Spain to struggle against Russia… Match day predictions

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Spain vs Russia (July 1, 2018 3:00pm)

Isco of Spain and Aleksandr Golovin of Russia (Image from sports.ndtv.com)

The global debate of who is the greatest of all time in the soccer sphere went to sleep for good last night when both suspects, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both crashed out in the hands of France, inspired by teenage sensation, Kylian Mbappe and Uruguay, powered by Edison Cavani respectively. Spain will entertain Russia for the rights to play winners of the clash between Croatia and Denmark in a game that will stun most bookmakers. This World Cup hasn’t been great for goalkeepers, the top shot stoppers have been embarrassed without respect, David De Gea has conceded from every shot he has faced within his frame, Manuel Neuer was made ordinary despite how much he tried to show he’s not a spent force, it doesn’t look like the end of it has come as Russia will look to heap more misery on La Roja who haven’t really impressed in this tournament. Spain topped the group with a debatable Iago Aspas strike at the tail end of their clash against Morocco with question marks around the efficacy of the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Russia fell 3:0 to Uruguay, although they had a few players rested, they proved their real mettle against Egypt and Saudi Arabia, scoring eight in the process, the hosts have it all to do now against one of the best sides on paper in the competition, football is not known to respect names or history, Russia will trouble Spain. Spain have failed to play as a team, relying solely on individual brilliances and the experience of creator in chief, Andreas Iniesta, Russia is filled with lots of average players on ambitious energy, they run tirelessly, attack with purpose and defend as a unit, the decision making of former Real Madrid man, Cheryshev will come handy, it will be an interesting game.

Verdict: Russia to advance

 

Croatia vs Denmark (July 1, 2018 7:00pm)

Christian Eriksen,Denmark and Luka Modric of Croatia (Image from sports.ndtv.com)

This is one game that could likely drag into extra time, both sides are the most underrated in the competition, both have only conceded once in the tournament and they have both played juggernauts of world football in France and Argentina without being hurt. Croatia clinically took Argentina to the cleaners, wiping them off the surface with a sensational performance that will take eternity to forget in the Argentina books, Denmark played France on a day they needed a point, they played for it and were the better of the two on the day. Croatia is the strongest in the middle, apart from France and Belgium, no team comes close to them man for man in the middle of the pack, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Matteo Kovacic  will control any game without breaking a sweat, their sense of responsibility and accountability is the reason why they hardly give away the ball. Denmark play with purpose, driven by the intelligent Tottenham Hotspur ace, Christian Eriksen, they know exactly how to do their job expertly, they mark intelligently and with discipline, they will make this hard for Croatia in every department. Winners of this fixture will take on France in the quarter final, one game at a time so they focus on this first. Denmark are unbeaten in eighteen matches, a national record they hope to keep going, Denmark has only made it past the second round once at the world cup, that being the time they walloped a disjointed and distracted Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 1998 edition somewhere in France. Croatia have been all the way to the semifinal once, it was in the same year when the hosts, France came from behind to dump them out with two Lillian Thuram strikes. This is a direct battle between Luka Modric and Cristian Eriksen, both have everything it takes to influence a game, this is their time for victory they both have to take it now.

Verdict: Croatia to advance

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