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The Nations League semi finals get underway in Rotterdam and Netherlands vs Croatia is receiving the bet builder stats pack treatment. This could be the last opportunity that Croatia’s golden generation get to win silverware after reaching the World Cup semi final stage late last year.
Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands will be looking to assert their authority on their home patch after topping Group 4 of League A, of which included Belgium, Poland and Wales. Zlatko Dalic’s outsiders clinched progression to the semi final stage by outwitting France, Denmark and Austria.
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Netherlands vs Croatia Predicted Lineups
Cody Gakpo will lead the line
It was recently revealed that defender Matthijs De Ligt is ruled out of the match due to a calf injury sustained in training. Sven Botman could be in line to make his Netherlands debut at the back. Ronald Koeman should go with a 4-3-3 system and the full backs are likely to be Nathan Ake and Denzel Dumfries, despite both playing in Saturday’s Champions League final. Memphis Depay is the other significant Dutch casualty allowing Cody Gakpo to lead the line.
Gvardiol injury is a major blow
Key centre back Josko Gvardiol is a confirmed casualty for Croatia which is a major blow. They should also lineup in a 4-3-3 formation with Martin Erlic and Josip Sutalo as the centre back pairing. Attacker Marko Livaja is also ruled out so a front three of Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric and Mario Pasalic looks likely. Marcelo Brozovic should start in midfield despite also featuring in the Champions League final at the weekend.
Netherlands vs Croatia Team Stats
Dutch width can generate more corners
The Dutch average 2.33 goals per game which is a significant overachievement compared to their 1.71 xG. More than a third of their total shots are on target which is a decent conversion rate. At the other end of the field, they’ve limited their opponents to just 8.67 shots per match.
Corners are common for the Netherlands, and they tend to play wider than most teams with both full backs in particular overlapping which contributes towards their high corner rate. Cards have also been high in Dutch fixtures at an average of 4.17 per game. Nations League matches can be less intense sometimes but now at the semi-final stage, players won’t be holding back.
Cards low in well-disciplined Croatian matches
Croatia’s goals scored and conceded is very much in correlation to their xG and xGA metrics. They are not such a free scoring team compared to the Netherlands but have a strong shot on target ratio of 3.67 from 9.33 average total shots. That is an accuracy of close to 35% and demonstrates quality over quantity.
Due to their tactical system of wide players cutting inside then Croatia have a low average corners count (4.33). Taking the Netherlands for most corners or on a corner handicap could make for strong appeal in your Netherlands vs Croatia bet builder. The Croats are known for being fairly disciplined and their games don’t tend to be particularly dirty, averaging just 3.15 cards in each fixture.
Netherlands vs Croatia shots and shots on target stats
Gakpo and Bergwijn to step up
No Dutch player on this list averages more than one shot on target per game but both Steven Bergwijn and Cody Gakpo could be worth considering adding to your Netherlands bet builder. With Gakpo now leading the line he is a major contender to fire in plenty of attempts. Bergwijn averages 3.15 shots per 90 minutes and is known for trying his luck. Virgil van Dijk is a menace from set pieces and worth looking at to have at least one attempt.
Kramaric and Perisic likely to fire in attempts
Luka Modric averages over one shot on target per 90 and is usually a safe option to add to your Croatia bet builder in this market. He is technically very gifted and takes most of the dangerous set pieces as well. Kramaric and Perisic both average close to three shots per 90 and could be considered as well. Neither are especially accurate, but Perisic likes to try a few efforts when he plays on the left in attack, cutting inside to shoot.
Netherlands vs Croatia goals and assists stats
Gakpo offers the biggest threat
Without Memphis Depay the Netherlands have obviously lost a key goal scorer but both Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn will be looking to make up for his absence. Denzel Dumfries is a very attack minded wing back and will regularly venture forward. He’s a major threat to assist but perhaps also nick a goal.
Technical quality of Modric can’t be ignored
Kramaric is probably the most likely player to score for Croatia, but Luka Modric is another viable alternative. He will be on key set pieces and also penalty taking duty. His technical ability enables him to strike a ball sweetly and he stands out in this capacity.
Netherlands cards and fouls stats
Tired Dumfries could be a prime candidate for fouls
If he starts, then Denzel Dumfries could be worth adding to your Netherlands bet builder in the fouls or cards market. He averages 2.44 fouls per 90 and will be up against the physicality of Ivan Perisic. On the back of a gruelling and disappointing Champions League final last weekend it could be struggle for him if he starts. Frenkie de Jong will always put himself about in midfield and would be another to consider.
Kramaric can be a handful
The physicality of striker Andrej Kramaric can cause problems to the opposition. He’s fouled nearly twice per 90 and will be a test for potentially Sven Botman on debut. Croatia have a lot of experienced players who are all clever enough to win cheap free kicks such as Mateo Kovacic and Modric in midfield.
Netherlands vs Croatia key matchups
Denzel Dumfries vs Ivan Perisic
Frenkie de Jong vs Mateo Kovacic
Xavi Simons vs Luka Modric
Croatia Cards and Fouls Stats
Brozovic and Perisic stand out to be cautioned
Two of the dirtiest players in this Croatian team are Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic. Both comfortably average over two fouls per game and will readily get stuck in. The defence will look a bit different without Gvardiol and there could be pressure on the likes of Erlic and Sutalo. The latter averages 1.33 fouls per 90 and might be worth adding to your Croatia bet builder for at least one foul.
Gakpo will test the Croatian defence
Cody Gakpo is fouled over twice per 90 and will be a test for this Croatian defence. He is set to lead the line but could easily end up cutting inside from either wing as well. There might be an overload on the Dutch right hand side with both Dumfries and Bergwijn, two types of players who tend to be foul magnets.
Netherlands vs Croatia key matchups
Ivan Perisic vs Steven Bergwijn
Josip Sutalo vs Cody Gakpo
Marcelo Brozovic vs Frenkie de Jong
Netherlands vs Croatia Bet Builder Tips and Picks of the Pack
We have put together a four leg bet builder using the data above, feel free to add or swap in some picks of your own ahead of the semi final clash.
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Netherlands vs Croatia
Now leading the line for the Netherlands in the absence of Memphis Depay he should be able to hit the target at least once.
The expectation and onus is on him to deliver which should generate a focused performance.
Averages 2.81 shots per 90 mins and when employed in a left wing role for his country he likes to cut inside and fire in several efforts.
Dumfries is averaging close to 2.50 fouls per game in the competition and is expected to play in a slightly deeper role than he has been for Inter.
Borna Sosa and Perisic are both capable of hurting the Dutch down that side, with Dumfries prone to committing fouls in defensive transitions and the knockout nature of the tie could lead to a desire for the Netherlands to break up play.
The Netherlands average 5.33 corners per game and are aided by marauding wing backs who get up the field and stay wider.
Croatia play more narrow and only average 4.33 corners per match.
The Dutch should beat them on this count.