Croatia vs England predictions and match preview

Croatia vs England predictions and match preview

The Uefa Nations League is back for the second round of fixtures this season, pitting Croatia and England against each other.

Dejan Lovren might have dismissed the credentials of European football’s newest international competition, and the game itself might be taking place behind closed doors, but these two teams are slowly developing the kind of history that makes for fierce-ish rivalry. Croatia have, as of this summer, inflicted two of the England national team’s most painful moments in recent times; the Blazers denied the Three Lions qualification for Euro 2008 as well as a place in the 2018 World Cup final, the latter of which was followed by Luka Modric’s accusations of ‘disrespect’ from the English media.

In terms of current form, though, both sides lost their opening matches against Spain, though the Three Lions fared slightly better losing 2-1 compared to Croatia’s 6-0 thumping.

Read on for Croatia v England live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.

When is Croatia vs England?

Competition: Uefa Nations League

Venue: Stadion HNK Rijeka

Date: Friday, 12 October

Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST

Match preview

Both Croatia and England overachieved at the World Cup in the summer, finishing second and fourth respectively, having met in the semi-finals. As a result, the pair are currently fourth and sixth in the FIFA world rankings, the highest both have been in recent times.

However, following their runs to the final four of the World Cup, both England and Croatia have had slightly more subdued starts to the 2018/19 international season.

Since beating England in the World Cup semi-finals, Croatia are without a win in three matches, losing to France in the final, as well as Spain in the Uefa Nations League while drawing with Portugal in between.

England followed the defeat to Croatia with two more losses against Belgium in the World Cup’s third-place play-off and Spain in the Nations League, only returning to winning ways against Switzerland in an international friendly.

The Nations League defeats to Spain already means it is vital both sides win the game, should they wish to avoid relegation from League A to League B when the first group stage ends in November. Should there be a loser, they would need to win the return fixture by a bigger margin and hope to better their opponent’s result against Spain to stay up.

Where can I watch live?

England’s journey to Croatia can be viewed by UK residents on Sky Sports Main Event, which is channel 401 on Sky and channel 501 for Virgin Media users.

The game is also available to watch on fuboTV.

Why is the game being played behind closed doors?

There will be no supporters, Croatian or English, attending the match on Friday due to a ban placed on Croatia after a swastika was marked onto the pitch before a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in June 2015. As a result, Croatia were ordered to play their next two Uefa-sanctioned home matches in an empty stadium, the first being against Bulgaria in October 2015 and England on Friday completing the ban.

Will Jadon Sancho start for England?

With Gareth Southgate handing three exciting young players their first senior England call-ups, many fans will be keeping a close eye on their involvements over the international break. One of those is Jadon Sancho, who has recorded more assists across all competitions than any other player from Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.

But given Southgate’s narrow formation and faith in his favoured XI, the teenager is unlikely to start against Croatia and will have to make an impact from the bench – which has actually been his strength for Borussia Dortmund this season.

Will defeat mean relegation from Nations League A4?

While a loss for either Croatia or England would not immediately see either side relegated to League B, it will go some way into sealing their fate. With both sides having lost to Spain, a defeat would see the loser six points behind Spain with just two games left and three points behind the victor. As a result, the loser would need to win both of their remaining matches if they are to harbour any hopes of staying up.


Having reached the World Cup final in Russia, Croatia have played 13 games in 2018, winning six including one over England, losing four and drawing three – though two of those would ultimately end in penalty shootout victories.

Meanwhile, England have also played 13 games this year, winning seven, losing four and drawing two – with one penalty shootout win.

The game between Croatia and England on Friday will be the ninth time the two sides have faced, though the second in just three months. Croatia’s extra-time win took their tally to three victories over England, with the Three Lions winning four and one game finishing as a draw.

Croatia wins: 3 Draws: 1 England wins: 4

Team news

Despite losing Mario Mandzukic to retirement, Croatia still boast an impressive squad with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic both likely to start in the must-win game against England. Also in contention for a midfield berth, however, is Mateo Kovacic who has refound form on loan at Chelsea.

However, Croatia will be without Sime Vrsaljko, Marcelo Brozovic, Borna Barisic, Lovre Kalinic and Duje Cop who have all withdrawn through injury.

England go into the game against Croatia with most of their first-choice players available as well as some younger stars ready to prove their worth in Jadon Sancho, James Maddison and Mason Mount as well as newly called-up Lewis Dunk. However, the Three Lions are without Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, James Tarkowski and Luke Shaw with the quartet missing out on England duty due to injuries. Also out of Friday’s match are Danny Rose and Alex McCarthy with minor injuries forcing the pair to withdraw. As the only remaining left back, Leicester’s Ben Chilwell looks set to make his senior debut with the Three

Predicted Croatia XI: Livakovic; Bartolec, Vida, Lovren, Pivaric; Rakitic, Badelj; Perisic, Modric, Pjaca; Santini.

Predicted England XI:  Pickford; Maguire, Stones, Walker; Dier; Chilwell, Barkley, Henderson, Trippier; Sterling, Kane.

Predictions & Betting Tips

Register with William Hill HERE & bet £10, get £30 in free bets. Terms & Conditions apply. 18+ only. BeGambleAware.

1. Both teams to score @ Evens

When Croatia face England, goals are pretty much guaranteed.

In eight previous matches between these two sides, 31 goals have been scored with both sides scoring in all but two matches.

The last time a team kept a clean sheet in these this fixture came in October 2006, when Croatia beat England 2-0.

Key Stat: Croatia have scored in each of their last 20 home games.

Tip: Both teams to score @ Evens with William Hill – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (10/10/2018, 18:00)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply.

2. Harry Kane to score first @ 7/2

Despite his poor recent form for England, Harry Kane seems to have found his shooting boots once more scoring four goals in his past four games for Spurs.

With a win vital for England, Kane will need to be counted on to get the Three Lions forward, finding the form which saw him score six goals in his first three games at the World Cup this summer.

Key Stat: Harry Kane has scored 19 goals in 32 games for England.

Tip: Harry Kane to score first @ 7/2 with William Hill – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (10/10/2018, 18:00)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply.

3. England to win @ 50/1

Despite losing to Croatia last time out, England are slight favourites for the match given their better showing against Spain – though ultimately coming out with the same result as Croatia.

The Three Lions then followed on with a hard-fought win over Switzerland, albeit in a friendly, with Croatia still without a victory since the semi-final meeting in Russia.

But, with Betfair, you can get ridiculous odds on England to win their fifth game against Croatia and moving closer to Spain at the top of Nations League A4.

Key Stat: England have won seven of their 13 games this calendar year.

Tip: England to win @ 50/1 with Betfair – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (10/10/2018, 18:00)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply.