Regardless of whether they are the host team, it has still been a remarkable achievement for Russia to get through to the knockout stage of the World Cup, and now the lowest-rated team remaining has a chance to advance to the semi-finals, which would make things even more amazing. All they have to do is get by Croatia. This match is scheduled for Saturday at 2 PM ET in Sochi, and at VietBet you can engage in the action even after the kickoff as you place wagers through Live Betting Ultra.
Russia is 66th in the world according to FIFA, and even though they were placed into a group that offered a good shot to advance (Group A), the general impression was that not only did they not have the sharpness that usually comes through a process of qualifying (they were exempt from that as the host), but that various injuries weakened the squad. And that is why coach Stanislav Cherchesov deserves all the credit in the world for getting this team as far as it has.
One of the things he did that was particularly notable was moving from four backs to three, and in addition to this, they have had players step up when teammates have gone down. A case in point is Denis Cheryshev, who began the tournament on the bench. Alan Dzagoev suffered a hamstring injury and has not returned to the pitch, and all Cheryshev did was score three times over the first two matches.
Croatia has the look of a team that has all the capability in the world to get to the final game. And against Denmark, they had to really sweat it out, as they were behind the eight-ball early. The dangerous Danes scored about a minute into the contest, but Croatia came right back with a goal of its own. They had gone through the group stage giving up just one goal, and in one of those matchups they threw a clean sheet at Lionel Messi and Argentina, prevailing 3-0. They are for real.
In the World Cup odds that have been placed on this match by the folks at VietBet, the Croatians are the favorites:
Croatia -1/2 Goal +107
Russia +1/2 Goal -122
Over 2 Goals -106
Under 2 Goals -109
Russia did not get here through a fluke; they chalked up a major upset in the Round of 16 by defeating Spain, one of the favored teams in this tournament, on penalty kicks. And perhaps the big surprise here is that they defended so well, yielding an “own goal” and nothing else.
When it came down to it, the big hero for Russia in the first knockout game was goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who made two big saves in the shootout. He’s been under plenty of pressure thus far, but the captain has proven to be equal to the task.
Will he continue to be? Croatia probably has one of the best midfields in the tournament, and that is led by Luka Modric of Real Madrid, who had an opportunity to win it against Denmark with a penalty kick during extra time, but later made up for that mishap by banging one home during the final shootout.
Going through some of the other World Cup props at VietBet (and there are a lot of them), Croatia is -165 to score the first goal (Russia is +145), and there is a price of +505 that the first goal will come in the first ten minutes of the contest. This is interesting, since Croatia’s last match against Denmark had TWO goals within that time frame.
You’d have to lay -870 that Russia wins or ties either of the two halves, and it’s +3000 (30/1) that Croatia will be behind at the half but then come back and win the match in regulation time (90 minutes plus stoppage time). Remember that you CAN bet the draw on that basis as well.
When you listen to a lot of the “experts,” while they admire what Russia has been able to accomplish here, including the win over Spain, they believe the clock will strike twelve on this Cinderella. After all, they might not have been here at all if not for the fact that they were in with a couple of rather weak team in Group A. Akinfeev was stellar in the shootout with Spain, but remember that Croatia, in its own shootout, managed to beat Kasper Schmeichel, who had a hot hand. There is another factor to be considered here – that of “home cooking,” meaning some VERY favorable calls by officials, and such a thing has been acknowledged by some. In an organization like FIFA, don’t discount it.
There are several betting options on this game, and one of those includes a price on either team advancing from here – which takes into account a win in overtime or an penalty kicks. Croatia is listed at -190 in that regard, and considering how sharp they appear to be on both sides of the ball, in addition to their ability to – borrowing from a phrase used in American football – be a second-half team, we’ll opt to take the much stronger side.
We’ll also take Croatia by a 2-0 final, for which you can get a price of +695 at VietBet, which is your headquarters for tremendous action in the World Cup, with plenty of props and Live Betting Ultra………. Make your deposits with your Visa card, person-to-person transfers and the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system, and NEVER incurs a transaction fee!