Niko Kovac’s men gave a really good account of themselves in the World Cup opener which now seems like an age ago. After taking an early lead thanks to some incisive attacking play only two moments of individual brilliance – aided by some suspect goalkeeping – and a horrendous penalty decision were the difference between them and Brazil. That 3-1 defeat will have dented the confidence slightly but play like that here and three points are well within their grasp. Kovac can welcome back star striker Mario Mandzukic, who was suspended for the opener.
On the balance of play from their match with Mexico last week, Cameroon were lucky to escape with just a one goal defeat. Mexico had two goals wrongly called offside and were very much in control for the majority of the game. It certainly appeared from watching the Africans is that they have a touch of the “bad in both boxes” disease, which restricts so many teams from getting results. Worryingly for Cameroon fans, Samuel Eto’o is out of the Group A match after the striker confirmed his knee injury sustained against Mexico will keep him sidelined. The striker took to Twitter to tell of the news, and it means Cameroon’s all-time top goalscorer will not be able to help them keep their World Cup hopes alive. Eto’o wrote: ‘The doctors confirm! I would probably not be able to play the match vs Croatia on Wed June 18th due to an injury on my knee causing me pain.’
Here, we could be looking at one of the biggest gambles of the entire World Cup so far. The market support behind Croatia has been absolutely huge even before the new about Eto’o broke. The Europeans opened up when the market was formed around the +120 mark but that price is now a thing of the past since the stampede of money came for them after the opening games in this group. You can get just -166 for a Croatia win and to be honest it’s now not a price I’d want to get involved with even though the favourites have a hugely strong chance of running out victors over a very average Cameroon side. At odds-against, yes, strong odds on? Not for me thanks.
The Indomitable Lions have scored just seven goals in their last 12 World cup matches, and never more than once during this run. In qualifying they only averaged just 1.13 goals a game in a qualifying group that contained the likes of DR Congo and Libya and with now Eto’o on the sidelines, scoring goals are going to be even more of struggle. Cameroon only registered one shot on target in the whole of their opening group stage game against Mexico. More of the same please, lads.
2 units – Croatia to win to nil +160
*This bet means Croatia will win and Cameroon will score 0 goals. Most sportsbooks will offer “to nil” bets, if not you can take Cameroon -1 or to win.
-0.08 units (3-3)