Russia vs Croatia
Two of the semifinalists are clear and it's time to understand which teams will join France and Belgium in both European matches we will see tomorrow. One of them is between the hosts Russia and one of the surprises in the tournament Croatia.
Everyone know that Croatia have really quality team full of players who play in big European teams. What was the biggest lack of their team in the last years- it's the achievements in the biggest tournaments! Well, it's World cup, the biggest one, Croatia are in the quarterfinal, so finally they succeeded to prove their potential is still alive and can transform it why not into medals and participation in the big final. We will see, first job is called Russia before the SFs and at first you can easily say, that there were so many teams in the cup, which can be much more dangerous than Russia, but we don't have to forget that they are the hosts and crowd will be their 12th player on the pitch.
Croatia impressed in the group with 3 wins against Argentina,Iceland and Nigeria, but against Denmark their performance was not the best one. What I liked really in this match was that they went on the pitch to play attacking football from the first minute. They made record with the two fastest goals in World cups and had so many goal chances especially during the 1st half. Schmeichel saved a penalty in the extra time, which made the drama even bigger before the real final with penalties. Subasic and Schmeichel were fantastic, but the Croatian was the one who saved one more and Croatia progressed. Only Kovacic is doubtful for this QF against Russia.
Russia made superb two matches in the group A against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but Uruguay totally outplayed them. Their coach said they don't have to panic because of the classical loss they earned and what's better gift than elimination of one of the favourites before the start of the tournament- Spain! Of course, Spain were much better, they had enormous possession, a lot more shots on and off target, also took the lead, but Russia equalized via penalty in the end of the 1st half. The defense was brilliant till the end of the match and in the penalty shoot out Akinfeev saved two penalties, while De Gea maybe a little bit disappointed, although it's real lottery to guess the direction of the shots. Nevermind, Russia are in the QFs and they will hope their dream not to finish yet. Dzagoev and Zhirkov are dounftul for the match and maybe they will stay on the bench.
Both teams have one current match in the end of 2015, when in friendly game Croatia beat Russia 3:1. I don't expect such defensive tactic by Cherchesov tomorrow and Russia will create much more in forward positions than against Spain, while Croatia have much more individual quality, but it's never easy to play against the hosts of any tournament. That's the only reason not to point Croatia to win or to progress that easy. I will go with BTTS, which looks like a little bit underrated by bookies for me. Russia and Croatia have the quality to score in the regular time.
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Russia vs Croatia prediction
|BTTS-Yes||Bet365||2.20||9||1-1 WON (+10.8 units)|