POOR day yesterday with the 3-1 Night Owl double falling a goal short in Brazil to top off a dud Saturday – onwards and hopefully upwards.

England v Croatia (2pm)

I think my line of thinking has changed with the absence of Ivan Rakitic for Croatia – his absence will be a massive blow and although Croatia have plenty of strength, depth and ability without Rakitic they will need to chase the game that little bit harder.

That matters in terms of my selections as I see a tense and harrying 90 minutes as both teams play out a war of attrition as they look to give no advantage – the outcome of that style of game often lends itself to limited opportunities from open play with goals more likely from set-pieces or from the spot.

If line-up stories are right England will begin the game with five different players from the starting XI that faced Croatia in the World Cup semi-final – again those players will not want to put a foot wrong and Dier in place of Dele Ali is certainly a more defensive option.

I’m taking on three selections based on the fact I’m just not convinced it will be a goals-laden game with so much at stake and the further possibility those rare opportunities may well come from a deadball situation.

Best price for a penalty is 3-1 with boylesports but BetFred have a special at a much better price:

Recommended Bets

  • Penalty scored (7-2, BetFred)
  • Header scored outside box (6-1, William Hill)

Long Shot

  • Each team 5+ corners & each team 2+ cards
  • (55-1, William Hill)

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