Russia vs. Croatia
- What: World Cup quarter-final
- When: Saturday 7 July
- Kick-off time: 7pm
- Where: Fisht Stadium, Sochi
- TV channel: live on ITV
Both Russia and Croatia made it through to the quarter-finals of the Fifa World Cup after penalty shoot-out victories in the last round - so you can expect another close, cagey encounter.
Russia beat Spain on spot-kicks in the last 16 but the host nation will still go into the match in Sochi as huge underdogs.
After the euphoria of beating the 2010 winners, Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov knows it will be another tough match against a talented Croatia side.
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He told Fifa.com: “I try not to watch TV, and read the newspapers. We are just concentrating on our job. The game against Spain was a very nice story for our country but now we must forget this.
“We don’t need any euphoria right now, because the tournament is still on. Some great teams have already left the tournament, and in a knockout game there’s no room for mistakes.”
After Croatia beat Denmark on penalties, skipper Luka Modric is dreaming that his nation can now go all the way and win the tournament.
He told Fifa.com: “Since 2008 we have never gone beyond this first knockout game and it was very important for us to get that monkey off our back.
“We have secured a great result after many years of trying and that means a lot to me. I’ve been in this team since 2008 and we have experienced several unlucky defeats in that time, particularly against Turkey and Portugal [at Euro 2016]. We needed some luck this time and I think we deserved it.
“To be at this World Cup is a great privilege. Playing for my team is a great honour and a pleasure, but to win the World Cup with Croatia is almost unthinkable, like the most beautiful fairy tale! It would be incredible to lift the trophy as captain.”
The London Evening Standard reports that Russia left winger Yuri Zhirkov could be ruled out of the match with a damaged tendon in his calf. The Daily Telegraph says that winger Aleksandr Samedov could face a late fitness test. Meanwhile, Croatia have a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Russia vs. Croatia predicted starting XIs
How the teams could line up at the Fisht Stadium, according to Fifa.com:
- Russia: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev; Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba
- Croatia: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
Russia vs. Croatia predictions
Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport: “Croatia really worried me in the last 16 against Denmark because they just disappeared in the second half. They got away with it this time, but they need to step it back up again against Russia. We know what to expect from the hosts - although their win over Spain on penalties was one of the results of the tournament, they basically played anti-football to get it. That got them through but it is not what we want at this stage of a World Cup, and I think they have had their moment in the sun. Prediction: Russia 0 Croatia 1.”
Martin Laurence, The Guardian: “Saturday night’s game is probably the toughest to call. These two sides have taken and conceded fewer shots on target than the other six quarter-finalists, so goals may be at a premium. The hosts will hope to ride the increasing wave of optimism but Croatia will surely improve from their last match and progress to the semi-finals. Prediction: Croatia 2-0 Russia.”
Russia vs. Croatia betting odds
Best prices according to Oddschecker (as of 6 July).
- Russia to win: 3/1
- Draw: 2/1
- Croatia to win: 13/10
- Fedor Smolov (Russia): 11/2
- No goalscorer: 5/1
- Mario Mandzukic (Croatia): 13/2
- Artem Dzyuba (Russia): 5/1
- Andrej Kramaric (Croatia): 6/1
- Ivan Perisic (Croatia): 13/2
- Ante Rebic (Croatia): 13/2
- Luka Modric (Croatia): 17/2
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