After a surprisingly convincing group stage campaign, Russia stunned Spain to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in history. The host nation will face the much-fancied Croatia following their relatively lacklustre last-16 win over Denmark, which was decided by penalties. And with the fans, and many neutrals, behind them, Russia will fancy their chances.
But when is the match on TV? And on what channel? Check the kick-off time, date and more for Croatia and Russia’s crucial World Cup match below.
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg).
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka).
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht).
How did Russia and Croatia get to the quarter-finals?
After bulldozing through Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Russia were demolished by Uruguay – though not helped by an early red card. Having just beaten Spain on penalties to advance to the Quarter-Final, Russia – backed by a vociferous nation of football fans – will fancy themselves against anyone.
Croatia have been dubbed ‘the ones to watch’. Their liquid football during the group stage was a lesson in how football should be played. The Croats barely broke a sweat against Nigeria and Iceland, while their 3-0 dismantling of Argentina was so brutal it probably shouldn’t have aired before the 9pm watershed. Their form hasn’t transferred to the last-16, however. A tepid performance against Denmark required penalties to get them through and they will be fully aware that a similar showing against the hosts is likely to send them home.
Who are the players to look out for?
While Dens Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba top Russia’s goal scoring charts – both with three – it’s Aleksandr Golovin who’s really impressed for the hosts. His one goal and two assists helped Russia through the Group-Stage and the CSKA Moscow man was one of the few players who looked comfortable on the ball against Spain.
For Croatia, Luka Modric is a man who was seemingly born with the ball at his feet and an innate knowledge of what to do with it. He is one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and Modric will be desperate to show that. ‘Keeper Subasic has also emerged as a star, handing Croatia a penalty shootout win against Denmark with three splendid saves.