UEFA Nations League: England vs Croatia preview


Top spot in UEFA Nations League Group 4 is up for grabs and both England and Croatia have a chance to get it when the two teams clash at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday. The reverse fixture was played in October in Rijeka and it ended goalless, the second consecutive draw between these two sides if we consider the 1-1 in the World Cup semi-finals last summer. That time Croatia prevailed thanks to an extra time goal and had the honor of playing the World Cup final against France. Overall, both England and Croatia gathered two victories out of the last six direct matches.

England had a poor start to their UEFA Nations League campaign as they lost 2-1 at home against Spain, and things didn't look much better when they collected the goalless draw in Croatia. But everything got turned upside down just three days later, when Gareth Southgate's men won 3-2 against Spain in Seville thanks to a double from Raheem Sterling and a goal from Marcus Rashford. Earlier this week the Three Lions defeated the United States of America 3-0 in a friendly match, with goals from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson. Joseph Gomez and Luke Shaw are injury doubts ahead of Sunday's match.

Croatia had an even worst start in the UEFA Nations League as they got hammered 6-0 by Spain in Elche, the heaviest defeat in the history of the Croatian national team. They recovered just slightly with the goalless draw against England a month later and then recorded a 2-1 friendly victory over Jordan, not exactly the kind of results that would have given them hope for an upset in Spain. But they did pull it off, they defeated Spain 3-2 in Zagreb earlier this week thanks to a double from defender Tin Jedvaj and a goal from Andrej Kramaric. Croatia need to win Sunday's match if they want to climb at the top of the group table, England would finish first in case of a draw thanks to their superior goal difference.

Probable line-ups:

England: Pickford - Walker, Gomez, Stones, Shaw - Henderson, Dier, Alli - Lingard, Kane, Sterling

Croatia: Kalinic - Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Jedvaj - Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic - Kramaric, Rebic, Perisic

My prediction: 1-1 draw, Croatia will be quite tired after their exploit against Spain and England won't let this chance slip away.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

England win - 1.85
Draw - 3.90
Croatia win - 4.33

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