Croatia is looking to recreate its magical run at the 1998 World Cup. That team is still heralded as national heroes in Croatia, and this version is trying to follow in their footsteps. With this draw, they even have a decent chance of getting to the World Cup Final, which would send the country into euphoria.
Of course, to do that they must beat Russia on its home turf. Russia may have been the second-worst ranked team according to FIFA coming into the World Cup, but they have played well above their heads over the last few weeks. They have nothing to lose at this point, and they will have a very loud crowd cheering them on.
The most anticipated sporting event in the world comes around once every four years, so don’t miss any of the 2018 World Cup. This match will take place at Fisht Stadium in Sochi at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7, 2018. Catch every moment of the match live on FOX.
World Cup Quarterfinals Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Russia’s early success was somewhat a result of the group it was placed in. The Russians had no problem dispatching of a bad Saudi Arabia team and weren’t really tested by an Egyptian side whose star was playing injured either. However, it looked like they might have been exposed after losing to Uruguay 3-0 in the final Group Stage match.
The loss meant that they would have to face Spain in the Round of 16. Russia was a heavy underdog coming into the match, but they were able to pack it in effectively. Spain had 79 percent of possession and completed over 1100 passes with their tiki taka style, yet the teams were level at 1-1 entering extra time. Russia kept it together and forced penalties, leading to Igor Akinfeev becoming a hero with two penalty saves in the win over Spain.
Croatia looked fantastic in the Group Stage, winning all three of their matches. They completely controlled the action with their midfield in victories over Nigeria, Argentina, and Iceland, with the only allowed goal coming off of a penalty kick.
In the Round of 16, Croatia and Denmark played a game that started and ended with a flourish, but there were long stretches without much action in the middle. The Danes were able to effectively keep the ball away from Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, and Croatia seemed stunned after Luka Modric missed what would have likely been the game-winning penalty near the end of extra time. However, Danijel Subasic came up big in the shootout, leading Croatia to a 3-2 victory.
Croatia is relatively unscathed coming into this match. There are no suspensions or injuries to report, and that gives Zlatko Dalic a full line-up to work with.
Unfortunately, Russia isn’t so lucky. Left back Yuri Zhirkov looks likely to miss the match, while Aleksandr Samedov and Alan Dzagoev are questionable to play.
Matchup to Watch
For Russia to be able to keep its dream alive, it is going to have to find a way to counter Croatia’s fantastic midfielders. Modric and Rakitic have been too much for every team they have faced so far, but Denmark showed that there is a way to slow down the game against them. Modric is reliant on getting the ball on space, and Rakitic is a great defensive midfielder. The Danes responded by harassing Modric constantly, while keeping their attack away from Rakitic. That helped stall the game, so look for Russia to do the same.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Russia’s World Cup run has provided a great story, but their time is coming to an end. Croatia will be able to effectively attack them and keep Subasic from being fire upon too much in a convincing win.
World Cup Quarterfinals Odds: Croatia 2, Russia 0
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