Why England are favourites to eliminate Croatia

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LUZHNIKI -The Three Lions of England have had a roller-coaster in the Fifa World Cup 2018. Often seem as complete underdogs, England have emerged to be the most revered dark horses in the modern day World Cup in Russia and are poised to pull one of the biggest jokes of all time, winning the Fifa World Cup. No one saw it coming.

Most bookies predicted that England would exit the tournament at Round Of 16 at best. But Gary Southgates men have defied the odds, played well and are now one of the favourites to win the trophy, should they overcome Croatia on Wednesday night.

England have lost just one match so far in the competition, 1-0 to Belgium that saw them have an easy run of knockout stage football having finished second in their group.

Gary Southgate boast f one of the youngest squads in the tournament captained by Harry Kane who is on the verge of winning the 2018 Fifa World Cup golden boot. But to each the final, the Three Lions must eliminate Croatia, yet another team, a dark horse that has cruised through to semi-finals in the most unprecedented circumstances.

Croatia have been so average on paper yet so good on the pitch, playing quite an attractive football, commandeered by the ever-green Real Madrid maestro in Luca Modric.

Real Madrid’s Luca Modric has been impressive for Croatia in the tournament. PHOTO| COURTESY

They were never meant to win it, were they? Croatia made the headlines after ripping off Messi’s Argentina and leaving them hopeless staring at an eventual exit. A 3-0 win that seemingly motivated the Croats and made them feel unbeatable.

First forward into the semi-finals, they meet England. Comparatively, Croatia have a stronger squad but bookies are refusing to buy that narrative, tipping England to carry the day.  And here is why England and not Croatia are actually favorites to win the Wednesday night clash.

Line of defense– While both teams have conceded four goals each so far in the World Cup, England’s young defense seem more disciplined and compact compared to Croatia’s. The three-man defense of Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and John Stones has been brilliant at best.

History/head to head– England have Croatia five times in competitive football, winning three of those fixtures. The latest being a 2010 World Cup qualifier where England won 5-1

The Harry Kane effect– England’s top scorer is also the World Cup’s 2018’s top scorer. Harry Kane is a natural goal poacher on the verge of winning the golden boot but first, he has a job to finish against Croatia. He has six goals to his name so far and will be a constant threat to Vida and Dejan Lovren. More than Mario Mandzukic would for Croatia.

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