FIFA World Cup: Croatia vs Denmark preview


Group D winners Croatia take on undefeated Denmark on Sunday in the first knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the match will be played at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The two teams have not met since a friendly match in 2004, which Croatia won 2-1. The two nations were drawn in the same qualification group for the 1998 World Cup and back then Denmark grabbed a 1-1 draw in Croatia before snatching a convincing 3-1 victory at home. However, Croatia have defeated Denmark 3-0 at the 1996 European Championship.

Croatia are one of the most impressive teams at the 2018 World Cup so far, they have won all their three matches in the group stage, scoring seven goals and conceding just one. They started out with a 2-0 win over Nigeria, then hammered Argentina 3-0 and squeezed past Iceland 2-1. Head coach Zlatko Dalic even managed to rest a few of his key players for the last group stage match, so fatigue shouldn't be an issue for them. Moreover, there are no injury concerns in the squad ahead of Sunday's game.

Denmark went through the group stage undefeated, even though they failed to impress. They started with a 1-0 victory over Peru, a lucky result considering that Peru missed a penalty kick, then drew 1-1 against Australia and then played out a rather shameful goalless draw with France. That last match was probably the least entertaining at the 2018 World Cup, both teams were happy with the draw and didn't even try to play real football. William Kvist is still injured but Youssuf Poulsen is available again after having served his suspension.

Probable line-ups:

Croatia: Subasic - Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic - Rakitic, Brozovic, Modric - Rebic, Mandzukic, Perisic

Denmark: Schmeichel - Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Christensen, Larsen - Schone, Delaney - Poulsen, Eriksen, Sisto - Jorgensen

My prediction: Croatia to win 2-0, I believe in karma and Denmark have a debt to pay towards football after the match against France.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Croatia win - 1.90
Draw - 3.30
Denmark win - 5.20

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