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Russia v Croatia World Cup Preview - Can Croatia spoil Russia’s fairytale run?

Rippa Staff 5 Jul 2018
  • Can Russia continue their fairytale run? 
  • Will we see another defensive showing? 
  • Croatia will need to raise their level.

A nation will pause on Saturday, July 7 (Sunday AEST) as Russia will aim to continue their memorable World Cup run when they face Croatia at Fight Olympic Stadium. 

Russia v Croatia kicks off at 4.00am AEST on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on SBS in Australia. 

Prediction 

Match Preview 


Russia came into this World Cup with low expectations. Yes, they were the host nation, however, they were also the lowest ranked nation in the tournament. Two short weeks later and they are only three victories from being the most unlikely World Cup champions. 

They started the tournament with impressive victories over Saudi Arabia (5-0) and Egypt (3-1). Expectations were tempered with a 0-3 loss against Uruguay to end the group stage matches. Russia advanced to the round of 16 and were heavy underdogs against a powerful Spain side that was expected to advance past Russia with ease. 

Spain scored early in the first half before Russia hit back with a penalty from Artem Dzyuba in the 41st minute. Russia then elected to play a defensive style of play, sitting back and stifling their opponents. The tactics worked as the match finished 1-1 after extra time, with Russia eliminating Spain on penalties. 

Russia eliminated Spain on penalties after they chose to sit back and stifle their opponents, the match finishing 1-1 after extra time with both goals being scored in the opening 45 minutes and the hosts equalising from the spot through Artem Dzyuba.

Given the way those tactics paid off, it would be surprising if manager Stanislav Cherchesov opted for a more expansive approach this time considering his side is again the outsiders to progress. 

Croatia also played a defensive style of match in their round of 16 clash against Denmark. After two quick goals in the opening five minutes, the match was a gridlock for the next 115 minutes as honestly, not much happened. Luka Modric missed a penalty in extra time but made amends as Croatia defeated Denmark on penalties. 

It was an off-day for Croatia, as they had played terrific, free-flowing football in the Group stages, outscoring their opponents seven goals to one. I was surprised to see the defensive style adopted by the Croatians. 

Stats 

  • Both teams got through the round of 16 by winning a penalty shootout. 
  • Croatia has kept a clean sheet in two of their last four matches. 
  • Russia has a +4 goal differential over their four World Cup matches. 

Tips 


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Russia v Croatia World Cup Preview - Can Croatia spoil Russia’s fairytale run?

A nation will pause on Saturday, July 7 (Sunday AEST) as Russia will aim to continue their memorable World Cup run when they face Croatia at Fight Olympic Stadium.

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