Home Fifa World Cup - Russia 2018 Russia Vs Croatia match preview #Worldcup

Russia Vs Croatia match preview #Worldcup

Russia Vs Croatia

TEAM NEWS

Yuri Zhirkov, who began Russia’s last game at left wing-back, is ruled out with a calf problem.

Alan Dzagoev, who has not played since damaging his hamstring in the opening match, could come back into contention despite a back problem.

Croatia’s Ivan Strinic appeared to be nursing an injury when he was subbed after 81 minutes against Denmark, but is expected to be available.

Mateo Kovacic, who has been troubled by a shoulder problem, should also be fit.

OVERVIEW

Russia began this tournament without a win in seven friendlies, prompting some concern that – despite a kind draw – they could become only the second host nation to bow out in the group stage.

However, those negative thoughts quickly dissipated in the wake of the 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia and 3-1 victory versus Egypt.

They have found the going tougher in their last two games, registering just a single shot on target against both Uruguay and Spain.

In both matches they were content to allow their opponents to dominate possession, and that trend could continue against a Croatian side whose strength lies in midfield.

VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS

Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov: “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.

“I am trying not to get distracted. If I get a newspaper I will read a headline. Criticism is good but I believe we should have our eyes and ears open.

“We Russians like extremes so let’s not go to these extremes. I believe it should be constructive, analytical criticism.

“You say people are euphoric: we, the people in the team, are not the people who should be euphoric.”

Croatia winger Ante Rebic: “I think we have more quality in our team and I think we are going to be the ones to set the tone.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

We know what to expect from the hosts – although their win over Spain on penalties was one of the results of the tournament, they basically played anti-football to get it.

That got them through but it is not what we want at this stage of a World Cup, and I think they have had their moment in the sun.

Prediction: 0-1

Source – BBC Sport

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