After a great ending to the football season with excellent cup finals in England and Europe, we now turn our attention to the UEFA Nations League. Netherlands take on Croatia on Wednesday, June 14th at 7:45 pm BST. It’s a Semi-Final match played at De Kuip. The other Semi-Final is being played on Thursday between Spain and Italy. I give my free expert football tips for the first encounter below.
Goal-Shy Performances from the Dutch
After a fairly successful World Cup in which the Netherlands made the Quarter Finals, only to lose to eventual champions Argentina, they’ve not kicked on under head coach Ronald Koeman. They played France in a 2024 European Championship qualifier but got thrashed by a 4-0 score. Even in their second qualification match, beating Gibraltar 3-0, Holland should have scored so many more against a team who had 10 men for almost half of the game and are effectively amateurs.
It’s hard to truly know where the Netherlands are right now in terms of their progress and performance levels, but this match will give some indication, as both sides are evenly matched. This Nations League Finals features four teams all with question marks to their name and so, in reality, you would have to say that any of the four teams could win it. The Netherlands would be far happier in this match if they put up more of a fight against France or scored more goals against a poor Gibraltar side.
Croats Solid in Defence
Much like the Netherlands, Croatia had a good World Cup in the winter. They qualified through a tough group and bested Belgium by finishing 2nd behind group winners Morocco. They then beat Japan and Brazil to make the Quarter Finals only to lose (much like the Netherlands) to the eventual champions Argentina by a 3-0 result.
Along the way, Croatia used a very tight defence as their most important attribute. Two 0-0 draws in their group got them through and then conceding just once against both Japan and Brazil was an impressive feat only for Argentina to be too strong.
Since the World Cup, Croatia have also played two 2024 European Championship qualifiers for the tournament next summer. They drew 1-1 with Wales, back in March, and then 3 days later, beat Turkey by a 2-0 score. It’s another good example of their solid defence, only conceding 1 goal against Wales. That was also a 93rd-minute equaliser for the Welsh.
The most recent head-to-head between the pair was back in 2008. It was just a friendly but the Netherlands won the match 3-0. In the last competitive match, Croatia beat the Netherlands 2-1 at the 1998 World Cup in the 3rd Place Play-Off. Both sides boasted some great talents in their respective squads that day. The Netherlands boasted the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, and Edgar Davids whereas Croatia fielded stars such as Davor Suker, Robert Prosinecki, and Zvonimir Boban.
Netherlands vs Croatia Betting Tips
I think this one could go either way but I think Croatia look the better value of the pair. One bet that I also like is for there to be under 2.5 goals scored. As I’ve mentioned, Croatia has a solid defence with a world-class defensive midfielder. The Netherlands, even at home, are not scoring enough for me and that could be their downfall.
Croatia to Win @ 13/5 with Bet365 bonus code
Under 2.5 Goals Scored @ 4/6 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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