Netherlands vs Croatia Prediction & Match Preview

Netherlands vs Croatia Prediction & Match Preview

The UEFA Nations League semifinal will take place at Feyenoord’s De Kuip on Wednesday evening, featuring the host country Netherlands and World Cup semifinalists Croatia.

Although the Netherlands are considered the favorites, there are several reasons why backing Croatia holds significant value.

Croatia, led by Zlatko Dalic, achieved impressive results in the previous two World Cups, finishing in second and third place. This tournament represents the last opportunity for their talented generation, spearheaded by Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric, to secure a major trophy.

Furthermore, Croatia showcased their quality by clinching the top spot in their UEFA Nations League group, despite suffering a 0-3 defeat to Austria in their first home game. They responded with victories against Denmark, a win in France, and a final-day triumph in Vienna.

Another favorable factor for Croatia is the resignation of Louis van Gaal from the Dutch national team bench following their penalty shootout loss to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup. Van Gaal injected a special spark into the Dutch squad, and Ronald Koeman faces a daunting task of filling his shoes, especially considering his less successful tenure at Barcelona.

The Netherlands, who haven’t won a major tournament since EURO 1988, emerged undefeated from a group that included Belgium, Poland, and Wales. Can they sustain this form without van Gaal at the helm?

In terms of head-to-head encounters, the Netherlands and Croatia have only met competitively once, with Croatia securing a 2-1 victory in the third-place playoffs at the 1998 World Cup in France. They also faced each other in a friendly ten years later, which resulted in a comprehensive 3-0 victory for the Dutch.

Considering Croatia’s recent successes in reaching the semifinals of the last two World Cups, coach Zlatko Dalic’s ability to prepare his players for such matches, and the odds offered at 2.50, backing Croatia to qualify appears to hold the most value.

Alternatively, a bet on Under 2.5 goals FT at odds of 1.66 seems appealing. Given the high stakes and the opportunity to reach the competition’s final, both managers are likely to adopt a cautious approach with fewer risks on Wednesday.