Our prediction for this match:
Brazil and Croatia, the two old rivals, square off against each other at Anfield, in what is expected to be a real football festival. The Selecao are seen as hot favourites to win Sunday’s football match, but it has to be noted that key player Neymar has yet to overcome his long-term injury. In Neymar’s absence, all eyes will be on Manchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus, who is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back-line. The Croats, on the other hand, proved their worth in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Mexico in March, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against the South American giants. Croatia aim to get their revenge on Brazil for the unfair defeat at the 2014 World Cup, but that is easier said than done.
Highlighted Player (Thiago Silva):
Brazilian defender Thiago Silva is one of the highest rated defenders in world football. Having emerged from Fluminense youth ranks, the 31-year-old defender established himself as a world-class performer while plying his trade for AC Milan from 2009 to 2012.
Having largely contributed to Rossonerri’s title winning campaign in 2010-11, Thiago Silva moved to Paris Saint-Germain together with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a reported fee worth €42 million, which made him then second-most expensive defender in football history after Rio Ferdinand.
Silva was an immediate success at the French club, helping Les Parisiens win four consecutive Ligue 1 titles in the process. Heavily linked with a move away from Parc des Princes, fan favourite Thiago Silva remains a key figure at Paris Saint-Germain and a leader of the new wave under head coach Unai Emery. Having already surpassed the 100-game mark for the French giants, Thiago Silva is slowly writing his name in the history books of Paris Saint-Germain.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments.
Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals.
Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.