England vs. Croatia Euros Build-Up Action, Insights and Key Players

08 June 2021

Sunday 13 June

Wembley Stadium – Euro 2020

Jack Grealish in action in England's friendly win over Austria

Source: (Scott Heppell/AP/Shutterstock)

England vs. Croatia Euro 2020 Build-Up

England begin another quest to bring football home at their own national stadium on Sunday, as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions take on Croatia at Wembley. These two countries have history and are set to duke it out in the mobile online betting for top spot in Group D.

Past Euros

England’s best performance at the Euros was when they last hosted the tournament in 1996. Now-manager Southgate missed the decisive spot-kick in a penalty shootout defeat to Germany in the semi-finals, with the Three Lions only managing to reach the quarter-finals since, in 2004 and 2012. Roy Hodgson led England into the last Euros in France, where they were dumped out by Iceland in the round of 16.

Croatia have competed at the Euros five times since declaring independence in 1991. They’ve never bettered their debut showing, when they reached the quarter-finals at Euro 96. The Kockasti have reached the last eight once since, in 2008, while they too were knocked out of the last European Championship in the round of 16, going down 1-0 to eventual champions Portugal after extra-time.

Key Players and Insights

England were dealt an early blow to their preparations when Trent Alexander-Arnold limped off in the dying stages of their 1-0 friendly victory over Austria on Wednesday. Luckily, Southgate has three other specialist right-backs in his squad, with Jesse Lingard and James Ward-Prowse the two likeliest candidates to replace the Liverpool man. Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood misses out through injury, but influential duo Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson have been included.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has lost a couple of key players since beating England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić have both retired from international football, but 25-year-old stalwart Luka Modrić continues to make himself available for his country. The Real Madrid midfielder captains the Vatreni, who have plenty of experience in the form of Ivan Perišić, Mateo Kovačić, Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren.

England vs. Croatia Build-Up Action

Croatia may have reached the final of the last World Cup three summers ago, but the Kockasti are not considered among the favourites to win Euro 2020. England, on the other hand, are second-favourites behind world champions France, as they bid to lift their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

Both England and Croatia qualified comfortably for the Euros as group winners, although the Vatreni have struggled somewhat since losing the World Cup final to France. Croatia have only won 12 of their 28 matches since that 4-2 defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium, and they are out at 34.00 to win this summer’s European Championship.

England are 6.00 to lift the trophy at Wembley on 11 July, as they seek to build on the positive mood created by their showing at the last World Cup. The Three Lions’ run to the semis in Russia saw a wave of optimism sweep the country, and if Southgate and his players can create a similar sense of national pride this summer, their home advantage could become a major factor.

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Despite their lofty status, the Three Lions face a tricky path in the knockouts if they win Group D. The runner-up in Group F awaits, which is surely going to be one of either France, Germany or Portugal.