La Roja dominated possession but needed a bizarre own goal by the otherwise excellent Sergei Ignashevich to open the scoring.
The hosts’ equaliser was a 41st-minute penalty by Artem Dzyuba and Igor Akinfeev went on to be their hero when saving two spot-kicks.
“We didn’t play quite the way we wanted but it’s hard when you don’t have the ball and you spend that much time defending,” said the goalkeeper.
Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov claimed he had to “persuade” his players to switch to the five-man defence that frustrated Spain, so we’re hoping they open up a bit more in Sochi.
Judged on a previous heavy defeat to Uruguay, that would suit their opponents and 17/5 for Croatia to win and over 2.5 goals in the game takes the eye from the Russia vs Croatia odds.
There is no hiding the fact that Croatia were disappointing against Denmark, although Luka Modric still had the chance to secure victory from the spot in extra-time.
In normal time, Mathias Jorgensen’s first-minute opener handed the Danes the perfect start, but the lead lasted just three minutes as Mario Mandzukic levelled.
Despite the early promise, the game failed to deliver as Denmark spiked the Croatian guns for long periods.
However, goalkeeper Danijel Subasic ultimately came to the rescue by saving three penalties in the shoot-out.
Looking ahead to the next round, manager Zlatko Dalic said: “This is going to be a huge match.
“We cannot relax, we must be even stronger and more stable because we are going to play a very difficult opponent, a great opponent.
“We will not let our guard down, there can be no arrogance going forward. We are happy with what we have achieved, but we know we have to do more.”
We reckon Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic will get more of a chance to play in this contest and like 19/2 for a 1-2 scoreline in our Russia vs Croatia betting tips.
12 July : 2018