England v Croatia: Euro 2020 betting preview and selections for Sunday's matches

England face the foe that prevented them from reaching the 2018 World Cup Final and there isn’t a better opportunity to do it than in the opening game of Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 8:26 pm
The England and Croatia flags are seen hung over the pitch at Wembley on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 Group D clash. Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images
The England and Croatia flags are seen hung over the pitch at Wembley on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 Group D clash. Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Croatia lack some of the key individuals that got them over the line that day such as Mario Mandzuckic and Ivan Rakitic but still possess experience, game management and cohesion that saw them top their qualifying group for the tournament.

England did manage to settle the score slightly in the UEFA Nations League by drawing against Croatia away and defeating them 2-1 in the return match the same year as the World Cup.

Nonetheless, this would be the perfect opportunity to kickstart a Euros that could have similar optimism and spirit as 1996 in which England came agonisingly close to reaching the final.

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England are slight favourites at 4/6 with Croatia at 9/2 prior to the opener of Group D.

Gareth Southgate will be heavily scrutinised in picking his first eleven as the two friendlies against Austria and Romania lacked flair or rhythm that the group of players at his disposal can produce.

With this being an opening contest against the two heavy favourites in the group, both teams to score and a draw at 9/2 is enticing given the cautious approach some countries favour when starting a tournament of this magnitude.

Southgate will have Manchester City and Chelsea players available again after missing those friendlies due to the Champions League final.

Mason Mount (7/2 to score anytime) and Phil Foden (11/5) could be included in the starting line-up.

Harry Kane is 21/20 to score in the same market as he aims to repeat his achievement of becoming the top goalscorer at an international tournament like in 2018.

Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic are both at 4/1 to find the net during the contest and will be Croatia’s most dangerous players.

Austria vs North Macedonia is the meat of the sandwich that day in terms of fixtures.

This tie falls before the Netherlands vs Ukraine which will be played at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam at 8pm.

North Macedonia are one of the minnows of this Euros having qualified unconventionally through the UEFA Nations League followed by a play-off win over Kosovo.

They are 5/1 to beat Austria in their first-ever tournament match.

The Austrians should be confident of making the last 16 at least and have Sasa Kalajdzic who has been linked with Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur of late. The Stuggart forward is 6/4 to score anytime.

The Netherlands vs Ukraine in Group C finishes off the day with the Dutch favourites at 3/5 with the Ukrainians (managed by Andriy Shevchenko) at 11/2.

This is their first tournament since the 2014 World Cup and the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong finally get to play on the international stage.

Manchester United flop Memphis Depay is 13/10 to score anytime but PSV Eindhoven star Donyell Malen has a good minutes per goal ratio in the Eredivisie so could be worth a punt at 8/5, even if he arrives from the bench.

Tips and analysis via bettingexpert.com