Croatia and Russia will compete for semi-finals in Fisht Olympic Stadium on July 7. Russia has proved an important point after coming this far in the World Cup 2018. No one had anticipated that a frail-looking team like Russia would even be able to qualify for the round-of-16.

Russia pulled out the biggest shock of this year’s World Cup when they stunned the 2010 World Cup winners, Spain, and knocked them out of the World Cup on penalty-kicks in extra-time in the round-of-16. It was totally out of the blue for Spain when they realized they’ve been knocked out by a naive team like Russia.

Croatia has also emphasized their worth to win the World Cup. They are an unbeaten team so far and defeated Denmark in the knockout stage to qualify for the quarter-finals. Telegraph noted that Croatia has scored a total of eight goals so far and conceded only two. These stats prove this team isn’t to be taken for granted.

What to expect: Russia vs Croatia

Soccer fans should expect unexpected and miraculous results again. Before the beginning of the World Cup, anyone would’ve chosen Croatia to win against Russia, but not now. Russia is no longer a team to be taken lightly. Spain made that mistake and regretted it deeply.

Undoubtedly, the Russian players have the confidence to take on an experienced team like Croatia.

Russian fans in the stadium will be a plus point for the home team as the team has felt their fans' energy in every game. Russian fans have played the part of the 12th man in every game for their team.

Luminaries in Croatian playing-11: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, and Mandzukic, have to show their innate qualities to stun Russia and reach the semi-finals.

They can’t go in with their ordinary playing style to take on Russia.

Playing-11 prediction

According to the Bleacher Report, Croatia is likely to come up with an unchanged playing-11 from their last game in the round-of-16. None of their players have picked up any suspension or injury and everyone is ready to be featured against the host nation.

Croatia lineup: Subasic, Strinic, Vida, Lovern, Vrsaljko, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic.

Russian players are also suspension-free for the game, but winger Yuri Zhirkov is doubtful due to a minor injury. Golovin and Cheryshev will be in the spotlight for Russia in the game.

Russia lineup: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Kudryashov, Gazyinsky, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev, Dzyuba.