Russia vs. Croatia / World Cup – This last quarter-final duel can also be called unexpected, but Russia is still the host and they have managed to used that to qualify in the quarterfinals, which is already a big success, while Croatia was expected to make a surprise, given their individual quality. Now, of course, neither of them wants to end their path in the quarter-finals and precisely because of the names of the opponents they see their chance. Both the Russians and Croats had already secured the round of sixteen, but Croatia has made the third victory and taken the first place, while Russia lost to Uruguay and ended up second. Both teams have passed the round of sixteen after penalties, and out of three of their mutual duels, two ended unresloved, while Croatia once celebrated with 3-1. Begins: 07.07.2018. – 20:00 CET
The Russians have started the World Cup furiously in their field and they have made two safe wins at start but against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which is no surprise. We should definitely mention that they have scored eight goals in these two duels and this is what was not expected from this team, because they did not have good results before the World Cup. However, with these two wins they have secured placement in the round of sixteen and the nation began to believe. That was not spoiled even by their bad performance and defeat against Uruguay with 3-0, when they did not play in the strongest team, and they were also left early without one player less on the field due to the suspension of Smolnikov. That defeat took them to Spain in the round of sixteen and they knew it would not be so easy in that duel. They have received a goal early in the game and that was not a good thing, but they managed to equalize after the penalty at the end of the first half-time.
They then played in a way that was not good for the eye, however, their only interest was the result, and they closed well all the approaches to their goal and the rival failed to create a lot of opportunities. In the end the match was decided by penalties and there was a loss of quality difference that was obvious in the course of the match. The Russian goalkeeper Akinfeev was great in that match and he is probably the most deserving for their placement in the quarterfinals. Now their appetites have grown and they want to continue further, but the real question is can they achieve that by the game they have shown against Uruguay and Spain. Dzagoev is still out of action, who was injured in the first round, and we also do not expect that the experienced Zhirkov will be ready in that match. Perhaps that is why they are now back in formation with four in the midfield, and with Cheryshev and Gazinsky on the field from the first minute.
Probable lineups Russia: Akinfeev – M.Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Kudryashov – Zobnin, Gazinsky – Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev – Dzyuba
Before this World Cup, Croatia was classified as a potential surprise, that is, a team that could cause problems to the best teams. They certainly have the individual quality that really gives them the right to be able to hope for great success, but it has to be shown all on the field as well. When they dominantly defeated Nigeria in the first round, their odds have increased further. However, Croatia did not taken seriously until the second round, when they mastered Argentina with 3-0. It was a great victory, valuable of the round of sixteen, but the way was a special story and because of that their confidence increased. Against Iceland they played in the third round in the changed formation, however, they also celebrated in that match, so with three wins they won the first place in the group. They played against Denmark in the round of sixteen and they knew that was a tough and unpleasant opponent, who had managed to take the lead in the first minute.
Croatia was lucky to respond very quickly, and then a real game started, with no real offensive football. In the extra time, Croatia had a great chance to win, but Modric has failed to score, so the penalties decided on who will qualify in the quarterfinals. That is when goalkeeper Subasic enters the scene, and with three defending penalties he took this team to this duel with the Russians, although the Croatian penalty performance was not the best. Even their game was not the same as against Argentina and they are now hoping they can do much better, and as far as their composition is concerned, coach Dalic has expectedly sent the same team to the field against Denmark a he did against Argentina. They were saved from yellow cards, and they do not have too many injured players, so only Strinic and Kovacic are questionable. If Strinic does not get to be ready, Pivaric will be his replacement and that will probably be the only change.
Probable lineups Croatia: Subasic – Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Pivaric – Brozovic, Modric – Rebic, Rakitic, Perisic – Mandzukic
Russia vs. Croatia PICK
This will probably be another very uncertain match, because the Russians are the hosts, and Croatia is individually better. Still, we do not expect them to play for a goalless draw, and we believe that Croatia will impose as a favourite, while the Russians will threaten from the counterattack, so there should be a lot of goals in this match.
Pick: over 2 goals
Odds: 2.02 at 10bet (down to 1.92 can be played)