Euro 2012 betting preview - Group C - Croatia 1/2
We continue our Euro 2012 betting preview and take a look at Croatia this time, currently ranked 8th in the world by FIFA. Croatia is in group C along with Ireland that we in the previous article, and the two teams that will prove very difficult to beat, Spain and Italy.
Rather surprisingly the Croatians never won their Euro Championship group, they finished 2nd to a resurgent Greece side who went unbeaten. In the playoffs they faced Turkey over two legs. The first leg was played in Istanbul and considered a difficult task, however Croatia hammered Turkey 3-0 and effectively ended the tie. The 2nd leg was therefore a formality, and Croatia coasted to a 0-0 to seal their place in Poland/Ukraine,
Euro 2012 betting odds
Odds for Croatia to win the tournament is 51.0 (available with most bookmakers) and odds to top Group C is a rather large 10.0 (Bet Victor). If you believe they will qualify from the group, you get 2.88 (betinternet), and odds to finish bottom of the group is 3.10 (Paddy Power)
Some top goalscorer odds available (goals scored in qualification in brackets):
- Niko Kranjcar (4 in 8 games) 101 to be top goalscorer, 8.00 top Croatian scorer.
- Eduardo (3 in 11 games) 101 to be top goalscorer, 7.00 top Croatian scorer.
- Mario Mandzukic (3 in 10 games) 101 to be top goalscorer ,17.00 top Croatian scorer.
Croatia's fixtures and the available odds:
- Republic of Ireland v Croatia (Poznan) Best Odds 4.00 3.40 2.25
- Italy v Croatia. (Poznan) Best Odds 2.20 3.40 4.00
- Croatia v Spain (Gdansk). Best Odds 8.00 4.00 1.60
We do not think Croatia can get out of the group. Their opening game vs Republic of Ireland will for sure be highly crucial. Drawing in the opening match will leave them struggling and will be followed by defeats to Italy and Spain. The odds available on Croatia being eliminated from the tournament in the group stake is 1.53 with Ladbrokes. And if they do leave at the group stage, we estimate that goals will be few. Mario Mandzukic looks a huge price at 17.00 to be top Croatian goalscorer.
Croatia Euro 2012 team sheet
Below we give you all the info on the key men in the Croatian team, whose performances will decide whether or not Croatia advances from the group stage and get a top placement.
Key Men: Goalkeeper
Goalkeeper: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov) 90 caps, 0 goals. He is tall and has excellent reflexes and co-ordination, capable of making excellent saves, and was one of the best goalkeepers in Euro 2008. He only featured in half the qualifiers after loss of form. Downside is that he can be a very nervy goalkeeper and be hesitant to come for crosses.
Key Men: Defence
Vedran Corluka (Leverkusen) 53 caps, 2 goals. Vedran is a right back with a wealth of experience, and overall a solid defender with good positioning skills and good cover. A bit flexible when it comes to positioning as he can play defensive midfielder if needed.
Josip Simunic (Dinamo Zagreb) 93 caps, 3 goals. A cultured central defender who is very comfortable on the ball, Josip is also a good communicator and excellent organiser. Other strong points is that he is very good in the air and therefore a goal threat at corners and free kicks. Rarely featured for Dinamo this year and often selected behind Domagoj Vida, but seemingly a starter for Bilic.
Ivan Strinic (Dnipro) 15 caps 0 goals. Ivan is a left back with attacking tendencies. He is a good creator and scores a few goals, and is able to play left midfield role easily. His weakness is that he can be prone to disciplinary problems, and got two red cards in his last two games for Dnipro and spent time out suspended.
Dejan Lovren (Lyon) 13 caps, 1 goal. This is a central defender who in addition can cover at right back. A strong, solid player who is good in the tackle. Although only a young player, he is already starting regularly at Lyon. But he is inexperienced, and can make some bad decisions.
Conclusion so far:
Slaven Bilic plays an orthodox back four, but maybe want to change things around leading up to Euro 2012. We think he will go Strinic-Lovren-Simunic-Corluka, however there seems to be a clamour in Croatia to ditch Simunic and replace him with one of the younger centre halves or have Corluka move across. In our opinion this weakens Croatia, as it likely pulls Darijo Srna back from Midfield. Srna is one of Croatia's best offensive players. To conclude, Croatias defence is not the best, and we believe they cannot stand against Spain and Italy.
Next up we will cover the Croatian's midfield and attacking players, so make sure you continue reading to stay updated for your Euro 2012 betting!