Croatia managed to fend off Denmark’s challenge in their last-16 tie to earn their spot in the quarter finals. It is surprising to see Croatia at odds-against in this encounter even though they’re playing the hosts. Zlatko Dalic’s men have won five of their eight unbeaten major tournament matches (at 90 minutes) since the start of Euro 2016 and they should make their possession count more than the Spanish did. In fact, when playing teams ranked between 25th and 40th in our rankings Croatia have won four of their last five unbeaten matches. Russia meanwhile, have lost six of their last eight winless games against teams we rank in the top 20, as they’ve lost to nil in half of them.
The Croatians have built their game plan around a very strong defence and we struggle to see how the hosts will break that down given they’ve only conceded once from opening play in this tournament so far. Moreover, 16 of their last 25 matches since the start of qualification have seen at least one side fail to score, while Russia have had this in three of their last five major tournament matches.
Ivan Perisic has netted once already this tournament and seems to be growing in confidence as the tournament reaches its later stages. The winger has averaged nearly three shots per game so far, more than any of his teammates, while in his last against Denmark he had six shots and given that his side have scored the first of the game in four of their last five we’ll back him to do just that.