England have only lost once in five attempts against Croatia (W3, D1) and meeting them on home soil in their tournament opener should give them that extra motivation.
European Championship 2020
England might have gone down to Croatia in the semis of the 2018 World Cup, but you reckon a lot of things have changed. Having already taken four points off their opposition during the UEFA Nations League, the Three Lions undoubtedly hold the initiative going into this one.
With Gareth Southgate’s side who are currently on a six-game winning run having the luxury of starting their tournament in front of their home fans, that should hand them the advantage.
Croatia of course, will be no pushovers. The Croats have never lost their opening match at a Euros tourney, winning four of such games and drawing once. They seem to be struggling for form lately though, losing five times and drawing twice in their last nine games.
Since beating Spain 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League back in November 2018, Croatia have yet to beat a top ten side currently in FIFA’s ranking, and their last two wins were accrued against Cyprus and Malta.
That said, can Zlatko Dalic’s side reprise the performances which saw them finish runner-ups to France at Russia 2018?
It is unlikely Harry Maguire will make this opener despite returning to training on Friday. Alongside Bukayo Saka, Southgate still have enough pool of players to choose from for this game.
Dalic have a full strength squad at his disposal for Sunday’s game, with the likes of Luka Modric, Ante Rebic, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic all in his plan.
England last five games: WWWWW
Croatia last five games: LWWDL
England are unbeaten in 32 of their last 34 Euro Championship games
Perisic have scored the opener in two of Croatia’s last three games.
This is unarguably the toughest fixture of Group D. Both sides are expected to make it out of it, but who takes the points in the first game?
England have the quality all round to trouble any failings but Croatia also have enough in there to make it difficult for their opposition. England might have won and drawn against them since that semi-final in 2018, but we do not expect them to roll over them easily here. It could be anybody’s game but we look to the goal markets to guide punters get the best value for their bets from here.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane netted a dozen of the 37 goals England accrued during the qualification phase of this competition. Throw in that he’s also scored 13 career goals at this ground, and he’s the man to back for the goals here. We’re snapping him up to open the floodgates at odds of 11/4.
You can view all other betting markets for this game here
Odds subject to change – 18+|BeGambleAware.org – Please gamble responsibly