England, Belgium, France — all among the favorites talk before the World Cup started, even though they share just two titles among themselves, and England especially had made a habit of providing serious hertbreak more than anything else.
But football’s coming home! Or it’s going to France, who are perhaps the most solid team front-to-back. Or it’s going to Belgium, whose Golden Generation is living up to the hype.
But if football’s coming home, then Russia are already home. They have run and put in more effort than any other team. Croatia have one of the best midfields in the entire tournament. Don’t count them out just yet.
Russia starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Akinfeev | Kudryashov, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Fernandes | Zobnin, Kuzyaev | Cheryshev, Golovin, Samedov | Dzyuba
Substitutes from: Semenov, Gazinskiy, Dzagoev, Smolov, Lunev, Granat, Al.Miranchuk, An.Miranchuk, Zhirkov, Gabulov, Erokhin, Smolnikov
Croatia starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Subašić | Strinić, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko | Rakitić, Modrić | Rebić, Kramarić, Perišić | Mandžukić
Substitutes from: Livaković, Ćorluka, Kovačić, Brozović, Kalinić, Jedvaj, Bradarić, Ćaleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivarić
Date / Time: Saturday, July 7, 2018, 19:00 BST; 2pm EDT
Venue: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
Referee: Sandro Ricci (Brazil)
On TV: ITV 1 (UK); FOX, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: ITV Hub (UK); FOX Sports Go, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo; Sling World Cup (USA)