The 2018 Finalists were 1-0 down going into the second half of their match against Japan, but a sumptuous header from Ivan Perisic in the 55th put them back on level pegging. However, Dominik Livakovic was the difference maker in this one as the game went to penalties, the Dinamo Zagreb keeper saving three of Japan’s first four attempts. Even though the opposition spot-kicks were poor, don’t take anything away from Livakovic as this only happened twice before in history (Subasic v Denmark in 2018 and Ricardo v England in 2006).
Brazil came under criticism for their various celebrations in the 4-1 hammering they gave to South Korea. Roy Keane was particularly vocal and said “I’ve never seen so much dancing, it’s like I was watching strictly.” Although some might say it showed a lack of respect towards the South Koreans, this is just how they play football and are always happy when their team scores a goal and they show that happiness by dancing.
The Quarter-Finals of the World Cup is always an interesting one and there some very surprising statistics if you do your digging (all stats since 1990, 32 QF matches); there has only been one team that has scored four or more goals (Germany v Argentina, 4-0), only five matches have been won by two or more goals (exactly half were won by a one goal margin), seven of the last nine have had under 2.5 goals land and finally, 15 matches (47%) have been drawing at HT, three of which were 1-1 and the rest being 0-0.
Croatia +1.5 Handicap
We feel +1.5 Croatia on the Asian Handicap seems like a strong bet here, with only five of the 32 matches finishing with a 2+ margin of victory, but we still feel there is value to be found here as the bookies are pricing Brazil too highly because of their recent domination of a limited South Korea.
According to the World Rankings, 19 underdogs have won or drawn their matches in the Quarter-Finals. That includes Russia’s 1-1 draw with Croatia in 2018, Costa Rica drawing with Netherlands in 2014, Ghana drawing with Uruguay in 2010 and Croatia beating Germany 3-0 in 1998 being the largest difference in World Rankings. Knowing this, it is not inconceivable that Croatia can get a result here.
Croatia Draw Double Chance
Croatia know they have an uphill battle here but they will learn from the mistakes that South Korea made and will set-up far more defensively compared to Paulo Bento’s side.
Croatia have key players that can make a huge difference and in our opinion have the best midfielder set-up out of any side in the world with Brozovic, Modric and Kovacic all playing at a very high level for numerous years.
CROATIA +1.5 HANDICAP
CROATIA DRAW DOUBLE CHANCE
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