Croatia vs Russia
The hosts Russia have defied the expectations of every single pundit and expert of football. It hasn’t been down to luck but sheer willpower coupled with an indomitable spirit. How far can the home support and the momentum take them is a question that is going to be answered soon.
Croatia on the other hand, have been of the better sides of the tournament. Their midfield has powered them through difficult situations and is one of the biggest assets for the team. They are yet to lose a game in the tournament and it is hard to foresee that event happening soon.
Russia Key Players:
Aleksandr Golovin – The 23-year old has been the breakthrough star for his country. He has single-handedly been the most influential player for his team. He has already been involved in most of the goals the team has scored and is one to watch out for in future.
Denis Cheryshev – The Russian wasn’t even expected to be in the starting line up. It was down to the injury of Alan Dzagoev that he got the chance to play, and he took that opportunity and ran with it. He has scored three goals already in this tournament and is a mainstay with the team now.
Artem Dzuyba – The striker is also on the three-goal tally, and has done what was asked of him. He is a strong presence up top and a menace to the defenders. Excellent in the hold-up play, Dzuyba does what he needs to do on the pitch.
Croatia Key Players:
Luka Modric – The captain of Croatia has been their most important player as well. Part of the midfield he finds the important gaps and loopholes of the other team. He has thrived under the role of a playmaker and is coming into his own as the tournament has progressed.
Ivan Rakitic – Possibly one of the players of the tournament, given how hard he works off the ball for his team. He is the presence in the middle of the pitch that helps to create the calm in the storm. Works extremely well with Luka Modric in tandem.
Mario Mandzukic – The Croatian is the presence for the team up top. He has worked tirelessly in the tournament. Even though he has just one goal to show for it, his importance for the team can’t be overlooked. Always performs when the stakes get higher.