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UEFA Nations League betting preview: Croatia v England and more Friday tips

England travel to Croatia in the Nations League
England travel to Croatia in the Nations League

They ended England's World Cup hopes in July and Gareth Southgate's side will be hoping for redemption when facing Croatia in the UEFA Nations League on Friday.

Recommended bets

3pts England (draw no bet) to beat Croatia at 21/20

3pts Eden Hazard to score anytime for Belgium v Switzerland at 13/10

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


July's World Cup semi-final defeat feels so long ago now, when England were beaten by Croatia in extra-time despite taking the lead after just five minutes.

Croatia went on to lose the final to France and they have not won since the night Mario Mandzukic's strike sent the Three Lions home, having drawn with Portugal and received a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain in their UEFA Nations League opener.

Having needed extra-time to beat Denmark, Russia and England at the World Cup, the Vatreni are effectively without a 90-minute victory since a last-gasp Ivan Perisic strike saw them beat Iceland in Russia and while the streak won't last forever - they face Jordan on Monday - England can confirm Croatia's crash back down to earth here.

Explained: Why England will play UEFA Nations League clash in Croatia in front of empty stadium

Spain scored six past Croatia in their UEFA Nations League clash
Spain scored six past Croatia in their UEFA Nations League clash

With Zlatko Dalic's side struggling to pick up where they left off this summer and Luka Modric yet to find his form this season with Real Madrid, England are fancied to get revenge for their July heartbreak even if none of their fans will be present to witness.

The Three Lions can take encouragement from a positive tournament and Gareth Southgate has freshened up his squad by handing first call-ups to various new faces while bringing Ross Barkley back into the fold.

Southgate saw his side's three-match winless run ended in the last international break, beating Switzerland 1-0 at Wembley, and the England boss - who recently signed a new contract - will be keen to get points on the board in the UEFA Nations League after sloppily losing to Spain in their opener.

The competitive nature of the league means he could be more inclined to field a strong XI, despite the new faces. Danny Rose's withdrawal means Ben Chilwell is the only left-back, while Barkley could be the other new face in midfield, but otherwise it may be much of the same from a side whose stability is a positive.

Marcus Rashford started both games in the last international break, scoring a goal in each outing, and the pacy forward can trouble a fragile Croatia defence which shipped six goals last time out - 17/5 for him to score for the third England game in succession is the pick of the goalscorer prices.

Whoever lines up for the visitors, spirits are high in the England camp and Croatia appear to be on a post-World Cup downer, which makes them vulnerable with home advantage negated by the absence of supporters. Back England to capitalise.

Scroll down for more international football previews...

Explained: Why England will play UEFA Nations League clash in Croatia in front of empty stadium


Prediction: Croatia 0-2 England (Price Boosted to 14/1 with Sky Bet)

Best bet: England to beat Croatia - draw no bet at 21/20

RequestABet: England to win, Rashford to score anytime and 10+ match corners at 11/1


Croatia v England Opta match facts and statistics

Ross Barkley: The 24-year-old is back in the frame with England
Ross Barkley: The 24-year-old is back in the frame with England
  • Croatia and England have met on eight previous occasions, with England winning half of those matches (D1 L3).
  • Croatia won their last meeting with England, in this year’s World Cup semi-final (2-1). They last won consecutively against the Three Lions in November 2007.
  • Since their 2-1 victory against England at the World Cup, Croatia have failed to win any of their last three games (D1 L2).
  • England have won their last three away games in all competitions; they last won four in a row back in September 2011.
  • England have kept a clean sheet in each of their previous three away games – they last recorded four consecutive away shutouts during a seven-game run ending in October 1997.
  • Ivan Perisic has been directly involved in more goals for Croatia in 2018 than any other player (five goals, one assist).
  • England captain Harry Kane has failed to find the back of the net in each of his last five games; he’s only gone six without a goal on one previous occasion for England (June 2016 to September 2016).
  • Marcus Rashford has scored in consecutive England appearances for the first time. He’s netted as many goals in his last two games for England as he did in his previous 24 (two goals).

Best of the rest...

Stuart Dallas scores for Northern Ireland against Israel
Stuart Dallas scores for Northern Ireland against Israel

Northern Ireland will be looking to bounce back from their Nations League-opening defeat at home to Bosnia. They won a friendly against Israel three days later and now face a tough trip to Austria.

The hosts, with West Ham danger man Marko Arnautovic (13/10 anytime) in their ranks, have kept a clean sheet in four of their last seven matches, so a home win to nil looks solid at 23/20.

Austria, who beat Germany before the World Cup in June, are well fancied to beat Michael O'Neill's side, who have won just two of their last nine outings and could struggle again here.

Romelu Lukaku puts Belgium in front
Romelu Lukaku scores for Belgium v Iceland

As mentioned, Switzerland lost their last game 1-0 to England and they face the daunting prospect of a clash with Belgium on Friday evening.

Still, Vladimir Petkovic's Swiss side impressively beat Iceland 6-0 in their first game of the Nations League and should be no pushovers against an admittedly talented Red Devils squad.

To get a result, they may well have to keep Eden Hazard quiet but that's far easier said than done and the Chelsea forward looks good value at anything bigger than evens to score, with the best available 13/10 well worth taking.

Hazard has started the season with 10 goals in 12 appearances for club and country and has also found the back of the net in his last two games for the national team. He should be odds-on here.

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Posted at 1435 BST on 11/10/18

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Most Read Football

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