Croatia faces England on Wednesday at 11.45 PM Nepali Time with a berth to the 2018 World Cup final at stake. While the English dominated Sweden in their quarterfinal match, Croatia needed to win on penalty kicks in order to dispatch Russia. England is No. 12 in the FIFA World Rankings, while Croatia is No. 20, and both have been exceptional at Russia 2018. While Croatia has yet to drop a match in the 2018 World Cup, England's lone loss in group play was to Belgium, which takes on France in the other semifinal.
Sportsbooks list England at +135 on the money line, meaning a $100 bet to win would return $135. Croatia is going off at +230, while a draw in regulation returns +220 World Cup odds. On a two-way play (winner including extra time), England is -165 and Croatia is +135. The Over-Under for total goals scored in this 2018 World Cup match is 2.
According to CBS, before you enter your 2018 World Cup picks for Croatia vs. England, you need to see what European football expert David Sumpter has to say. Sumpter is an applied mathematician and author of "Soccermatics," a book that explains how math works inside the sport. Together with other experienced analysts, Sumpter developed the powerful Soccerbot model.
The Soccerbot reads current odds and all team performance data, calculates key metrics and predicts upcoming matches. In nearly three seasons since its inception, the Soccerbot is up an incredible 1,800 percent on bookmakers' closing odds.
The model is crushing the 2018 World Cup knockout stage. It correctly predicted draws in regulation for Spain-Russia (+280), Croatia-Denmark (+225) and England-Colombia (+215) and was all over France beating Uruguay in regulation to reach the semifinals, not to mention Brazil and Belgium cruising in the Round of 16. Earlier, the model nailed draws for Argentina-Iceland (+385) and Brazil-Switzerland (+360) and predicted Iran upsetting Morocco at +275, just to name a few of its big calls. Anyone who has followed it is way, way up.
Now, the Soccerbot has digested the film, crunched the numbers and broken down every single player on the Croatian and English rosters. The model has released a very strong money-line pick, which it's sharing over at SportsLine.
The model knows England finished second in Group G after a loss to Belgium. It allowed a stoppage-time tally to Colombia before winning on penalty kicks. It then conquered the Swedes in the quarterfinals, putting the match out of reach when Dele Alli scored in the 58th minute for a two-goal lead.
England hasn't conceded more than one goal in any game in Russia 2018. England's Harry Kane has six goals, the most by any Englishman at a World Cup since 1986, when star striker Gary Lineker tallied six in Mexico. England's lone World Cup title came back in 1966.
The model also knows that after a heart-pounding extra period that saw Croatia take a 2-1 lead only to have Russia tie it, the Croatian squad pulled out the quarterfinal victory on penalty kicks. Croatia dominated in group play, notching wins against Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland. It then survived penalty kicks against Denmark in the round of 16 before taking on Russia.
Led by superstar Luka Modric, the Croatian striker tallied goals in the first two contests, but has been held in check the last three games. The versatile squad has plenty of other scoring threats, including Ante Rebic, who netted the game-winning goal against Argentina, and Ivan Perisic, who tallied the game-winner versus Iceland in the 90th minute.
According to international media reports, England have made it to the World Cup semi-final for the first time since 1990. And now only Croatia stand in their way of making their first major tournament final since 1966 when they last won the World Cup.
Having travelled to Russia with little expectations, Gareth Southgate’s young side have far exceeded those and caught the imagination of the nation, with England full of World Cup fever.
A comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden on Saturday set up the encounter with Croatia - who last reached the World Cup semi-final at France 1998.
Only one injury concern for England. Jordan Henderson has a tight hamstring and is therefore a doubt for the game. Southgate will be hoping he is fit to play, given his importance to the team so far in the competition.
For Croatia, Sime Vrsaljko is out with a knee injury. There is likely to be some fatigue too, with both of their knockout games requiring extra-time and penalties.
England manager Gareth Southgate said, "We are a team who are still improving" Southgate said. "We know where we are. "We are having success because everybody is working so hard, everybody is working hard on the field.
"We are in this position because guys that are in the squad like (Gary) Cahill, (Phil) Jones, (Danny) Welbeck, (Nick) Pope, (Jack) Butland, (Danny) Rose, the older ones, have been exceptional in their mentality, their attitude to support the team, to train every day. "Even though they've not had as much game-time as they would have liked, they are as much of a reason why we are where we are.
"I think that collective has been key. All of the support staff, all of the players are really tight. We've built that and to get through the two games we've had this week needed all of that because we're not the finished article.
"We don't have renowned world-class players yet, but lots of good young players who are showing on a world stage that they're prepared to be brave with the ball, try to play the right way, have shown some mental resilience as well over the last few weeks.
"We know that in years to come, they are going to be stronger. But today was a huge opportunity for us and it was not something we wanted to miss out on."
In Croatia, England will be facing a side they know only too well. Luka Modric has only enhanced his already sky-high reputation as one of the world's best midfielders, while Ivans Rakitic and Perisic either side of him are both terrific foils for the Real Madrid maestro.
More than a classy midfield, however, England and Croatia carry history. It was that infamous November night at Wembley that etched Steve McClaren's umbrella into English footballing folklore. Scott Carson fumbled Niko Kranjcar's strike into his own net and England missed out on Euro 2008.
Compiled from International media