Date: June 13, 2021
Time: 6:30 pm (IST)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
News Update: SportsTiger App
England will begin their Euro 2020 campaign this season with a blockbuster encounter against Croatia. England fans would not have forgotten that it was against the same opponents that their 2018 World Cup dream got shattered in the semifinals. However, the Three Lions cannot dwell much into it as they will need to put that result aside and get off the mark here with a win at this delayed European Championship.
Gareth Southgate's side has several attacking options and are among the favorites to grab the title and with the final scheduled at Wembley, deep down they would be hoping to make a winning start and will have aspirations of reaching the final. For Croatia though, who haven’t been able to keep up that magnificent streak of the World Cup in recent times, they would know that on their day, they can beat any opposition and this would give them huge confidence heading into this game but they will be up against a stern challenge for sure and it is likely to be a thrilling affair.
Although Harry Maguire is back and training, he might not be risked ahead of the opening game. In addition, the Three Lions will have to choose two players out of Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to support Harry Kane, who is a certain starter. No other injury concerns for England.
Defender Dejan Lovren remains slightly doubtful for this match with an injury. Zlatko Dalic is likely to stick with the majority of the side that started against Belgium with Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric set to play an important role. In addition, it could be a touch and go with regards to the choice between Bruno Petkovic and Ante Rebic.
While Southgate might be forgiven for having a few last minute confusions, the Three Lions attack looks a solid one and can be a nightmare for any defence. Thus, they should be assured of their own ability especially the likes of Mount and Rashford, who have recently been trusted ahead of options like Foden or Raheem Sterling. On the other hand, Croatia haven't had the best of form recently but one can't write them off either. Both these sides are among the frontrunners to finish in the top two at the close of group stage in Group D. However, with the home advantage also playing a part at the Wembley Stadium for England, especially with the crowd coming back, England would start as the pre-match favourites and this could be their first-ever opening day victory at the Euros.
Probable Starting XI:
England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, James, Rice, Phillips, Chilwell, Mount, Kane, Rashford
Croatia: Livakovic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Barisic, Brozovic, Kovacic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Petkovic
Goalkeeper: Pickford, Livakovic
Defenders: Vida, Vrsaljko, Walker, Stones, Chilwell
Midfielders: Modric, Perisic, Mount
Forwards: Kane, Rashford, Petkovic, Rebic
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