Russia has made a huge surprise reaching the last eight of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in front of the home fans. On the other side, Croatia has satisfied the odds making it to the knock-out phase, but the Blazers will want more, for sure. Sbornaya will lock horns with the Blazers on this Saturday, July 7th, 2018, at Fisht Stadium in Sochi where the bettors can expect a great battle with a potentially dramatic finish.
Russia vs. Croatia
3-Way: 1: Russia +300; X: +210 Draw; 2: Croatia +120 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread +0.5: Russia -140; Croatia +120
Total +2: Over +104; Under -112
Recent Form and Team News
Russia easily qualified from the Group A, but the hosts were huge underdogs to beat Spain in the Round of 16. However, Sbornaya parked the bus in front of their own net, resisting the Red Fury for 120 minutes of soccer to earn a well-deserved victory after the penalty shootout. Although Russia has created just one decent scoring opportunity, their defensive work has been remarkable, while the head coach Stanislav Cherchesov is certainly pleased with the combat spirit among his squad. The attacking potential is obviously limited, but Sbornaya has a massive support from the stands.
Croatia has recorded all three wins in the Group D to reach the last 16 where the Blazers have beaten Denmark, also after a penalty shootout. It was a dramatic clash that could go either way, while Luka Modric missed from the penalty spot in the 117th minute of the match, but the Blazers had an amazing Danijel Subasic between the sticks to save the day. Croatia is a well-balanced team with several exceptional individuals in the middle of the park, so the manager Zlatko Dalic insists on a short-passing style of play, but Blazers are also dangerous on the counter.
Players to Watch
The talented midfielder Aleksandr Golovin will be a key figure in Russia’s midfield, while the powerhouse forward Artem Dzyuba should be the main weapon in the final third. The experienced keeper Igor Akinfeev had a fantastic game against Spain, and he needs to continue with strong displays.
On the other side, the captain Luka Modric will lead his side, while Ivan Rakitic will be another key player in Croatia’s midfield. Likewise, wingers Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic should make some damage against slow Russia’s defense, while Dejan Lovren will hold the things at the back.
Betting Trends and Latest Odds
- Russia lost just one out of the last five matches
- Russia kept the net intact once in those five tilts
- Russia is a +2000 out-of-towner to beat the 2018 World Cup
- Russia is at +400 to be eliminated by a penalty shootout
- Croatia won four out of the last five games
- Croatia scored in each but one out of the previous seven affairs
- Croatia is a +600 favorite to win the title
- Croatia is at +400 to be eliminated by a penalty shootout
On a paper, Croatia is certainly a better team than Russia, and so far, the Blazers has shown they are capable of creating chances in sequences. Their defensive work has been excellent, conceding just two goals in four matches, so the only mystery is their mental strength to cope with the pressure. On the other side, the hosts will have the whole audience behind them which is also a specific pressure, so the bettors should expect to see a dramatic battle at Fisht Stadium.
I will go with Croatia, as the Blazers should control this game, and if they avoid any silly mistakes at the back, the Semi-Final will be very close. I don’t believe we’ll see a bunch of goals in this one, but the bettors can check out all lines and markets on BetDSI Sportsbook.
The Pick: Croatia (+120)