England V Croatia – World Cup Qualifier

8th September 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

England V Croatia

 

 

Kick-Off: Wednesday 9th September – 20:00 GMT

TV Coverage: ITV 1

 

  

Slavia Bilic and Croatia head over to England, once again, but this time it's England firmly in the driving seat, in terms of qualifying for the finals, and it will be down to the Croatian's to take it to the English before 'The Three Lions' book their rightful place in South Africa for next summers forthcoming World Cup. Will Croatia be the thorn in the Lion's or will England over roar Slavin Bilic's side?

  

Victory for England is all that's required as England look to complete their mission of qualifying for the World Cup with two games to spare. However, although a win over the Croatian's would be lovely, even a draw might be enough to secure qualification were Ukraine not to beat Belarus earlier in the day. However, even with that in mind, Fabio Capello will not settle for one point, he will be eager to get his hands on all three and stretch England's outstanding streak in qualification of winning every single qualifier thus far.

  

England smashed Croatia off the park when the pair clashed in Zagreb, with England cruising to a 4-1 victory, while Theo Walcott bagged a hat-trick on the night. However, England won't have that luxury of having a pacey Walcott down the right and may have to settle for Sean Wright-Philips, who got the nod over an ageing David Beckham at the weekend in England's 2-1 win over Slovenia in a friendly, also at Wembley. 

 

The talk hasn't really been about whether England will qualify but more about who Capello will select to start up front, alongside arguably our biggest talent in Wayne Rooney. Fabio has already stated in a recent interview that he knows already who will start up top, however, the wise old codger will keep his cards close to his chest as he aims to complete qualification with games to spare.

 

 

Croatia cannot contemplate defeat at Wembley, despite the likelihood of an England victory. Croatia are currently second, sounds rosy, however, Ukraine are just three points behind the Croatian's, with a game in hand. Defeat for Slavin Bilic could see his side battling it out in a two-way tussle with Ukraine for the chance to compete in a two-legged play-off. However, victory back at Wembley, just like a year ago, would see Croatia keep Ukraine at arms length, for now at least, and see them close the gap on England to just one point, albeit having played a game more.

  

Croatia have a host of key players missing for this game, with Tottenham duo; Luka Modric & Vedran Corluka both unavailable. Slavin Bilic will also be without Napoli midfielder Ivan Juric, so Bilic has a selection headache for all the wrong reasons ahead of such an important game.

 

  

It's hard to see anything other than an England victory here, what with Croatia fighting a losing battle with injuries and suspensions to key players. Capello, on the other hand, will have a full strength side to choose from, with the only tough decision left to make is whether Capello starts with Jermaine Defoe or Emile Heskey up front. We would go with Defoe, personally, as the lad is bang-on-form and has bags of pace, something the Croatian's simply couldn't deal with back in Zagreb last year, when England thrashed them 4-1.

  

England are firm favourites to comply and seal their South African fate earlier than many had anticipated. Fabio Capello's 'Three Lions' can be had at 8/13 with several firms, including; Bet365, totesport, StanJames and Ladbrokes. However, if you do fancy an away win, you crazy lot, then Croatia can be found at 11/2 with PaddyPower &Bet365. The draw looks very unattractive at 11/4 with totesport.

 

 

 

Match Odds:

 

England - 8/13 Bet365

 

Draw - 11/4 totesport

 

Croatia – 11/2 BetFred

 

Our Tip: England to WIN – 8/13 Bet365

 




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