England - Croatia

From the bad squad with good players, Fabio Capello made excellent squad with the same players. Seven wins in group 6 from same number of games and goal difference 22 (26 goals scored and just four conceded!) raised national confidence and public already expects a fight for the trophy in South Africa. Capello solved the problem in attacking line with Defoe and Heskey (beside Rooney), but goalkeeper position remains as the biggest problem. Robinson, Green and Foster (including veteran David James) are not the names that can be equal with the other lines in the team. And after Saturday’s friendly against Slovenia, Capello was thundering on defense line that allowed average visitors to make some goal opportunities and finally to score five minutes before the end. Also, the fact Rio Ferdinand is injured won’t help. Midfield is fantastic, as always. Only dilemma for Don Fabio is who will take a place on the right flank, Lennon, Wright-Phillips or Beckham. In attack will be Rooney and one of the mentioned duo Defoe-Heskey. With three points here, England would be theoretically in WC, one point should also do the job, but home side will have additional motive. Steve McClaren's England lost a crucial qualifier to Croatia at a sodden Wembley in November 2007 - a result that cost the team a place at the Euro 2008 finals. Despite Capello’s trying to reduce the tension, press in both countries just add a fuel into the fire. So, players should be motivated, focused and probably very nervous.

Croatia hold a second spot in group 6, with three points more than Ukraine (visiting Belarus in clash earlier today), but also a game more. They’re in position where tonight’s win would guarantee play-off spot (and fight for the first place), but defeat would bring a nightmare. In recent campaign, they have five wins, two draws, while the only defeat suffered from England at their home, Maksimir 1-4. At Saturday, they played not so good game against Belarus (1-0 at home) where visitors probably deserved a point, but Croats were with their minds already at Wembley. It seems Croatian side is consciously raising the pressure for this encounter, probably counting on some errors on the pitch that can cause. Even national coach Slaven Bilic involved in the press war, pointing that under the leadership of the Italian coach the team lost to English nature! However, visitors will miss some key players. Midfield playmaker Luka Modric is injured, while right-back Corluka got a red card at Saturday’s game. Regular goalie Pletikosa is also out. Bilic doesn’t talk too much about tactic, but he’ll surely try to use English weakness in back line where his fast forwards like Olic, Eduardo, Srna or Pranjic can make some escapes and mess. However, visitors know how to play games like this and they’ll fight till the limits of fanaticism and if the things go wrong surely won’t give up.

Both sides will go for three points, hosts want revenge, visitors ticket for World Championship. Highest motivation in combination with the highest pressure usually produces goals on the pitch. And both sides carry an attacking style of play, so over seems as a logic conclusion. 2.10 at Betway, 1.98 at Pinnacle. High stake.

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