Russia vs. Croatia – Preview with Betting Odds, Prediction, and Pick
The host Russia is one of the most interesting teams in the soccer World Cup. The expectations of the country were low, but then the side won its first games convincingly and scored 8 goals in the process.
This lifted the nation, and everyone was suddenly behind the squad. Then came a reality check, when Russia was soundly beaten 3-0 by Uruguay, and the hopes were hindered to an extent.
The team managed to surprise everyone once more, as it showed exceptional resilience to hold Spain and reach the penalties. The Russians held their nerves in the shootout to win and reach the last 8.
This is already a huge success for the home team, but they have the potential to do more.
Still, the next opponent is Croatia, and this is one tough match-up. The Balkan team was one of the strongest in the group stage of the World Cup but almost got knocked out by Denmark in the last 16.
Let’s take a look at what comes next for both teams and if there are some good betting options available.
Russia vs. Croatia Betting Odds
First in line are the mainstream betting markets for this soccer World Cup quarterfinal.
Croatia is the logical favorite, according to the odds. The country was very convincing in the group stage and certainly has better individual players compared to Russia. The likes of Modric, Rakitic, and Mandzukic are a good example.
This is why I’m not surprised to see lower prices for Croatia to win in the regular time and to qualify in general.
As for the goals in this match, one could’ve expected something like that. Russia will probably try to defend for most of the game, while Croatia had a lot of trouble breaking down the Danish side who had a similar style.
Russia – A Whole Nation Believes
I think most Russians expected the country to fail in the soccer World Cup. Something like an honorable loss in the last 16 was the maximum, according to many.
Fast-forward to the present day, and the host nation has a real chance of reaching the semifinals. In fact, even the final is not that far-fetched at this point. Not only because it’s only two games away and you don’t even need to win them in regular time, but also because Russia showed enough to convince.
Sure, the country is certainly not the best team left in the soccer World Cup. It’s probably not even in the top 3, but if the Russians can beat a team like Spain, they could beat anyone with a bit of luck.
First of all, the team showed some brilliant stuff in attack in the group stage. The home nation scored all sorts of goals, including headers, shots outside of the box, and clear chances from open play.
Most importantly, they displayed a lot of spirit in the game against Spain. The opponent was clearly better and had some sublime players like Isco, Ramos, Diego Costa, and many others.
However, Russia was determined to fight until the end, and the sheer desire of the side gave them a chance, which they took.
The Russian midfield would struggle to control this game and win possession, so coach Stanislav Cherchesov will probably put a priority on shielding the back line.
This worked rather well against Spain, as the Russians limited the opportunities that the team created. Diego Costa and other offensive players had almost nothing to work with and scored only once in 120 minutes.
At the same time, Russia struggled to keep the ball and create many chances. The situation will probably be similar against Croatia but not as bad. I can see the home nation finding some opportunities, just as Denmark did in the last 16.
Finally, the home support is something that could lift the Russian team. It now has a whole country, and a big one, that’s fully behind them and believes. This should never be underestimated, and the support of the crowd will give the side an additional advantage.
Croatia – Exceptional Start, Shaky Last Match
There’s no doubt that Croatia has been one of the most impressive teams during the group stage of the soccer World Cup. The midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic was more than capable of controlling the games.
Croatia won all three matches from the first stage, including the impressive 3-0 against Argentina. The defense is one of the best out there, as it has only conceded twice so far, and one of the goals was in a match that didn’t matter for Croatia.
At the same time, the side was very dangerous up front and had a couple of different goalscorers. Pretty much any of the midfielders and forwards of the Balkan country are capable of finding the net, and there is some depth on the bench as well.
And yet, after the sublime performance in the group stage, Croatia struggled in their first knockout match against Denmark.
They failed to control the game to the extent we saw earlier in the World Cup. On top of that, they didn’t create as many chances up front and let the Scandinavians look at their goal rather often.
Still, I would say Croatia was slightly better and could’ve won the match before the penalty shootout. Luka Modric missed a penalty in the extra time, as man of the match Kasper Schmeichel once again proved that goalkeeping truly runs in the family.
The guy was able to save two more penalties and was extremely unlucky to end up on the losing side of this match.
Croatia may not have been at its best, but the team did show character to equalize quickly after going behind early in the match.
Even the best teams in the World Cup have bad days at the office and don’t play at their best sometimes. I still feel Croatia has huge potential, and the way the tournament has been developing, I won’t be surprised to see the team in the final.
However, they can’t afford more games like the one against Denmark, because a better team would certainly take advantage and knock them out. On the bright side, I don’t think Russia is that good, so the Croatians certainly fancy their chances to reach the last 4.
Russia – Croatia Prediction
I believe the midfield of Croatia will be able to easily establish control, and the team will have more of the ball for most of the game. At the same time, I expect Russia to defend deep and wait for their chances to hit on the counter.
I feel that Croatia is way better and should be able to find some openings. This is why my prediction is for the team to win 2-0. Still, if Russia somehow manages to score the first goal, they’ve got a shot at snatching the game.
Recommended Bets for Russia vs. Croatia
I expect a better game and a win in the regular time for Croatia in this match. The side is more balanced and should have learned their lesson after a rather poor match against Denmark.
This is why the price of 2.20 for Croatia to win after 90 minutes of play is my main pick.
I would also consider the over 2.5 goals market, as the price of 2.60 is way too high. Sure, Russia will go out and defend, but if Croatia goes ahead, the game will open up, and you never know how many goals could go in.
Still, this is the riskier pick, so I would recommend placing a smaller wager if you decide to go for it.
BetVictor Million Pound Bet
The pick for the BetVictor Million Pound Bet will be based on my intuition, as the PriceItUp for this match has yet to appear.
- Correct score 2-0
- Half time correct score 0-0
- Mario Mandzukic to score 1+ goals
- Luka Modric to score 1+ goals
- Russia over 1.5 cards in both halves
- Croatia over 3.5 corners in both halves
- Russia under 1.5 corners in both halves
- Croatia under 1.5 cards
I think Croatia can win and keep a clean sheet. Still, the Russians will defend hard and could keep the game tight in the first 45 minutes. I expect them to commit some fouls and see some cards. As for the corners, I expect Croatia to get plenty of them, in contrast to Russia.
This part of the soccer World Cup draw is very exciting. One among those two, England, and Sweden will reach the final! We haven’t seen any of those countries there in a long, long time.
As it stands, England and Croatia seem the most likely candidates, but the other two have their chances.
What is your opinion? Which country will reach the World Cup final? Let me know in the comment section below!