Kick-off: Saturday, 7th July @19:00 GMT
Venue: Fisht Stadium, Sochi
Head to head record
Russia vs Croatia 0-0 (2006, European Championship qualifying)
Croatia vs Russia 0-0 (2007, European Championship qualifying)
Russia vs Croatia 1-3 (2015 friendly)
Russia vs Croatia predictions
Russia was under siege for most of the game against Spain. They gave Spain 79% of ball possession and allowed them to make over 1100 passes compared to the 290 they made. They were pressed and pressed, and they survived when no one believed they would.
Croatia went a goal down early but they didn’t panic and got one back immediately. And then the gates to the goal stayed shut for the next 119 minutes until the end of extra time. The Croats had a great chance to win the match with a late penalty but scuffed the chance.
Both teams will have six days to rest and relax, analyze and train before the game on Saturday. And both sides will come out confident and knowing what the stakes are fully – a place in the semi-final.
Milking the home crowd
Russia have managed to take advantage of their home crowd so far. On the wings of their support, they have managed to play well in the group stage and survive the challenge from Spain in the 1/8 finals. They will want to keep milking the crowd on Saturday against Croatia.
One thing is clear; the Russians are playing with no pressure on them as they’ve been given little chance to even progress from the group stage, let alone make it to the semis of this World Cup. That might be just the thing that will make a difference in this match.
Coach Cherchesov will know how to pump his team up for this game and will know that anything is possible after beating Spain.
Twenty years later
Croatia have fully vindicated the predictions from before the start of the World Cup that they would be one of the top ten sides in the tournament this year. They’ve played some great football but have been less clinical with their finishing than they had hoped.
It’s now been twenty years since they finished third in the World Cup in France, so maybe it’s fitting they at least repeat that performance. Most of the Croatian team are playing their last tournament and they will be looking to finish on a high.
Modric has already scored twice and is a threat with the ball. Mandzukic will want to add to his one goal and Rakitic will try to spur them on from midfield. Rebic has also been a revelation. It’s time to cash in all that potential and maybe go one or two places higher than in 1998.
- Since the 1990 World Cup in Italy, all the host countries which managed to reach the quarter-finals, went on to play in the semi-finals. This happened in 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2014.
- Croatia didn’t have much luck against host nations so far; they lost to Brazil in 2014 and France in 1998.
- However, in the 1998 World Cup they managed to be the third best nation, behind France and Brazil.
- After having 10 shots on target in the first two games, Russia managed only two in total against Uruguay and Spain.
Russia vs Croatia betting pick
Croatia has played some great football under the leadership of Modric and Rakitic. They look hard to score against and they don’t give up when they are down. They did manage to miss some really good goal chances though. Even so, they are favorites in this match, mainly because they’ve shown a bigger desire to score.
Russia has shown us there is no such thing as surrender, and they will feel they have just as much a chance of reaching the semis as the Croats. One thing is for sure, you can’t discard them while the ball is still in play.
Both teams performed well in their respective penalty shootouts, and having one of their own is a real possibility.
Pick: Croatia to win