Russia Vs Croatia Preview: Can Zlatko Dalic's men prevent a Denmark-like scare?
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
The hosts will be up against an all-star Vatreni side for a semi-final berth.
The Sbornaya have crossed all the objectives which were expected of them before this World Cup started. Although, the Russian target is to reach the semis, reaching the Round of 16 is in itself a good enough achievement. Well now, look at them! After coming second in Group A behind Uruguay, Russia scrapped past a devastated Spain side. Although, the injury to Alan Dzagoev in the first fixture was a blow, Stanislav Cherchesov's men have proved that hard work pays off, with a solid defensive display in their quarterfinal penalty shootout win.
Croatia are also having a dream run this time around, with a special trouncing of Argentina. Luka Modric and Co. have shown that they have what it takes to mix it with the big boys at the World Cup. The Vatreni can't really be counted out, with some heroic performances from the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Danijel Subasic and others. Nothing seems to be stopping them and after beating Denmark in a penalty shootout previously, they look set to go the distance. If the Croats win, they will face England or Sweden in the semi-finals.
About The Teams
Zlatko Dalic seems to have found a group of hungry players looking to put Croatia in the spotlight. After his heroics against Denmark, a lot will be expected again from Subasic. The Monaco man will have the likes of Dejan Lovren and Šime Vrsaljko in defense.
Rakitic and Modric will be expected to dictate the game from midfield. Mateo Kovacic could start.
Mandzukic, Rebic and Ivan Perisic will be expected to start up front and maybe score or create a goal or two.
This World Cup has become a show for the goalkeepers. With Igor Akinfeev in goal, the Russians know that they have a leader with massive experience there. He will be protected by the likes of Mario Fernandes and Sergei Ignashevich.
Roman Zobnin and Daler Kuzyayev will be expected to shore up the midfield. The returning Alan Dzagoev could also play some part, with Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin forming the attack.
The match will be played at Sochi's Fisht Stadium (44,287 capacity). The stadium has already hosted four group stage matches and a Round of 16 clash.
Russia: Akinfeev, Granat, Kudryashov, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Mario Fernandes, Golovin, Kuzyaev, Zobnin, Samedov, Dzyuba
Croatia: Subasić, Pivarić, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Brožović, Rakitić, Perišić, Modrić, Rebić, Mandžukić
Khel Now Predicts
Russia 0-1 Croatia
Published: Fri Jul 06, 2018 06:20 PM IST