Czech Republic v Croatia
Saturday June 18, 2:00am
Czech Republic came close to picking up a point against Spain in their opening game but were denied by an 87th minute Gerard Pique header. Croatia, meanwhile, were arguably one of the most impressive performers of the tournament in their opening game as they beat Turkey 1-0, but in truth it could have been a few more as they dominated the game.
Czech Republic have now only managed two wins in their last seven matches and one of those was a 6-0 friendly victory over Malta. Their record against sides ranked between 10th and 30th in the world is W1-D4-L6, with three of those defeats coming in their last four matches against these teams and they’ve only managed one goal in the last five.
Croatia, conversely, have now won seven of eight unbeaten matches whilst conceding just two goals. Their record against sides ranked between 10th and 30th is W5-D6-L4 since 2009 and they’re very much a side on an upward curve with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic all close to their peaks.
Indeed, Modric and Rakitic should dominate a midfield battle with 35 year old Rosicky and 34 year old Plasil, as Pavelka, who is more renowned for his attacking, is likely to be forced into a more defensive role for the Czechs.
Croatia are certainly the form pick in this one and they’re a side that we fancy to have a big tournament. As a result, 1.95 looks a fair price about Ante Cacic’s side against an ageing Czech Republic whose standout player is their keeper, Petr Cech.
Given how strong Croatia have been defensively in recent times the win to nil also makes appeal at 3.0 and the fact that the Croatians have an additional day to recover for this one after their win over Turkey could also prove beneficial.
BACK – Croatia to Win at 1.95