Russia Was Done In By Croatia 4-3 For The World Cup In Russia On 7th Of July 2018

I’m no sports enthusiast but may I say that I’m thrilled that Russia lost in the 2018 World Cup’s soccer competition to Croatia on the 7th day of July 2018.

Rakitic with the winning penalty!

As per the 7/7/18 Independent  report,  “Croatia beat Russia on penalty kicks to reach the semi-final stage of the tournament for the first time since France 1998.”

“Denis Cheryshev gave Russia the lead with a superb curled finish, but Croatia equalised when Andrej Kramarić scored just before half-time.”

“Domagoj Vida thought he had won the game with a header in the first-half of extra time, only for Mário Figueira Fernandes to take the game to penalties with a last-gasp equaliser.”

What an end to the game, Croatia were cool throughout the penalties but now it’s official England vs Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday (7/11/18). and France vs Belgium on Tuesday (7/10/18).
(L-R) Igor Akinfeev and Aleksandr Golovin of Russia will take on Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic of Croatia in the World Cup 2018 quarter-final. (Photo: FIFA )

On July 6, 2018, Robert Kidd of Forbes penned the following report, “Russia Vs. Croatia World Cup 2018 Quarterfinal: 5 Things To Know

Russia and Croatia will meet in the World Cup’s fourth quarterfinal. Here are five things to know about the match and a prediction of how it will finish.

What do you need to know about the other quarterfinals? Check out my previews of Uruguay vs. FranceBrazil vs. Belgium and Sweden Vs. England.

Image result for photos of Ivan RakiticIt’s a mismatch

“At least in population terms. Russia has 142 million people spread out over the world’s largest country while Croatia has just 4.1 million, a shade fewer than Kentucky. Even with a population nearly 35 times smaller than their opponents, Croatia are not the smallest country left in the last eight. That is Uruguay, with 3.5 million.”

“Despite its size, Croatia produces remarkable number of technically-excellent soccer players. Legendary striker Davor Suker, who won the World Cup golden boot as Croatia finished third in 1998, told BBC Sport the nation’s impressive production line of talent and tournament record (more below) is a “world record”.

Maxim Zmeyev Agence France Presse-Getty Images

This could be Croatia’s best chance for a while

“Since being admitted to UEFA and FIFA after independence from Yugoslavia, Croatia have been a regular at major tournaments, qualifying for 10 of the past 12. Their best World Cup finish was third in 1998, when a spectacular ‘golden generation’ team beat Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals and only lost in the semi-final to eventual winners France.”

“Even with a steady stream of talent coming through, this Croatia team appears blessed with a special blend. The midfield, in particular, has an enviable El Clásico combination of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitić. Alongside them is Inter Milan’s Ivan Perišić and upfront the warrior-like Mario Mandžukić. Other than Perišić (29) though, the trio are all the wrong side of 30 and may not see another World Cup. If they beat Russia, Sweden or England lie in wait. Croatia shouldn’t be scared of either and will see this as a great chance to better 1998.”

Image result for photo of Artem Dzyuba

Artem Dzyuba is a handful

The 6 ft 5 in striker has been one of Russia’s most dangerous players but has not always been in favor. An outspoken character, Dzyuba was left out by the national team for a year after an alleged row with coach Stanislav Cherchesov and subsequent video mocking Cherchesov’s mustache.

Russia will be glad the 2 have patched things up. Dzyuba – who plays his club soccer in Russia – started the tournament with a goal against Saudi Arabia, 89 seconds after coming off the bench. He has scored two more since, including a crucial penalty against Spain. Dejan Lovren, Croatia’s strong but error-prone centre-back, will likely be tasked with marking Dzyuba.

Croatia’s players celebrate win at the end of the penalty shootouts. Credit Antonin Thuillier/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Neither team will fear penalties

Both sides came through their Round of 16 matches via a penalty shootout so shouldn’t fear another. For Russia, Captain Igor Akinfeev saved two penalties in their shock win over Spain. Croatia keeper Danijel Subašić went one better – saving three as Croatia overcame Denmark.

Croatia captain Luka Modric might not be so keen though. The midfielder missed a penalty in the second half of extra time, firing weakly at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. His successful shot in the shootout was only slightly more convincing. Modric is one of the best players in the tournament but his confidence from the spot may well be shaken.

CROATIA’S DOMAGOJ VIDA SCORES GOAL/ Catherine Ivill/ Getty Images

Few thought Russia would get this far

The hosts are the lowest-ranked team in tournament (70th) and lack truly world-class players. I backed them to come through their group but, like most people, gave them no chance against 2010 champions Spain. Their surprise win wasn’t pretty but it took them to the quarter-finals for the first time as an independent Russia.

The Soviet Union reached the semi-finals back in 1966 and Russia have a great opportunity to at least match it. Croatia looked fantastic in the group stage – especially the 3-0 win over Argentina – but their performance against Denmark was poor. If Croatia don’t show up, Russia, backed by a vociferous home crowd, will punish them.

Croatia’s fans celebrate in Zagreb, Croatia/ Antonio Bronic Getty Images

Prediction

Russia have had a good run, but Croatia should have enough, provided they improve on their showing in the Round of 16 win over Denmark. I think Croatia will win, 1-0.

For analysis see the following references:

Russia vs. Croatia World Cup 2018 final result and analysis – / Washington Post

Croatia Crushes Russia’s 2018 World Cup Dream – The New York Times

World Cup 2018: Russia 2-2 Croatia (aet; Croatia win 4-3 on pens/ /Guardian …

5 comments

  1. From a purely athletic standpoint, barring politics, commentators and sports analyst are proclaiming this world cup to be the finest in recent memory. Ever game was exciting and very close, with edge of your seat suspense where teams from either side could win at any moment!

    Russia was decidedly the wildcard underdog considering they were ranked last and one of the weakest teams of any nation. The fact that they made it all the way to the quarters was a miracle in itself. Everyone expected Russia to lose in the early rounds but they shocked and awed to everyone’s surprise. Their winning streak was attributed to the energy of the Russian fans, enjoying the home team advantage, and gaining widespread support along the way. I have to give them credit for playing so well despite their lack of international experience and endurance (the newly formed team only played regionally among themselves) and never competed at this international world class level against professional teams. They’re basically one step above amateur level and would never even be considered to enter the world cup qualifiers. They were allowed a free pass to compete only b/c Russia is the host nation and it is tradition to allow the host team to play without qualifying. Sadly the US never made it through the tough qualifying process and was not invited. The great news is our allies England and France are still in it!

    This world cup is too close to call, any one of these fine teams have equal chances of success and all teams from every nation should be really proud to perform at such a high level for the fans, easily one of the best, most enjoyable and memorable World Cup competition in a very long time. Great spirit, athleticism, camaraderie, crazy energy, exciting and unpredictable all around fun!

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      You are absolutely right! These World Cup Soccer games have been full of suspense and surprises. Russia did perform well.

      I am looking forward to the remaining games.

      Hugs, Gronda

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