Russia vs Croatia: Preview, Predicted Starting XI, Betting tips - Russia 2018 World Cup
Russia vs Croatia
7:00pm July 7th, 2018
Fisht Olympic Stadium
Russia have already overachieved, unbelievable stuff, who would have thought that Russia, the host with loads of average players would make it this far?
Come on they dumped Spain out of the competition with the most composed performance ever, they finished second behind Uruguay in a group where a lot of people expected Egypt to progress, the Africans didn’t pick a point.
Give it to Russia, they are genuinely the most encouraging based on the fact that they’re the most untalented bunch yet defying odds.
Let’s talk Croatia, shall we? The Croats didn’t need third gear against a shaky Nigerian side that didn’t turn up until the second half, but they proved their credentials against Argentina, since then they have been watched with both eyes, they didn’t sparkle against Denmark and were actually lucky with the shootouts but to be champions they need some bit of luck.
On paper, it’s Croatia’s to lose, but if you saw Russia against Spain you’ll have a rethink on that, statistics favor the Croats, the quality of their rich midfield explains why it’s hard to set up against them, the intelligence of Luka Modric, the vision of Ivan Rakitic, the precision of Brozovic and the options from their wide men, Perisic and Rebic, it would be a very long night for the hosts.
Russia don’t have gladiators, but they do have hungry men who want a piece of the glory, Germany claimed bronze as hosts in 2006, so did Brazil in Rio at the last edition, South Korea made it to the semifinals in 2002 and quite rightly as a surprise although a lot of questions would be asked of officiating. Ignashevich, Golovin and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev will rely on the compact nature of their squad, the way they attack and defend together as well as their guts going forward.
Russia must be disciplined, they won’t see the ball even as much as they did against Spain, Croatia won’t give much away.
Possible Starting XI
Russia: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev; Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba
Croatia: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
Betting prediction/Verdict: Croatia to advance