With all due respect to Russia, it is the worst team left in the 2018 World Cup but sometimes being the host country is a huge advantage and pushes a team to be better than they actually are. However, the Russians are solid soccer underdogs at MyBookie Sportsbook for their quarterfinal match against Croatia. The winner gets either England or Sweden.
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Russia vs Croatia 2018 World Cup Quarterfinals Betting Prediction
🇭🇷 Danijel Subašić 🙌
2018 World Cup save percentage: 87.5% pic.twitter.com/5bnXW4bp5z
— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) 4 de julio de 2018
- When: Saturday, 2 PM ET
- Where: Fisht Stadium, Sochi, Russia
- TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Quarterfinals Betting Odds: Croatia +122 / Russia +245 / Draw +205 (Total at 2 goals)
Why Bet on Russia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
- Captain: Igor Akinfeev
- FIFA Ranking: 70
- World Cup Appearances: 11
The Russians weren’t even expected to advance out of the group stage but here they are after a shocking 1-1 win over Spain on penalty kicks in the Round of 16. Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas during the penalty phase as the hosts ousted the 2010 champions. Artem Dzyuba had the lone Russian regulation goal. Dzyuba has scored with all three of his shots on target at the 2018 World Cup.
Host nations have now won each of their last five penalty shootouts at the World Cup since Italy lost to Argentina in the 1990 semi-final. Now Russia, the lowest-ranked nation at the finals, are three wins from glory. Although the Sbornaya had reached the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals four times in a row as the Soviet Union, from 1958 through to 1970, they had never previously got this far thanks to a penalty shoot-out.
By all measures, Spain should have won. They completed 1,029 passes to Russia’s 202 and dominated possession throughout. They had the more talented players and more experience. Yet none of it was enough. Spain’s only goal came from an own goal by Sergey Ignashevich and Russia’s five defenders at the back flummoxed Spain throughout.
Akinfeev has won countless matches and trophies, but that win is probably the biggest of his career so far. The best goalkeeper in the country played a phenomenal match when it was needed the most. Spain had 25 shots on goal: Akinfeev let one in off a deflection from Sergei Ignashevich’s shin but made nine saves in the game and two more in the penalty shootout.
Russia made four changes and switched to a back five as Mario Fernandes, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev and Aleksandr Golovin came in. Top scorer Denis Cheryshev was on the bench.
Russia has no suspended players but there are concerns over the fitness of left winger Yuri Zhirkov with a damaged tendon expected to rule him out of Saturday’s game. Russia switched to a three-man defense against Spain but may revert back to a 4-2-3-1 formation against Croatia, with Yuri Gazinskiy and Cheryshev returning to the starting XI.
- 1-I. Akinfeev
- 4-S. Ignashevich
- 2-M. Fernandes
- 3-I. Kutepov
- 18-Y. Zhirkov
- 19-A. Samedov
- 9-A. Dzagoev
- 8-Y. Gazinskiy
- 11-R. Zobnin
- 17-A. Golovin
- 10-F. Smolov
Why Bet on Croatia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Zlatko Dalić
- Captain: Luka Modric
- FIFA Ranking: 20
- World Cup Appearances: 5
Croatia, unbeaten in the group stage, moved on with a PKs win over Denmark after a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time. Ivan Rakitic was the matchwinner as Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties as Zlatko Dalic’s side reached the last eight for the first time since 1998.
“I was full of confidence ahead of the penalty shoot-out against Denmark. The day before the game I saved five or six penalties during the training session. It was not easy for us, the pressure was enormous,” Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic said.
Mario Mandzukic’s equalizer for Croatia after 3 minutes and 40 seconds was Croatia’s second-fastest World Cup goal, behind only Darijo Srna’s goal against Australia in June 2006 (1:56). Mandzukic scored his third World Cup goal for Croatia (also two goals in 2014), with only Davor Suker (6) scoring more for the Croatians.
Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic has undergone an MRI scan to determine the severity of the shoulder injury he sustained against Denmark. Kovacic was hurt late in the second half when he was tripped up and fell onto his right side with his right arm extended. His shoulder took the brunt of the fall, but he remained in the match. Kovacic entered in the 71st minute replacing Marcelo Brozovic. Kovacic has appeared in every match at the World Cup and started in the victory over Iceland.
The two nations have met three times previously, with Russia never victorious. They met twice during qualification for Euro 2008, both games ended as a draw, while their most recent clash saw Croatia saw three times in the final half an hour to run out 3-1 wins in 2015 friendly.
Croatia is aiming to match their best-ever showing when they made the semi-finals in 1994 in their first World Cup since gaining independence. Since then, it has been three group stage exits. Croatia has no suspended players or current fitness issues.
In their brief FIFA World Cup history, Croatia has faced the host nation on two previous occasions: in the semi-final of France 1998, they went ahead against the eventual champions but eventually lost 2-1, while they went down 3-1 to Brazil in the opening match of the 2014 tournament.
- 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
Expert Final Score Prediction
Croatia 1 – Russia 0