FIFA WC: Russia to lock horns with Croatia in quarters

Sochi: Russia will look to book their place in the semi-final of the ongoing 21st edition of FIFA World Cup when they square off with Croatia in the quarter-final clash here at Fisht Stadium on Saturday.

Russia, who came into the tournament ranked 70, surprised the spectators around the world with their impressive run in the tournament so far.

The hosts will be coming off in the clash on the back of their two convincing victories over Saudi Arabia and Egypt while a 0-3 defeat against Uruguay in their third and final group-stage match.

The Igor Akinfeev- led side, in one of the major upsets of the tournament, defeated pre-tournament favourites Spain 4-3 via penalty shootouts after the high-voltage round of 16 ended with a 1-1 draw at full time.

Croatia, on the other hand, are so far unbeaten in the tournament and will definitely be fancying their chances against the host nation.

The Croatians squeezed past Denmark 3-2 in the penalty shootout in their high-voltage round-16 clash to book their place against Russians in the quarterfinals.

Previously, the two teams met twice during the qualifiers of Euro 2008 but both the matches ended in stalemate draws.

However, in a friendly match in November 2017, Croatia thrashed the Russians 3-1 in the encounter.

In other clashes of the day, world number twenty-four Sweden will collide with 12th-ranked England for the semi-final berth in the tournament.

Both the teams have had a roller-coaster ride in the World Cup so far and will be aiming to put their best foot forward in the match.

The two teams met twice in the World Cup so far, settling with a 2-2 draw in 2006 and a 1-1 draw in 2002.

As far as head-to-head record is concerned, England have won just two of the matches in their last fifteen meetings.
On a related note, the full Russian and Croatian squads are as follow:

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (C), Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrei Lunev.
Defenders: Vladimir Granat, Ruslan Kambolov, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov Roman Neustadter Konstantin Rausch, Andrei Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes.
Midfielders: Yuri Gazinsky, Alexander Golovin Alan Dzagoev, Alexander Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev, Roman Zobnin, Alexander Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexander

Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev.
Forwards: Fedor Smolov, Aleksei Miranchu, Artem Dzyuba.

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic , Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic
Defenders: Vedran Corluka , Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic , Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko , Josip Pivaric , Tin Jedvaj, Duje Caleta-Car
Midfielders: Luka Modric , Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic , Milan Badelj, Marcelo

Brozovic, Filip Bradaric
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic , Ivan Perisic , Nikola Kalinic , Andrej Kramaric, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic.