Russia-Croatia Analysis

Can the hosts progress into the semifinals after they eliminated Spain? Neither of two teams show that they can gain advantage over each other, and this could be quite open match as well as close one.


RRussia lined up in 3-4-2-1 structure in previous match, and it would be maybe good for them to keep it that way in order to cope with specific qualities of Croatia’s forwards and their narrow positioning in central areas in final third, as well as with their pace.

  1. In attack, there is not much to be said about Russia. They base their play on Dzyuba, who is focal point of their offensive organization. Whether it is open play or throw-ins, they use him as a target man to play off. Set-pieces are one more aspect they can hurt Croatia from, taking into account physical abilities of potential targets.
      Croatia have shown that they can play with everyone, but the feeling is that they are overestimated both offensively and defensively. The biggest strength of this Croatia team is high level of understanding and quality in midfield.
  2. Players complement each other in a unique way, with Modric being the focal point of organization in attack. Most of their movements across 1/3 and 2/3 are based to set him free, and allow him to use his playmaking abilities to influence the game from right halfspace where he has been most dangerous.

If under pressure, the team uses Rebic and Mandzukic as long ball targets and play around them. Kramaric likes to get more involved and has big movement radius, while Perisic on the left flank presents main threat in transition due to his rightly timed runs in behind.