World Cup 2018 | Russia v Croatia Tips | 7th July 2018
The quarter-finals concludes on Saturday as Russia play Croatia in Sochi. Ben Levene shares his best betting angle.
Hosts Russia have exceeded expectation so far this tournament. They overcame Spain on penalties last time out, after a resolute performance.
Croatia also cemented their quarter-final status via spot-kicks. They were second-best to Denmark during the time prior however. Zlatko Dalic’s unit have been underwhelming barring the second-half against Argentina during the group stage.
Croatia are favourites here, and it’s difficult to argue against that given the talent they own. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the middle of midfield play at the elite level. However, it is Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic who have posed Croatia’s biggest threat at this tournament. The wide men are strong runners and are suited to playing on the counter.
Both sides were taken all the way in their last 16 ties, and that’s something we must acknowledge.
Since 1998 just 5/24 (21%) of teams to win a World Cup game beyond 90 minutes went on to win in the 90 the following game. Similarly, 15/21 games involving a side take beyond 90 in the previous round saw under 2.5 goals.
There is a quick turnover games, so as you’d expect, historically playing off the back of a penalty shootout has taken its toll.
Since 1998 there have been two World Cup encounters between two sides taken to penalties in their previous match. Those ended 0-0 and 1-0.
With this in mind, a slow burner could be on the cards. The 0-0 Half-time correct score is 13/10 and looks the best play here.