Croatia’s Run of Form
Croatia finished second in their group, in which they had to play against Belgium, Canada, and Morocco. The team did not have a great start, finishing their first match 0-0 against Morocco. In the second match, Croatia went down 1-0 to Canada after just 2 minutes, but then the team worked together and managed to score 4 goals to close the game at 4-1. Marko Livaja and Lovro Maier contributed with a goal each, and their main striker, Andrej Kramaric, scored 2 goals. In the third, and final, match of the group stage, Croatia had to play against the former number one ranking team in the world, Belgium. Belgium had a poor start, though they had a chance at qualifying for the knockout stage if they beat Croatia. However, it was not to be, as Croatia held the Belgians to a 0-0 draw. Croatia finished with 5 points, just behind the group winners, Morocco, who had 7 points.
As they finished runners up, Croatia had to face the winners of Group E, Japan, in the round of 16. Japan had already beaten both Spain and Germany, and the unlikely winners of the group looked to be in fine form. Japan scored the first goal of the match. Croatia managed to equalise, with Perisic scoring a goal, but neither team could score the winning goal. After regular time and two periods of extra time, the game went into a penalty shootout. Here, Croatia outclassed Japan, as their keeper managed to save 3 of the 4 Japanese penalties, and Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mario Pasalic all scored their penalties.
Brazil’s Run of Form
Brazil had to play against Serbia, Switzerland, and then Cameroon, in the group stage. Though they won their first game against Serbia 2-0 with both goals scored by Richarlison, they lost their key player Neymar. Neymar was subbed in the 80th minute following a heavy challenge that left the forward with a massive swelling on his foot. Their next match, against Switzerland, was tough for Brazil. They clearly lacked their talisman, and though the Brazilians applied lots of pressure, they could not open the scoring. Finally, in the 83rd minute, Casemiro scored from a swift and powerful volley in the box. Brazil won the game 1-0. In their last game, Brazil had already secured a place in the round of 16 and so the manager, Tite, fielded a team with many changes. This may have been because Brazil had already secured their place in the knockout stage, or perhaps to rest some key players, but the plan backfired. Brazil failed to dominate the game, and finally, Cameroon scored the opening goal in the 92nd minute. The game ended 1-0 to Cameroon, and Brazil suffered its first defeat of the 2022 World Cup.
Neymar returned to the team for the round of 16 match against South Korea. Tite changed the squad back to include the likes of Casemiro, Raphinha, Vinicius Jr, Thiago Silva, and so on. Brazil started the game on the attack, and within 7 minutes Vinicius Jr scored the opening goal. 5 minutes later, Brazil was awarded a penalty after a foul on Neymar, who converted the penalty and scored his first goal of the competition. Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta both scored goals in the first half, to end 4-0. In the next half, Brazil was not as decisive and though they had some great chances, they failed to add to their score. South Korea scored a goal in the 76th minute, and then the game finished 4-1.
Which Players to Look Out For
Andrej Kramaric has impressed in this World Cup. Mario Mandzukic retired following the 2018 World Cup, and the central attacking role was left vacant, but Kramaric has fit in perfectly, scoring 2 goals. Dominik Livakovic, the Croatian goalkeeper, has kept 2 clean sheets and will be crucial to frustrating Brazil. Croatia plays as a team, so players such as Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic, and Marcelo Brozovic will all feature in the game, but hopefully, Marko Livaja will also receive game time. The Croatian forward scored the second goal in the game against Canada and has a very physical presence in the attack.
There are many Brazilian players that you may want to look out for and they are all well established footballers, but if we have to pick then Neymar would have to come first. He is now 1 goal behind Pele’s all time goal scoring record, and after dedicating the last game’s performance to the Brazilian footballing legend, Neymar will want to up his game in this World Cup. Vinicius Jr is also a huge threat, running down the sides but also cutting in and getting into goal scoring situations. Other players that have to be commended for their performances in the World Cup so far are Raphinha, Richarlison, Casemiro, and Thiago Silva. Both Raphinha and Richarlison have made the attack even more dangerous, whilst Casemiro has contributed to both attack and defence. Thiago Silva has held his own in the defence, and his organisation of the back line has seen Brazil only concede 2 goals in their 4 World Cup games.
Croatia vs Brazil Betting Opportunities
Whether you want to back Croatia or Brazil to win this exciting clash, you will find no shortage of betting possibilities. There are bets on the match result - which specifically relates to what happens during regular time. You can bet on the result, a team to win with handicaps, total goals, double chance, and many more. If you think Brazil can quickly take the lead, you can bet on them to score the first goal or to win the first half. You can also find bets such as correct score, winning margin, will a team reverse the result, and other specific bets that may have far longer odds.
There is a possibility that a winner will only be determined in extra time or through a penalty shootout. In this case, you can bet on which team will qualify - which will mean that it does not matter whether your chosen team wins in regular time, extra time, or penalties, as long as they win.