Croatia have been one of the most impressive teams at this year’s World Cup, having scored seven goals and conceding just once in their three victories. Aside from Uruguay, no other nation has managed a perfect record in the opening round, and their 3-0 demolition of Argentina put an exclamation point on a dominant display.
Denmark by contrast scored just twice in the group stage, and were only just good enough to qualify ahead of Peru and Australia. Against Peru, the Danes should have been punished by a late penalty, while the Australian’s dominated the second half of their encounter and were unlucky not to steal a win.
This match is a tale of two midfield maestros. Christian Eriksen is the headline act for Denmark and has been in terrific form for both club and country in recent months. His goal against Australia was one of his best on the international stage, and he will need to score in this match if the Danes are going to have any chance of victory.
For Croatia, the main man is Luka Modric, who has already bagged two goals at the tournament and remains one of the best players in his position in the world. His goal against Argentina was exquisite, and his influence on the game is as good as any of the big names.
The difference for Croatia is that they have more than just Modric who can excel. Ivan Rakitic is another superb central midfielder, and the Barcelona man can also link up with Inter’s Ivan Perisic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic. It’s a formidable lineup that are deserved favourites in this match, and you will get -136 in the head to head market – superb odds for an in-form team.
Denmark shouldn’t be discounted though. Whenever European teams go head to head there is always the chance of all three results, and this Danish side is capable of parking the bus against the big teams. Yet Croatia have been next level and are the pick for this match. Aside from Belgium against Japan, Croatia is probably the closest you’ll get to a sure thing in the Round of 16.
Our prediction is a 1-0 win to the Croatians. There is a small possibility that this match could go to extra time, although if it does we would still back Croatia to qualify as they have looked the fitter side in the first three matches.