England and Croatia will try to end generations of waiting next time they take the field.
The teams will face off at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday in Moscow, Russia, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinals. The game marks Croatia’s first appearance in the last four since 1998 and England’s first since 1990, with the winner set to go where few, if any, of their countrymen have gone before: the World Cup final. Oddsmakers have pegged England as the slight favorite, but the Three Lions must prove their mettle on the field.
Let’s look at the Croatia vs. England betting lines:
Current betting line (via OddsShark.com):
Croatia win: +250
England win: +130
Total goals: 2
NESN.com’s picks: England win, over
We’d side with Croatia in normal times, but too many factors are going against the Blazers in this pivotal contest. Croatia might have exhausted itself in its Round of 16 and quarterfinal wins that each lasted 120 minutes plus penalty kicks. Croatia’s coaching upheaval also doesn’t help, nor does goalkeeper Danijel Subasic’s seemingly balky hamstring or striker Mario Mandzukic’s failure to fire in Russia. England hasn’t lit up the World Cup in any sense, but the Three Lions seem to have a wave of fan-inspired momentum behind them as they try to reach their first final since 1966. We ranked England ahead of Croatia among the four semifinalists, so go ahead and bet on England.
Neither team has demonstrated a lock-down defense so far at World Cup 2018, and both have shown they can score against just about anyone. And then there’s Harry Kane, the World Cup’s top goal scorer with six. Will Croatia extend his goal-less drought in open play to a fourth game? Probably not. Bet on the over.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images