Russia vs Croatia preview, betting tips and prediction

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The pressure is going to increase on the hosts…

When Russia came into this tournament, nobody expected them to progress the way they have. In fact, there weren’t many oriole who believed they would get out of the group stage. Their home fans may have been there, but the pessimism surrounding the team before they kicked off against Saudi Arabia meant that their support was touch and go. An impressive 5-0 win soon changed that, though; after another comprehensive win over Egypt in the second game, the entire nation was gripped by football fever. They may have lost to Uruguay, meaning they had to settle for second place in Group A and a clash with Spain, but the win over them on penalties means they come into Saturday’s quarter final with Croatia full of belief.

Both of these teams will really fancy their chances of a win and even a shot at the World Cup final. Traditional powerhouses like Germany, Argentina and Spain are out of the competition already, while France, Brazil, Belgium and Uruguay are all facing each other on the other side of the draw. The winner of this game faces either England or Sweden, but by the time kick off comes around, they will know what’s in store. Croatia are favourites on paper as their “golden generation” continues to hunt for success one last time, but they were lucky to get past Denmark in the way they did and haven’t been entirely convincing. They have more experience and better players, and despite Russia having a huge advantage in terms of support, we are backing them to prevail.

Our tip for anytime goalscorer, though, is Artem Dzyuba at 23/10. The Russian front man started the tournament on the bench and under a cloud having fallen out with manager Stanislaw Cherchesov, but since coming on as a substitute in the first game, he has scored three goals, including the equaliser against Spain from the penalty spot, and led the line brilliantly. Everything goes through him, and though we are tipping Croatia to win, Dzyuba offers great value.

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