World Cup Preview – Quarter-Final | Russia v Croatia

Hosts Russia looks to continue their fairy tale story at this year’s World Cup finals as they take on Croatia in the last of the four semi-finals.

Russia and Croatia will know if they are facing England or Sweden in the last four by the time they meet in Sochi.

Like with the English and Swedes, both Russia and Croatia are fancying their chances of making the final, but Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov is trying not to get carried away with the hype surrounding his side.

“As a coach I am trying not to watch the TV, I don’t read papers, I am concentrating on my job. I believe that is the same for the players,” he added.

“You say people are euphoric: we, the people in the team, are not the people who should be euphoric. It is a good story to remind us of our game against Spain, for our country it is great step forward.

“While the tournament is still going on we see the team who was, theoretically, one of the best – Spain – have packed and gone home already.”

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic knows his side have a whole country to overcome.

“They have everyone behind them, the whole country wants them to win,” Dalic says.

“But my players have played in big matches, in big stadiums.

“We have done our work on them. Against Denmark, we did not expect Jonas Knudsen to keep throwing long-balls because he didn’t play in the last six matches. But he did and they scored. We will be ready for Russia. I believe in my players.”

See below for a preview on the game, including predictions from former England and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and bet365’s Steve Freeth.

Russia 19:00 Croatia
Fisht Stadium, Sochi

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

KEY FACT: Out of their five World Cup campaigns, this is the third time that Croatia have come up against the hosts
Match odds from bet365: RUSSIA 3/1 DRAW 2/1 CROATIA 5/4
bet365 Pick: Russia to qualify @11/8
ANDY SAYS: I don’t see Russia being able to trouble Croatia at all…0-3
GRAEME SAYS: Croatia have impressed me hugely and will win this for me…0-2
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Ivan Rakitic – next to Luka Modric he makes for a wonderful midfield and is very good value in the Index

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