win. The key factor here would be how solid England’s defence can be while holding on against Vatreni’s attacking side. Once they can block and win the ball from the second line, Harry Kane and Co can be dangerous in the six yard box.
The home advantage could be the main consideration for the punters to tip England to win at 4/6. The draw result is at the value of 13/5, whereas Zlatko Dalic’s men are projected to win at 9/2.