For Russia the 2018 World Cup has been a dream come true. Despite protests about Vladimir Putin’s country being named host country the event itself has been a marked success. As for the much derided Russian football team they have gone much further than anyone could have hoped for and dreamed of.
Beyond that the Russians are coming off arguably the greatest and most historic win in their history. But now they will face their most difficult opponent yet. Red hot Croatia has served notice that they are a World Class squad fully capable of winning it all. Their success, while surprising, is no accident.
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2018 FIFA World Cup Russia vs. Croatia
Date and Time: Saturday, July 7, 2018, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
World Cup Betting Online Odds at BetCris: Croatia – ½ +122, Russia + ½ -137, Over 2 +105, Under 2 -120, Croatia +126, Russia +291, Draw +211
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings
Russia’s Group A Bid
In the opening game the host nation plays the only match of that day. Russia wasted no time in creating fireworks with a truly impressive 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. The momentum continued in their second match as the Russian’s prevailed 3-0 against Egypt. The Pharaohs were considered to be an improved team but it was no contest. In the Group A championship match against stout Uruguay the Russians went down to defeat 3-0. But even with that defeat the home team gained enormous respect and made the knockout stage.
Croatia Blazes Trail in Group D
Croatia won a tight 2-0 opener against Nigeria as Luka Modric began what has been an outstanding tournament for him with a goal. But it was the Blazers second match that garnered the attention and respect of the world. Croatia dominated Lionel Messi and Argentina 3-0 with Modric again scoring a goal and controlling much of the pitch for most of the day. Against a hard working but outgunned Iceland team Croatia completed a perfect Group D record with a 2-1 victory.
Knockout for the Ages
In the round of 16 Russia drew a top tier super power in Spain. But they also fortunately drew a team that had the moronic idiocy to fire its manager on the eve of the tournament. That chaos created Russia’s opportunity. The played Spain to a 1-1 draw and won on penalties 4-3. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was touted as one of the best in the world prior to the tournament. His two key saves in the penalty phase made him a national hero for the rest of his life. It was a win for the ages by the Russian squad. And a classic case of making their own luck!
Close Shave for Blazers
Croatia had a more difficult match than expected against Denmark in the Round of 16. The Blazers and Danes played to a 1-1 draw. Croatia won on penalties 3-2. Modric’s penalty goal provided the winning margin. He has continued to add to his reputation as the best midfielder in the world.
Russia vs. Croatia Free Picks.
Regardless of what happens this has been a successful World Cup for Russia. But the fact remains they are outclassed here. Croatia has the world’s best midfield. Russia had to muck it up against rattled and distracted Spain to force a penalty. It’s to their credit that it worked but Croatia will be a different story. They are focused and well organized. Beyond that the Blazers will have the best player on the pitch in Luka Modric. Nobody on the Russian roster can compare. Eventually Croatia will grind down and frustrate Russia. And Modric is just the man to finish this off. Croatia is deeper, more talented, and has new found confidence.
Russia vs. Croatia Pick: Bet the money line on Croatia
Russia vs. Croatia Score Prediction: Croatia 1, Russia 0
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