Football games don’t get much bigger than this – England versus Croatia in the semifinal of the World Cup. The winner plays France in the final.
This is only the third time England have reached this stage at the World Cup – they were winners in 1966, but 1990 ended in penalties-induced tears.
Still, we at Lap of the Odds think they can do it, after all it is coming home! And the key edge we feel they have is one we have been backing all tournament – set pieces.
Every side England have faced (except perhaps the Belgian B team) have been worried about their prowess in this facet of the game. And we don’t think Croatia will be different, after all they conceded a set piece goal against Russia at the end of extra time to take that quarterfinal to penalties.
England have scored 11 goals in this tournament, eight of which have come from set plays. The two big central defenders, John Stones and Harry Maguire, have scored three between them. Stones is 16/1 to score at any time while Maguire has shortened to 11/1 after his winner last round. But Paddy Power offers a boosted 18/1 that he scores with a header.
Once more unto the breach, Harry, once more…
Stones to score anytime, 1 pt, at 16/1, bet365
Maguire to score with his head, 1 pt, at 18/1, Paddy Power
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