First Goal Wins
Despite the obvious quality of both sides when it comes to attacking, neither side has really lit up the knockout stages so far. That’s at least partly why I think this will be quite an attritional match and the first goal will take it, if it doesn’t go to extra time.
Football’s Coming Home is can be heard across the the land and with good reason. It’s nearly 30 years since England made it to a semi final, so maybe now is the exact right time to start believing.
Straight ahead is the boys' toughest match so far and despite Harry Kane going for the Golden Boot, the English team on the whole has found it tough to score goals up to now. Even though they go into the game as favourites there are question marks, and indeed worries, over they lack of chances on goal.
It will be a tight affair
Up front it looks like it’s up to Harry Kane to do the job, so long as strike partner Raheem Sterling’s finishing isn’t up to scratch.
They look a lot more convincing defensively, and so long as they stay rock steady at the back they don’t look like conceding too many chances. If they can score a goal, I don’t think Croatia have much chance of getting behind them.
Even though Croatia have one of the tournament’s best teams, especially in the centre of the park, they too have had problems creating chances in the last two knockout games. Kramaric and Mandzukic have barely had a sniff because they’ve simply not been threaded through.
The Croats have had problems with opponents Denmark and Russia, and both matches have ended in draws which have gone on to extra time and penalties. But like their current opponents, Croatia have also demonstrated defensive resolve. Subasic in net, and Vida as well have both held fast.
Considering their defensive qualities displayed so far, and their inability to create the chances they need to score goals, I think it will be a tight affair. I think the first goal will win this one, and there’s even a chance Croatia could be going into extra time for the third game in a row.