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Netherlands vs Croatia Odds: UEFA Nations League Finals Get Under Way

Written by: Greg Lea
Published June 12, 2023
11 min read
  • The Netherlands have home advantage on their side in the UEFA Nations League Finals
  • Croatia are the underdogs but soccer followers know they should never be written off
  • The Netherlands are the favorites but this is a game that could go either way

Netherlands vs Croatia Odds

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Netherlands vs Croatia Pick

Playing at home gives the Dutch an advantage in this first Nations League Finals clash.

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Netherlands vs Croatia Prediction

Ronald Koeman Back in Charge of Netherlands After World Cup

This long European soccer season is not over yet. June will bring us Euro 2024 qualifiers and the UEFA Nations League Finals, before the continent’s international stars finally get a rest. Here you can discover the best tips and betting odds for the UEFA Nations League 2022/23. For the time being, though, players from four different nations will be striving to win silverware.

The Netherlands, Croatia, Spain, and Italy have qualified for this mini-tournament after winning their League A groups in the first stage of the Nations League. The Dutch did so by finishing top ahead of Belgium, Poland, and Wales, winning five and drawing one of their six encounters.

That was an impressive performance and no team across League A outdid them in terms of points. But those six matches were overseen by Louis van Gaal, who stepped down as Netherlands manager after the World Cup in November and December.

It is not that the Dutch performed poorly in Qatar. Reaching the quarter-finals was par for the course, while eventual winners Argentina needed a penalty shoot-out to get past them. But Van Gaal, now 71 years of age, was always going to depart at the end of the tournament.

The Netherlands have turned to Ronald Koeman, who was in charge of his country between 2018 and 2020 before jumping ship for La Liga giants Barcelona. Winning the Nations League would boost Koeman’s standing ahead of next summer’s European Championship in Germany.

The Netherlands have been dealt a blow in the run-up to the Finals, with Memphis Depay not selected due to injury. There is still plenty of talent within their ranks, however, from Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt at the back, to Frenkie de Jong in midfield and Cody Gakpo up top.

Because they are such a storied name in international soccer, it is easy to forget the Netherlands has a population of just 17.5 million. Given that, their roster looks pretty strong.

Croatia Are Arguably World Soccer’s Biggest Overachievers

Pound for pound, the Netherlands do well - but not as well as their upcoming opponents. In fact, there is a strong argument that Croatia are the biggest overachievers in world soccer. Historically, perhaps only Uruguay can compete with them for that honor.

A nation of less than four million people has been among the most consistent in the world since independence in the 1990s. 

Croatia finished third at their first World Cup in 1998 and repeated the feat in 2022, beating Morocco in the play-off after going down to Argentina in the semi-finals. Four years earlier they did even better, ending the tournament in Russia as runners-up. 

Croatia’s presence in the Nations League Finals is further evidence that they are among the strongest sides on the continent. Zlatko Dalic’s side finished top of their group ahead of Denmark, France, and Austria, taking 13 points from a possible 18.

The key question is how much longer several of their stalwarts can go on. The evergreen Luka Modric will be 38 in September and is nearing the end of his brilliant career. Ivan Perisic and Domagoj Vida are in their mid-30s and past their best. 

But there is talent beneath that trio. Josko Gvardiol (21) was the top-performing defender at the World Cup and Josip Stanisic (23) is tipped to be a key player for his country for years to come. Mateo Kovacic (29) and Marcelo Brozovic (30) should still be around until World Cup 2026 at the earliest.

Regardless, this could be Croatia’s golden generation’s last real chance at silverware. The European Championship is only 12 months away but there will be several strong contenders for that trophy. Already through to the semi-finals, Croatia should not be written off in the Nations League.

Netherlands Look To Have the Edge but This Could Be Close

One of Croatia’s best qualities is their doggedness. This is a side that never knows when it is beaten. Take their World Cup quarter-final against Brazil. Most assumed the Selecao were going through when Neymar gave them the lead at the end of the first period of extra time.

Croatia had other ideas. Bruno Petkovic drew his team level in the 117th minute before the Vatreni beat the five-time world champions on penalty. Rule number one of international soccer: never write Croatia off.

Having said that, the best online sportsbooks are right to have the Netherlands down as favorites on this occasion. Home advantage could play a part. And the Dutch also possess more energy and dynamism than their opponents. After a long, draining season, that could be key.

Koeman will be especially keen to make his mark. In 2018/19 he led the Netherlands to the final of this competition, but Portugal proved too strong and won 1-0. Koeman will be striving to go one better to mark his return to the international game.

Betting the moneyline is the way to go here - tip the Netherlands to beat Croatia in the Nations League semis.

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How to Watch Netherlands vs Croatia

  • Teams: Netherlands vs Croatia
  • Location: De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Date and Time: Jun. 14, 2023, 2.45 p.m. ET 
  • How to Watch: fuboTV, Fox Sports
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Greg Lea

786 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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