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Russia vs Croatia - World Cup 2018 Preview and Odds

Published on: 07/07/2018

Russia vs Croatia - World Cup 2018 Preview and Odds

July 07, 2018 19:00pm - Fisht Stadium

World Cup Russia 2018 - Quarter-final

A Russian team has never been ranked lower than the one that will take on Croatia in the World Cup quarter-final in Sochi on Saturday.

Even with home support, the wind behind them and a little luck on their side, the Russian fans never imagined their team of outsiders who had performed so dismally in the run up to the tournament would make it his far. But here they are, in with a chance of meeting Sweden or England in the semi-finals.

The Soviet Union team reached the quarter-final atage and the semi-finals once in four consecutive World Cups between 1958 and 1970 but since the break-up of the republics, Russia had never previously emerged from the group stages and failed to qualify for three out of six tournaments.

Had they not hosted this event, there is a high probability that they would not had featured at all, having slipped to 70th in the rankings, lower than any other team that qualified. But something remarkable has happened and the team and Coach deserve full credit for defying the odds.

Despite their resurgence, Russia will head into this all-European clash as underdogs. Their opponents, Croatia, are unbeaten so far and have played some scintillating football at times. But they were held 1-1 by Denmark in the Round of 16 and needed a penalty shootout to progress. That match would have given hope to the Russians.

Russia also have the experience of a penalty shootout under their belt having sent Spain packing in the last round. That game drew a mixed reaction as the hosts were accused of deploying an anti-football strategy to nullify Spain`s passing game. However, the tactic worked to great effect and was arguably the only option they had against technically superior opponents.

Croatia were dominant in the group stages but wavered a little in the first knockout game. They were clear favourites to beat Denmark but had to rely on their penalty taking prowess to see them through. They reached the semi-final back in 1998 but this is the first time they have progressed to the knockout stage since.

Russia predicted starting XI:

Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Kudryashov, Gazinskiy, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev, Dzyuba

Croatia predicted starting XI:

Subasic, Strinic, Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko, Rebic, Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic

Recent Form (All comps)

Russia: DLWWD

Croatia: DWWWW

Betting odds and tips

Russia have shown they are willing to adopt whatever tactics are required to progress. If Croatia put them under the cosh, the hosts are likely to retreat and attempt to shut up shop. With the home crowd behind them, they would fancy their chances in another penalty shootout.

You can back the Draw at 21/10.

By Neil Morris

Russia v Croatia Live Betting Odds - World Cup 2018

Home Win
Away Win

Published on: 07/07/2018

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (07/07/2018 12:30:58) but are subject to change.