It’s a bit of an unlikely Round of 16 matchup on Sunday afternoon as Croatia and Denmark battle for a spot in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals. The Croats are favored on the MyBookie Sportsbook soccer odds to advance and face the winner of Spain and Russia – most likely Spain.
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Croatia vs Denmark 2018 World Cup Round of 16 Betting Preview
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) 29 de junio de 2018
- When: Sunday, 2 PM ET
- Where: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
- TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Betting Odds: Croatia -118 / Denmark +340 / Draw +225 (Total at 2 goals)
Why Bet on Croatia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Zlatko Dalić
- Captain: Luka Modric
- FIFA Ranking: 20
- World Cup Appearances: 5
Croatia was one of just three countries to finish the group stage with the full nine points, joining Uruguay and Belgium. Croatia won Group D by five points over powerhouse Argentina (which Croatia beat 3-0).
The Croats closed the group stage with a 2-1 win over Iceland. Milan Badelj put Croatia ahead before Iceland were given hope by a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty, only for a late Ivan Perisic goal to kill them off. Croatia had looked limp in the first half, the nine changes made to their starting XI producing a team that looked like it hadn’t played together before — because they hadn’t.
Coach Zlatko Dalic said before the Iceland match that he was planning on resting a number of players as his side had already qualified for the knockout stages. The only two players to keep their places from the 3-0 win over Argentina were Luka Modric and Perisic. Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic, Vedran Corluka, Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic and Sime Vrsaljko were all one yellow card away from being suspended for this fixture so did not start.
Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel slammed the decision as he feared that it would wreck his own country’s chances of joining them in the next round. He was right as Nigeria failed to qualify, with Argentina finishing second with one win in three matches. As a result, the Croats are expected to be fully healthy.
Croatia has won three consecutive World Cup matches for the first time. Perisic has scored three World Cup goals for Croatia – only Davor Suker (6) has scored more. Milan Badelj scored only his second goal for Croatia, with this his first since scoring against Malta in September 2011 during qualifying for Euro 2012. Midfielder Mateo Kovacic completed 78 of his 79 passes attempted in this Iceland game (98.7%); the best percentage of any player to start the match. Ten of Croatia’s last 11 goals at the World Cup have been scored in the second half.
Croatia’s forwards play for elite European clubs: Mandzukic of Juventus, Perisic, and Brozovic from Inter, Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid. There is great quality in this technically strong team, and they should enjoy plenty of possession against Denmark.
- 23-D. Subašić
- 21-D. Vida
- 3-I. Strinić
- 6-D. Lovren
- 2-Š. Vrsaljko
- 10-L. Modrić
- 7-I. Rakitić
- 4-I. Perišić
- 11-M. Brozović
- 17-M. Mandžukić
- 18-A. Rebić
Why Bet on Denmark?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Åge Hareide
- Captain: Simon Kjær
- FIFA Ranking: 12
- World Cup Appearances: 5
The Danes finished second in Group C behind France. Those two closed group play with a scoreless draw. It was the first 0-0 game of this tournament. Neither played with much urgency. Denmark and France drew an international meeting for the first time since September 1976 (1-1), with this being just the second draw in 16 total meetings.
Denmark coach Age Hareide said his team did what needed to be done to earn a point and that going for a win would have been “stupid.”
“We just needed one point, right?” Hareide said. “We were up against one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world. We would have been stupid if we opened up. We played to get the result and we did it. You need to do what you need to do but for the team, this has been wonderful. Our goal was to come here and to progress to last 16.”
Mathias Jorgensson, Braithwaite and Cornelius come in for Denmark to replace Schone, Poulsen and Nicolai Jorgensen. Yussuf Poulsen, who scored Denmark’s first goal of the tournament against Peru but who was suspended against France, has looked very lively and full of confidence during the last couple of training sessions in the Danish camp. Could he be back in the starting lineup against Croatia?
The Danes have conceded only once in three games, and that was from the penalty spot against Australia. Kasper Schmeichel is one of the world’s best in net. They have Thomas Delaney patrolling the midfield, and they have proved effective thus far at stifling the life out of games. Their issue is scoring goals, as they have only managed two despite a superb playmaker in Christian Eriksen.
Croatia and Denmark previously met in a major tournament only once before, back at the Euro 1996 group stages which saw the Croats win 3-0. They have played five times overall with each winning two and one draw.
- 1-K. Schmeichel
- 4-S. Kjær
- 14-H. Dalsgaard
- 17-J. Larsen
- 6-A. Christensen
- 19-L. Schöne
- 8-T. Delaney
- 10-C. Eriksen
- 9-N. Jørgensen
- 20-Y. Poulsen
- 23-P. Sisto
Expert Final Score Prediction
Croatia 1 – Denmark 0
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