Why Be Scared of Croatia?

The wait is over and Euro 2020 (or whatever you decide to call it) has started. We’ve already seen that Italy are going to be a major threat in these championships. Sunday sees England begin their campaign against Croatia. Let’s look ahead to the game and some of the many betting opportunities available for this match.

England are the strong favourites to win Group D and so they should be. It’s not the strongest one in the world (well, Europe) with Croatia, the Czech Republic and Scotland to face. You can get odds of 2/5 at Betfred. If you want to bet on England winning this group, do so now. Those odds will shorten dramatically if England beat Croatia on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate comes into this match with an English side that is strong but still not totally looking like title winners. The fact that all three group games are being played at Wembley is good news, not that it stopped them losing to Denmark last year.

There are few injuries problems, though Harry Maguire is likely to miss this game. England lost to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final. Forget about any talk of revenge this Sunday. England have already done so with a 2-1 win against Croatia at Wembley in the Nations League in 2018. They also went to Croatia in that competition and came home with a goalless draw. England are 8/13 at BetVictor to beat Croatia on Sunday and that looks a very good price to take.

Croatia have not exactly built on that run to the 2018 World Cup final. They finished bottom of that 2018/19 Nations League group and should have been relegated from League A. Rules changes kept t them in the top flight but in the 2019/20 Nations League, they finished third in their group. One match was won and five lost, why be scared of Croatia?

They come into this match having won two of their last nine matches. The only wins were at home against mighty Cyprus and Malta. Their two warm-up matches saw them draw 1-1 at home to Armenia and lose 1-0 away in Belgium. So scary.

Their away form isn’t anything to boast about either. The have lost their last three on the road and have two wins in their last 14. The odds on them beating England in this Euro 2020 opening group game are 5/1 at Betfair.

England should be able to win this game without too many worries. Harry Kane is 3/1 at William Hill to be the first goalscorer and 23/20 with the same bookies to score in the match. Both are decent odds, especially the latter as Kane is England’s penalty taker. Rashford at 14/5 to score in this game also looks a good bet to place at Boylesports.