Round of 16: Croatia vs Denmark soccer world cup Preview

Croatia vs Denmark soccer world Cup

Croatia and Denmark will clash on Sunday the 1st of July 2018 in the round of 16. 

Group D winners, Croatia, and Group C runners-up, Denmark, will battle it out in the Round of 16 on Sunday at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. 

The winner of that game will advance to the quarter finals, facing off against either Spain or Russia. This will be the first time that these sides meet each other at an international tournament. They last met in a friendly in 2004 which Croatia won 2-1.

Croatia vs Denmark | Sunday 1 July | Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (20:00)

To Win (90 mins)
Croatia 17/20
Draw 43/20
Denmark 38/10

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Croatia, semi-finalists in France ‘98, truly deserve to be taken seriously as genuine dark horses in this most intriguing of tournaments. They made light work of Nigeria and Argentina then scored in stoppage time to beat Iceland to seal qualification as Group D's top team.

The Vatreni have players of great quality in Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric – who’s been arguably the player of the tournament so far – Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. Their defence looks equally solid, conceding a solitary goal in their three group games.

Croatia’s golden generation were also impressive up to the knockouts at Euro 2016 only to exit to Portugal at the first hurdle. With many of the golden generation into their 30s, including Modric and Rakitic, every game now is potentially their last together at a major tournament. 

Coach Zlatko Dalic will be hoping that his team can go all the way this time. With a solid defence, an electrifying midfield and fearsome forwards, the men in the red and white are a seriously dangerous dark horse.

In Croatia's way of a place in the quarter-final is Denmark who have reached the Round of 16 for the fourth time in their five soccer world cup. The Danes eased past Peru then drew with Australia and France to book their place in the first knockout round. Age Hareide's side now have a chance to match their best finish ever at the soccer world cup if they can get past Croatia.

The Croats are the favourites to win this match, but Danish forward Martin Braithwaite strongly disagrees, saying that he doesn't feel that Croatia is any better than Denmark.

“I don’t feel they are any better than us. In qualifying they were second in their group, as we were, and they had to come through a playoff to qualify. It makes no difference that they have started the soccer world cup a little better than us,” Braithwaite said.

Regardless of what Braithwaite says, the Danes will be fully aware that their best opportunity against the Croats is to keep things tight for as long as possible. With just one goal conceded in seven matches in 2018, they certainly know how to do that, while playmaker Christian Eriksen will look to unlock Croatia’s defence and get his team on the scoresheet. 

Verdict: Croatia Win (17/20)
Croatia have been very impressive in Russia so far and I think they should have enough quality to beat Denmark, who struggled against Australia. I don’t think it will be one-sided, but I strongly fancy the Croats to book their place in the quarter-finals.

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