Russia vs Croatia World Cup 2018
Before the World Cup started, we mentioned the statistic that host nations average three wins at their home tournament. We also thought it was ludicrous that Russia, a nation ranked below the top-60 in the world, could make it to the quarter-finals.
Well, here they are after win number three, and what a win it was. Although Spain were not as positive as they should have been against a team they should be beating nine times out of ten, you have to credit the resolve and fitness of the Russian players, and then the poise and maturity during the penalty shootout that ensued.
They now face a Croatian side who seemed to look a bit lost in their match against Denmark on Sunday night. This match mirrored Russia’s game against Spain in that two goals were scored in the first half (the first four minutes in this case), and Croatia, like Spain, became increasingly frustrated as time went on.
We thought that the match was going to go the way of underdogs Denmark when Luka Modric of all people missed a penalty with just minutes remaining in injury time. Yet the Croatians managed to escape from a penalty shootout in which the goalkeepers were on top, and will enter this match against Russia as the favourite once more.
Russia and Croatia last met in a 2015 friendly, with the Balkan nation winning 3-1 in Rostov-on-Don. Prior to that the two teams have met in European qualifying twice; 0-0 was the score on both occasions.
The home side will enter as the outsider, although it will take bravery to back against them considering they have an entire nation behind them. Croatia looked to be one of the favourites in this half of the draw to reach the final, but Denmark have provided a blueprint on how to get them to penalties, and Russia’s game plan will be almost identical.
At +274, Russia are tempting, but the most likely 90 minute result is a Croatian win, paying +117. The draw is also a very good chance and is on offer for +203. Expect these odds to change as people jump on the Russian bandwagon.
We’re tipping another tough match with Russia punching above their weight and Croatia once again struggling with the weight of the favouritism tag. Another 1-1 draw after 90 minutes seems the likeliest result, although we believe Croatia will manage to find a winner in extra-time on this occasion.
Russia vs Croatia Preview
Russia vs Croatiawill kickoff at 2pm ET on Saturday, July 7 and will be played atFisht Olympic Stadium inSochi.
Russia LikelyStarting XI
- Igor Akinfeev
- Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov
- Daler Kuzyaev, Roman Zobnin
- Mario Fernandes, Yuri Zhirkov
- Aleksandr Samedov, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin
We’re expecting an unchanged lineup here. Sergei Ignashevich may have been to blame for Spain’s early goal, but more than made up for it with a stellar second-half performance and a successful penalty in the shootout.
Denis Cherysev missed the starting XI against Spain and was good off the bench. We’d like to see him start but it’s hard to argue against using the same lineup that beat the 2010 champions.
Croatia LikelyStarting XI
- Danijel Subasic
- Sime Vrsaljko,Dejan Lovren,Domagoj Vida,Ivan Strinic
- Marcelo Brozavic
- Luka Modric,Ivan Rakitic
- Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic
- Mario Mandzukic
We’re also predicting Croatia will stick with their personnel, although may push Perisic and Rebic further up field than they were deployed against Denmark.
Luka Modric had an off day against the Danes but don’t expect the Russians to be so lucky on this occasion. He and Ivan Rakitic must create chance early to ensure Russia stay on the back foot.
Other Betting Opportunities
Remember that the head to head market is relevant for the result at the end of 90 minutes, and in the event of the match going to extra time or penalties the ‘draw’ option would be the winner.
If you think there is the possibility of extra time, the ‘will there be an overtime’ market from Sports Interaction is paying +178. We think this has a great chance of occurring.
If you would rather take the option of picking which team will progress, Betway offer a ‘to qualify’ line, and are paying154 for aCroatiawin regardless of whether penalties are required to separate the teams.Russia are paying+125, which is great value if you think the hosts can go the distance.
Of course, there are plenty of other markets that could provide a decent outlay, and may be a safer bet than the head to head opportunities.
Both teams have scored more often than not throughout this tournament, and with the inclusion of VAR there have been a record number of penalties. Russia have proven their worth from set pieces and on the break, while Croatia are a classy team that can score plenty on their day. Go for both teams to score @ +122.
Plenty of matches have been level at half-time in this tournament, including three of the first four R16 matches. The ‘1st half winner’ market is offering119 for the draw and that looks to be another good bet.
Picking the correct score is tough, although there’s plenty of reward for your risk. At +455, our 1-1 prediction is one of the top choices, yet will still offer great return.
FIFA World Cup Knockout Stage Odds
***Round of 16
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Match 50: France vs Argentina Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 49: Uruguay vs Portugal Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Match 51: Spain vs Russia Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 52: Croatia vs Denmark Odds (2 p.m. ET)
MONDAY, JULY 2
Match 53: Brazil vs Mexico Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 54: Belgium vs Japan Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Match 55: Sweden vs Switzerland Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 56: Colombia vs England Odds (2 p.m. ET)
FRIDAY, JULY 6
Match 57: France vs Uruguay Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 58: Brazil vs Belgium Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 7
Match 60: Sweden vs England Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 59: Russia vs Croatia Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 10
Match 61: Match 57 winner vs. Match 58 winner (2 p.m. ET)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
Match 62: Match 59 winner vs. Match 60 winner (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Match 63: Match 61 loser vs. Match 62 loser (10 a.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Match 64: Match 61 winner vs. Match 62 winner (11 a.m. ET)
=> World Cup Final Odds