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Ivan Zezelj’s England v Croatia preview: Croatia could have trouble from set-pieces

| 09.06.2021
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Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Croatia throughout Euro 2020

In pre-tournament friendlies, Croatia drew 1-1 with Armenia and lost 1-0 to Belgium. The two games yielded no significant answers, but rather raised new questions about Croatia’s game.

Coach Zlatko Dalic stated that results matter in friendlies, so those games can be labelled as failures. However, I believe that set-pieces will be the most difficult challenge against England. Croatia conceded 14 goals from set pieces after the World Cup, accounting for a concerning 31% of total goals conceded. I don’t even have to mention how good Southgate’s team is at set-pieces.

Croatia, however, should not be underestimated. Dalic is expected to use a 4-3-3 formation with Modric, Brozovic, and Kovacic in the middle of the park, where Southgate still has some doubts. After losing in the semi-finals in Moscow, the Three Lions will be out for vengeance, and this is Croatia’s best chance. They’ll try to hit England on the break, as they did in their best games in Russia. A victory over Argentina is the best example.

If Croatia survive the first few England attacks, aided by the roars of the Wembley crowd, this game could turn into a nail-biter. After all, Croatia is known for performing best under pressure and as the underdog in tournaments.

Check out the latest Euro 2020 odds.

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Author

Ivan Zezelj

Ivan Zezelj is a Croatian journalist who works for one the country's leading news portal.

He has been a huge football fan for as long as he can remember. For years, he worked as a sports journalist in a variety of environments and positions.

Among other things, he worked for Twelve during the 2018 World Cup in Croatia, where his role included writing post-analysis of Croatian national football team matches using Twelve's data algorithm.

Ivan enjoys football analytics in particular. He is also a die-hard Manchester United fan.