The last eight teams of the World Cup have been established, and the quarterfinals have the potential to be as bombastic as the previous knockout rounds. Croatia vs Brazil will be the first match played, with all the makings of an exciting competition.
Looking at how the two footballing powerhouses performed in the previous round, Brazil should see the match through as easy winners. However, the context behind these two matches should spark an interesting conversation on whether Brazil can stomp a determined side that wants to go all the way.
Brazil: Convincing Win Bolsters Confidence
The Canarinho will be coming into the match with supreme confidence following their 4-1 triumph over South Korea. Their convincing performance in the first knockout rounds made everyone—even the most stringent OKBET tipster— think twice about betting against them.
At the center of their dominant win over the Taegeuk Warriors is Neymar. The PSG forward’s presence at the center of the Brazil formation was a massive boost to their attack.
It wasn’t long before Vinicius Junior scored his first goal in the seventh minute as the Korean defense scrambled to mark every Brazilian player. Neymar doubled their lead six minutes later with a penalty kick after what some Korean fans will call a dive from Richarlison. He and Lucas Paqueta scored two more to finish one of the most dominant first-half displays in this World Cup.
Tite will likely rely on his midfield and attackers to overwhelm the Croatian defense on Friday. Most of their attacks came from the wing, and their signature short passing will be hard to stop. And with the Canarinho’s wealth of talent, it’s hard to properly gameplan against them.
Neymar, Vinicius Junior, and Richarlison will start at the front, with Paqueta supplying sharp passes and Casemiro shoring down the defense in front of Thiago Silva and Maquinhos.
The Brazil crowd is hungry for another Coupe du Monde after the last couple of competitions ended in disappointment. With Pele’s health also uncertain, Brazil want to gift The King a World Cup win.
Croatia: Another Tough Test in Store For Them
The runners-up of the 2018 World Cup came off a tough contest against a spirited Japanese side. While their last showing may cause concern among the Vatreni faithful, their resilience should make their upcoming bout a must-watch.
It’s hard to discuss Croatia’s chances without acknowledging their previous match against the Samurai Blue. Japan made it a tough game for the Croats; the Group E winners soaked the pressure well and didn’t relent on the attack.
Daizen Maeda broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute, but Ivan Perisic quickly squashed the lead 15 minutes into the second half. Neither side budged. The Croats, who have plenty of experience in high-pressure matches, managed to squeeze past the Japanese in a 1-3 penalty shootout.
It’s easy to dismiss the Croatians as heavy underdogs in this competition. Still, the 2018 World Cup also saw them go the distance on their way to the final. They won the penalty shootout against Denmark and Russia and took England to extra time.
At the heart of the Vatreni is Luka Modric. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner is at the heart of their midfield and will impose his influence on the pitch. While he’s currently not the best mid- or long-range passer on the team, his experience and pedigree should challenge the Brazilian defense.
Another key cog to their success is Dominik Livakovic. The Dinamo Zagreb shot-stopper was phenomenal against Japan, getting Man of the Match honors with his 8.1 rating. However, the caliber of Brazil’s players is miles ahead of the Samurai Blue. He needs to pull off another fantastic performance if Croatia are to break through to the semifinals.
Croatia vs Brazil Predictions
This match is one of the more challenging games to call among the four billed matches. It’s a classic case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object; the smallest things can significantly change how the game plays out.
One of the more popular predictions ahead of this match is Brazil running away as 1-0 winners. While the Vatreni are solid defensively, a Brazilian goal is inevitable at this point. This Brazil squad is one of the strongest in recent World Cups, and they’ll look to showcase their dominance even more.
However, Croatia are premier knockout specialists. They can hold out to penalties as much as Brazil can beat them black and blue. Since most of the 2018 squad is still playing in this tournament, it’s hard not to imagine this game going down the wire and Croatia pulling through another improbable upset.
Croatia vs Brazil Betting Odds
The betting odds at OKBET predict Brazil to score multiple goals while keeping Croatia at bay.
|Goals O/U @ 2.5
|1X2 1st Half
|Handicap 1st Half
|Goals O/U First Half @ 1
Brazil are expected to score at least two goals by the handicap market, with the total goals market suggesting that they would score a grand total of three. The first-half handicap also points to Brazil getting at least a goal past Livakovic by the end of the first half.
If you’re looking for the likeliest punt to give you maximum returns, the Draw option at the 1X2 market would be an outstanding choice. Bank on Croatia taking the match into the distance and forcing a nervy shootout that the Canarinho aren’t used to dealing with.