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Three things England must do if they’re to beat Croatia

Richard Marsh | 10 July 2018

Can the Three Lions reach the World Cup Final?

England will play in their first World Cup final for 28 years when they take on Croatia on Wednesday night. But can Gareth Southgate’s men win it?

A place in the World Cup final is certainly within the Three Lions’ capabilities. Croatia have impressed on occasion in Russia, but equally have underperformed a couple of times too.

It should be a finely poised encounter, with the Coral traders making England favourites at 8/13 to go through by any means, with Croatia 6/5

Ahead of the match, the Coral News Team have identified three areas which England must focus on if they’re take secure a spot in Sunday’s showpiece…

Win the midfield battle

With a midfield featuring Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia boast some of the best on-the-ball talents in the tournament. If they’re allowed to control the game, then England could be in trouble.

It has been suggested that Gareth Southgate may bring in Eric Dier for Jesse Lingard or Dele Alli to counter the Croatians’ potential midfield dominance.

Keep Croatia on the back foot

But equally, Southgate could choose to go on the front foot, as he did against Sweden.

England will have watched Croatia’s win over Russia, and noted how the host nation exploited vast areas of space when Modric and Rakitic were forced back.

Similarly, Russia’s pace down the flanks caused Croatia numerous problems, and that’s something England have excelled at throughout the World Cup. Expect more of the same from Raheem Sterling in particular.

Keep it in the air

England’s prized asset is their aerial prowess from set-pieces. It might not be the prettiest way to win a game, but it’s proving greatly effective.

Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic and Dejan Lovren top out at over 6ft for Zlatko Dalic’s side, but as a squad they don’t have the physical presence of Sweden, and England comfortably overpowered them last time out.

John Stones, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli and Harry Kane have all scored headers in Russia. It will be difficult for Croatia to win the fight in the air.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing