Today’s Predictions: Russia Vs Croatia
Russia 2(3) – 2(4) Croatia
The last quarter final match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will take place between hosts Russia and the in-form Croatia.
- Date : 7th July 2018
- Time 11:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Samara Stadium
Russia provided the shock of the tournament when they knocked out 2010 champions Spain, to prove they more than belong with the top teams left in the tournament. While Croatia have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Russia did not have to partake in the qualification process as being the host nation earned them automatic qualification to this gala event.
Croatia had a decent qualifying phase, where the overall quality of their midfield was the primary reason that they managed to finish second behind Iceland in the group, to set up a play-off tie against Greece. The Croats won that play-off comfortably, enhancing their reputation as play-off specialists as the final score read 4-1.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s men haven’t been in the best of forms going into this tournament. They haven’t managed a single win in their last 6 matches, and have lost their last 3 matches in a row. A 3-3 draw with the mighty Spain in November is their only credible result during that period. Back to back heavy defeats against pre-tournament favourites France and Brazil respectively, have caused fans to be very worried about the home team’s chances at the World Cup. However, they opened the tournament with a huge win and followed that up with another convincing win in the second match.
Croatia have been going through a mixed run of form in recent months, with 3 wins and 2 defeats in their last 6 matches. They secured an impressive away victory against Mexico in tough conditions, to prove their mettle away from home as well, but were soon humbled by Brazil a week later. They were looking to re-organize before the tournament starts to make full use of the undisputed talent at their disposal, and that’s exactly what they did as they convincingly won their opening game. They followed that up with a stunning win over Argentina to top their group.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met thrice before, with Croatia winning once, and the other 2 ending in a draw.
Russia and Croatia in the World Cup So Far
Russia kicked off the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a brilliant 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, to gain a strong hold over Group A. Their goal difference already looks unassailable after another thrashing of Egypt, who were beaten 3-0 in very convincing fashion, giving the home fans a lot to cheer about. However, reality struck in their final game as they were completely outplayed by Uruguay in a humiliating 3-0 defeat. Just a few days later Russia pulled off the biggest shock in recent years as they knocked out Spain from the tournament on penalties.
Croatia looked dominant from the first minute against a decent Nigerian side, and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory to take sport in the group. In their second game, they produced arguably their biggest performance in history to completely dismantle giants Argentina 3-0. In their final game, they needed a late winner from Perisic to beat Iceland 2-1. They were given a stern test by Denmark in the round of 16, but eventually prevailed on penalties.
Russia would be without one of their marquee players as Alexander Kokorin’s persistent knee injuries have ruled him out of the tournament. Without Kokorin, the goalscoring burden will have to be shared by Fyodor Smolov and Artyom Dzyuba. Cherchesov has decided to gamble on many young players for this tournament, including 22-year-old twins Anton and Alexei Miranchuk.
Croatia have a fully fit squad to choose from, with Ivan Rakitic also brushing off his injury scare. They tend to pack the midfield and then play with a sole target man, a tactic which has seen them fend of sides much bigger than them in recent times. Many of their players play for some of the biggest clubs in world football, and would be targeting a deep run in this year’s World Cup.
Players To Watch Out For
Russia are relying on several youngsters to carry them forward in this tournament, however they still have their stalwarts around to inspire them. Veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is still their captain, while 34 year old former Chelsea wingback Yuri Zhirkov is another vital cog in their lineup. Denis Cheryshev has been one of the best players in the World Cup so far, and would be looking to continue his devastating form, while Golovin is another major threat.
Croatia have one of the most talented midfields in Europe, with Real Madrid pair Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic pulling the strings behind Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Inter pair Perisic and Brozovic. With a front 3 of Mandzukic, Kalinic and Kramaric, Croatia have the potential to cause massive upsets in this tournament. Dejan Lovren and Corluka are the big names in defence.
Russia Vs Croatia Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- Croatia are slight favourites in this match, after a dominating run in the tournament so far.
- Though Russia will try their best to keep the home crowd happy, their heavy defeat to Uruguay shows that they may struggle to cope with the top teams.
- Russia have been very impressive in attack, scoring 9 goals in 4 matches. Hence, both teams to score as well as there being above 2.5 goals in this match are bets we highly recommend.
- Croatia’s midfield is arguably the best in the world currently, with Luka Modric a top contender for the Golden Ball if his form continues
Croatia have dominated and won every single one of their 4 games so far, while Russia have been impressive as well. We expect the hosts to give a tough fight, but the Croats seem too strong to be stopped right now, and a narrow win is on the cards.
Predicted Scoreline : Russia 1-2 Croatia