It was a professional performance from Gareth Southgate’s side as they come away from the Samara Arena comfortable winners. The market’s reaction to England’s two-nil victory over Sweden consequently displayed an initial price of around 3.65 in the ‘Outright’ market and since the initial opening price, Croatia have managed to see off hosts Russia in a dramatic penalty shoot-out and although Croatia have booked their place in the semi-final against England, the market’s faith within Southgate’s side has remained steady in the ‘Outright’ market.
It was a deserving win for England as they posted an xG total of 1.20 and although it wasn’t an all-time classic, it was a necessary step in limiting Sweden to only a handful of low-quality chances. The compact nature in-which Sweden go about their business has similar features to that of Uruguay and Belgium’s performance against Brazil but unlike Belgium, the Swedes simply do not possess the raw pace of Eden Hazard and co.
England have been efficient in the specific elements of the game in which they possess advantages in, this isn’t a team that will produce passages of play reminiscent of Spain in 2010. Yet they have been effective in the so-called ugly part of the beautiful game, with eight of the eleven goals coming from set pieces.
Taking into consideration the reliance in which England place on their ability to convert set-pieces, the supply of high-quality deliveries is critical to their success. Kieran Trippier has been exceptional, especially in dead-ball scenarios producing an xA (expected assist) count of 1.67. Which is almost double the xA total of Ashley Young (0.73) who shares the responsibility of dead-ball duty, with the Spurs right wing-back.
The market seemingly sourced the ‘Over/Under’ line to perfection, in England’s game against Sweden as the closing line was set at +2.0/-2.0 with the majority of the market share situated on the ‘Over 2.0’ goals line.
It’s an element that the market has recycled and redistributed upon the current market, with the ‘Over 2.0’ goals line possessing an implied probability of 51.81%.
Croatia have come through two grueling tests against Denmark and Russia, which has seen Zlatko Dalić’s side rack up 240-minutes of football and two energy zapping penalty shoot-outs in the space of six days.
Taking into consideration the potential of this semi-final heading into extra-time, the physical and mental exertions from their encounters against Denmark and Russia must become a significant factor in this game.
The market appears happy with it’s current position in the ‘Outright’ department, allowing Croatia to remain the outsider of the four remaining teams with an implied probability of 19.23%.
Their draw with Russia after ninety-minutes seemed to be a fair result, as the xG count for both sides could barely be separated with Croatia just slightly edging the hosts 1.47 to 1.21. Prior to their quarterfinal encounter with Russia, the Croatians offensively had been overachieving registering eight goals from an xG count of just 6.06.
Luka Modríc is the key to this Croatian team and remains of paramount importance in their offensive outputs. Yet the battle between Ivan Rakitić, Luka Modrić and the English midfield pairing will likely dictate which team will be staying in Moscow to compete in the World Cup final.
Croatia struggled to contain Russia from set-pieces on numerous occasions yet the hosts were unable to convert those chances, until Mário Fernandes eventually broke through equalising with only four minutes remaining in extra-time after Alan Dzagoev delivered a sumptuous ball into the box.
It was chaos within the Croatian eighteen-yard box, as their disorganized defensive line scrambled. It’s a scenario England will certainly be aiming to exploit, as the finest of margins begin to dictate who will continue on their journey to the most significant game on the planet.
Although I’m not expecting fireworks, I think England may just possess enough quality in specific areas to see off this talented Croatian side. It wouldn’t be the most outrageous of events if we did observe extra-time and penalties, with the stakes being so high it may come down to who has more front.
Yet the initial opening price on England has went on a bit of a walk in the past twenty-four hours, as Southgate’s side drift into a more sensible priced area of 2.36.
In addition, there has been small amounts of money dotting around on the ‘Over 2.0’ goals line with the majority of the market share currently situated there (52.08%). Yet with the data on hand, I feel happy enough to oppose the early signs of money and side with the ‘Under 2.0’ goals line.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.00 goals at 2.000
Preview by: @gscurftrader.