Liverpool star Dejan Lovren and Chelsea-target Aleksandr Golovin should feature for opposing sides as Croatia and Russia meet at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in the final World Cup quarter-final clash at 7pm. Croatia are favourites to progress to the semi-final, but Russia have home advantage and have stunned their critics to make it this far in the tournament.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s Russia side finished second in Group A with six points from three games, beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their opener and Egypt 3-1 in their second outing. Russia lost their final group game 3-0 to Uruguay. In the last-16, the host nation eliminated 2010 World champions Spain on penalties after drawing 1-1 after extra time.
Russia have Artem Dzuba to thank for their current success, with the forward scoring three goals in as many tournament starts. Golovin has contributed three goals too and has impressed Chelsea enough for them to consider signing him. Russia’s defence could be their weakness. They’ve shipped five goals in the World Cup, keeping only one clean sheet at the start of the tournament, so Croatia might fancy their chances of capitalising.
As for the opposition, Zlatko Dalić’s side finished top of Group D with nine points from three games, beating Nigeria 2-0, Argentina 3-0 and Iceland 2-1. In the last-16, Croatia beat Denmark on penalties after drawing 1-1 in extra time. Luka Modric has been a star performer, scoring twice in four appearance and pulling the strings in midfield, but six players have got on the scoresheet for them.
Croatia have a mean defensive record, shipping only two goals in four games, which is in part down to Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren. They also have the fire-power to see past Russia in this evening’s World Cup quarter-final clash.
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