Croatia World Cup 2018 Predictions – Group Stage & Winner Odds31st March 2018 / lee
Croatia made a huge name for themselves in their World Cup debut at France 1998. They haven’t touched on that degree of success since then though, but they are a talented side and will make for very difficult opponents in Russia 2018. Their big challenge will be taking on Argentina in the group stage.
Croatia Nickname: The Blazers
Head Coach: Zlatko Dalić
FIFA World Ranking: 15
Croatia were in Group I of World Cup qualification in UEFA and it was a tricky group as well because there were challenges from Iceland, Ukraine and Turkey all to deal with. Those were difficult opponents to face up to, especially away from home and Croatia suffered 1-0 away defeats in Turkey and in Iceland along the way. But they were efficient enough to pick up points at home, remaining unbeaten there, but still, they could only finish as runners-up in their group.
That is because of Iceland. After their Euro 2016 antics, Iceland once again defied odds and went out and won Group I to make it through to their first ever World Cup tournament. Croatia actually had a tough job in their final qualification match because they had to hit the road and go and face the Ukraine. Going into the match, both the Ukraine and Croatia were level on points in the race for second place, so it was a high pressure away game for the Croatians.
However, they held their nerve well, showed their control and class and came away with a victory that sent them through to the play off round. There they got themselves a highly favourable draw as they were paired up with Greece. Croatia tuned on a powerful display at home in the first leg, pretty much winning the tie there and then with a 4-1 victory. Mario Mandžukić was their top scorer in qualification with five goals.
Stage of Elimination
Croatia are second favourites at 9/4 odds with bet365* (betting odds taken on March 29th, 2018 at 2:38 a.m.) to win their World Cup group. That is because they are going up against Argentina there. Croatia kick off their campaign against Nigeria a match they will be favourites to collect a victory in that and that will be so important for their chances of progress as well because it is in their second fixture that they have to face up against Argentina.
Croatia are 7/2 underdogs* (betting odds taken on March 29th, 2018 at 2:38 a.m.) with bet365 to get the win in that match, but if they have already collected three points against Nigeria and Argentina have done the same against Iceland then a draw in that one wouldn’t a huge shock as both would probably happily settle for that. It would leave both really in the driving seat to progress through to the next round.
So Croatia are likely to get out of the group, winning it could be important as it could mean avoiding one of the favourites, France in the round of sixteen. Croatia round off their group stage campaign with a rematch against Iceland, the side the nation that beat them to the top spot in World Cup qualification. So with a shot at progressing from the group stage a real possibility, how far can they go? If they can avoid France in the knockouts, then a quarter-final place is by no means out of the question.
Actually, because all of the pressure would be on France to win that potential fixture, Croatia would be a pretty solid dark horse bet to take them down. Croatia have a wonderful midfield, stacked with world-class talent like Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozovic. That is a tough and creative midfield that they can produce. Then they have the scoring threat of Mario Mandzukic, Andrej Kramarić and Nikola Kalinić to look to for the gaols to carry them forward. A Croatia last sixteen stage of elimination wager is at 13/8 odds* (betting odds taken on March 29th, 2018 at 2:38 a.m.) and somewhat appealing.
Croatia World Cup 2018 Fixtures & Odds*
June 16th: Croatia 17/20, Draw 12/5, Nigeria 10/3
June 21st: Argentinian 4/5, Draw 5/2, Croatia 7/2
June 26th: Croatia 5/6, Draw 5/2, Iceland 10/3
World Cup Winner Odds*
Brazil 4/1, Germany 9/2, France 13/2, Spain 6/1, Argentina 10/1, Belgium 11/1, England 18/1, Portugal 25/1, Uruguay 33/1, Croatia 33/1, Colombia 40/1, Russia 40/1, Poland 50/1* (betting odds taken on March 29th, 2018 at 2:38 a.m.)
Past World Cup Performances
The first appearance that Croatia made as their independent nation following the breakaway from the former Yugoslavia was in 1998 in France. It was some debut that they made as well because they ended up finishing third. They started off with a runner-up spot in the group stage behind Argentina, who they will again face here and then they edged their way past Romania in the round of sixteen.
They had a tough looking fixture ahead in the quarterf inals of France ‘98 as they were paired up with Germany. But in a stunning result, Croatia won it 3-0 to move through to a semi-final against host nation France. That was as close as they could get to winning the tournament though as Les Bleus took a 2-1 win home soil against Croatia after having fallen behind in the game. But still, Croatia went on to win their final game in the third-place play-off against the Netherlands. Davor Šuker won the Golden Boot with six goals.
In their three following World Cup appearances they didn’t get past the group’s stage in any of them. Overall their record at World Cup is P16 W7 D2 L7 with five of those wins occurring in their debut event.
Croatia World Cup Predictions
A place in the quarter finals is a realistic shot for the Croatia side at Russia 2018. They can get out of their group, they shouldn’t fail to do that, even though they are taking on Argentina and Iceland. But they can get the job done there and with the side that they have and with Argentina not always looking particularly great, there will be an opportunity for them to challenge for a top spot. Croatia are a dark horse that someone like France wouldn’t want to meet early in the knockout stages. They are worth a little flutter at 9/2 odds with bet365 to go out in the quarter finals.
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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