Our football match prediction:
Having survived Denmark in the last 16, Croatia will be looking to move one step closer to winning their first ever World Cup trophy when they face hosts Russia at Olimpiyskiy Stadion in Sochi. The Croats failed to impress in the triumph on penalties over Denmark, but given the quality of Zlatko Dalic’s team, it is no surprise the Vatreni are seen as favourites to win Sunday’s football match. A man to watch in the Croatian team will be Luka Modric, who has been producing very good performances at the showpiece tournament in Russia. The tournament hosts, on the other hand, did well to eliminate star-studded Spain in the last 16, but it has to be noted that La Roja dominated the game. Chelsea target Golovin is in the form of his life and all eyes will be on him when Russia face Croatia in the World Cup quarter-finals. A close encounter is on the cards and we predict that the game will go into extra-time.
Highlighted Player (Cherychev):
Probably the most famous Russian footballer never to have played for a domestic club, Denis Cheryshev was born in Nizhny Novgorod, but began his career at Sporting Gijon as his father played for the Spanish side at the time. The talented winger eventually caught the eye of Real Madrid and went on to spend eight years in the youth academy at Santiago Bernabeu before he was given a chance to impress on senior level. Due to a fierce competition for places in Madrid, Cheryshev was forced to gain much needed first team experience via loan spells at Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia, and he showed a great deal of potential during those stints, proving los Blancos were wrong to let him leave. Chersyhev has been in and out of the Russia national team since making his debut in 2012, but there is a good chance he will become an important member of Sbornaya Komanda as soon as he secures regular playing time at club level. The Russian footballer is capable of operating on either wing or through the middle, and he has proved to be quite prolific in terms of both goals and assists.
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.