George Pitts fancies England to win their crunch UEFA Nations League match with Croatia on Sunday, with thanks to a nerve-settling first-half performance at Wembley.
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England v Croatia (Sky Sports Main Event, 1400 GMT kick-off, Wembley Stadium)
England have reasons to be cheerful right now, and they can fancy their chances for the UEFA Nations League crunch match with Croatia on Sunday.
It will be the second time these two nations have met since facing off in the World Cup semi-final in July and while that ended in a heartbreaking defeat for England, they've continued to progress while Croatia had been stalling prior to beating Spain on Thursday.
Gareth Southgate has handed debuts to several players, including Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell.
Sunday's League A Group 4 Permutations
- If England win: England win the group, Croatia relegated
- If Croatia win: Croatia win the group, England relegated
- Goalless draw: Spain win the group, Croatia relegated
- Score draw: Spain win the group, England relegated
His side are unbeaten in their last four matches and have scored six goals in their last two games. Five of those have come in the first half and an 8/5 price for England to be winning at half-time on Sunday looks value above even-money that they go on to win the game.
They hit two in as many minutes in Thursday's friendly win over the USA, while their previous Nations League win came over Spain when Raheem Sterling's brace and Marcus Rashford's strike came in the opening 45 minutes from a young England side seemingly unfazed by their opposition.
Croatia will go into the match on a high after dramatically beating Spain in the last minute on Thursday, setting up this all-important decider in London. They will be hoping that victory can prove to be a turning point as it ends a poor run since their defeat to France in the World Cup final.
They beat Jordan in a friendly last month, but before that they had been on a winless run of seven games in all competition - a streak which stretches back to the World Cup knockout stages having drawn three matches in 90 minutes in Russia.
In the scoring markets, Harry Kane is due a goal but Marcus Rashford at 3/1 in a score-and-win double looks a more appealing price considering his form in a Three Lions shirt.
The Manchester United winger is a favourite under Southgate and has three goals in his last five international appearances. Jesse Lingard is also one to note, with the attacker averaging nearly three shots per game for England this term. He is 10/3 anytime but bets are on hold until Southgate's line-up is confirmed.
Instead, with England capable of dominating this game, it should pay to rely on their proven ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck.
Prediction: England 3-1 Croatia (Sky Bet odds: 14/1)
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- This will be the 10th meeting between these two nations, with England winning four of those clashes to Croatia’s three (D2).
- England have lost just one of their four previous home matches against Croatia (W2 D1 L1), losing 2-3 in November 2007 in a Euro 2008 qualifier which saw England fail to make the tournament.
- Croatia are unbeaten in two matches against England, winning 2-1 in the World Cup 2018 semi-final and drawing 0-0 in October in the UEFA Nations League – they’ve never gone three in a row without defeat against the Three Lions.
- Since losing three consecutive games, England are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning three and drawing one.
- Croatia have lost just two of their last 13 matches in all competitions (W7 D4 L2), losing 2-4 in the World Cup final vs France and 0-6 vs Spain in the UEFA Nations League in September.
- England have lost just two of their last 27 matches on home soil (W21 D4 L2), with both defeats arriving at Wembley (1-2 vs Spain in September and 1-2 vs Netherlands in March 2016).
- Last time out, Callum Wilson became the first player to score on his debut for England since Marcus Rashford in May 2016. The last England player to score in his first two appearances for the Three Lions was Rickie Lambert in 2013.
- Harry Kane has failed to score in each of his last seven England appearances, his longest goalless drought. However, Kane provided two assists in his last game versus Spain, as many as registered in his previous 33.
Odds correct as of 1355 GMT on 16/11/18