Croatia vs Brazil Prediction

9th December 2022
18:00 Qatar Time/15:00 GMT
Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Michael Oliver (England)

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World Cup Tournament Form:











South Korea








World Cup Head-to-Head Record


Played:2  Brazil Wins:2

Croatia vs Brazil Prediction Match Overview


Our Croatia vs Brazil prediction starts with an overview of both sides’ recent form. After navigating the group stage with a win and two draws, Croatia played their round of 16 match against Japan at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah. Japan were the better team in the first half and deservedly opened the scoring near half-time with a finish by Daizen Maeda. Croatia were much better in the second half and equalised through a beautifully guided header from Ivan Perisic. After a tense extra-time period, the match went to penalties. Japan missed three of their four. Croatia won 3-1 thanks to conversions by Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mario Pasalic, though Marko Livaja missed the third penalty.

After finishing top of their group, Brazil blew a naive and open South Korea away in their round of 16 match at Stadium 974 in Doha. Vinicius Junior first opened the scoring in the seventh minute, taking a touch and then lofting a beautiful guided ball into the net. Neymar scored a penalty after this, and then Richarlison scored one of the tournament’s best goals after some gorgeous interplay, notably including an incisive pass by Thiago Silva which penetrated the entire South Korean defence. Lucas Paqueta finished Brazil’s scoring with a fantastic volley. Paik Seung-ho scored a consolation in the second half.

Croatia and Brazil now meet in the first quarter-final match in what promises to be an exciting encounter. Croatia have one of the best midfields in the tournament, and Brazil are an exquisite attacking force. The winners will face either the Netherlands or Argentina in the first semi-final.

Injuries and Suspensions

Might not play: Sosa (Croatia); Sandro (Brazil)

Will not play: Telles, Jesus (Brazil)

Possible Lineups

Croatia vs Brazil Prediction lineup
Brazil vs Croatia Prediction Lineup

Croatia vs Brazil Prediction Analysis

Midfield Battle

We expect both teams to play the same personnel as they did in the round of 16 matches. The midfield will be a critical area in Croatia vs Brazil. With Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, and Mateo Kovacic, Croatia have a midfield capable of controlling any game. Brazil are no slouches in this department either, as Casemiro and Lucas Paqueta are talented central midfielders also capable of running a match. Brazil may dominate possession. However, this would be due to their superior attacking threat and Croatia’s choice to concede possession and play on the counter rather than any innate superiority over the Croatian midfield.

It is vital for Croatia that Brozovic picks up Neymar in the spaces between the midfield and defensive lines. Neymar will likely drop from an attacking midfield role to help orchestrate the play, and Brozovic must be mindful. Modric and Kovacic must also try to ensure there are no gaps for the Brazilians to play in. If Croatia can get their passing and possession game going, then it might be the best way for them to avoid being put under pressure by Brazil. After all, if you have the ball, your opponents can’t score. This game plan is risky, however. The Croatians are indeed very good in tight spaces when being pressed. However, the Brazilians might swarm them and win the ball high up the pitch. In that case, Brazil can release their maverick wingers to move on to the Croatian defence.

Regardless, both teams will respect the other’s midfield greatly, and both must cover areas and be defensively sound and creative in attack. We expect Paqueta, Modric, and Kovacic to try to be progressive with their passing into their forward players. Paqueta will drive into the box to good effect. This match is one of the games in this tournament where both midfields are of a similar standard, so we should see some contest for possession of the ball. However, Brazil will likely control the game. Croatia arguably have the better midfield orchestrators, but they don’t have the legs and energy they used to. Casemiro is still mobile, as is Paqueta, and Neymar coming to help from advanced areas could disrupt the shape of the Croatian midfield. Croatia’s inferior attack will also give the midfield less freedom to be expansive, so Modric and company will likely have to be defensive for spells and constrain their own game. Croatia toiled even against Japan’s good midfield. We see it being another battle against the excellent Brazilians.

Wide Areas

The flanks will also be paramount in Croatia vs Brazil. Croatia have good wingers. Ivan Perisic is an experienced player wide left, and he can go down the line or come inside, as he is good with both feet. Croatia have height in the middle and may look to deliver crosses. On the other side, Andrej Kramaric is very good at supporting the number 9 in the box and playing as winger-cum-striker. However, the three centre-forwards in their squad – Bruno Petkovic, Marko Livaja and Ante Budimir – are modest players and some of the poorer footballers in their team. Therefore, this is an area of weakness. Thiago Silva and Marqunhos have the positioning, experience, and quality to deal with whoever starts. Hence, there is much onus on the Croatian midfield, the wingers, and the full-backs (likely Borna Barisic and Josip Juranovic), to try to create for the centre-forward and give them their best chance of scoring. While Croatia are decent out wide, they don’t score enough goals (the Canada game excluded), and we see them trying to grind things out in Croatia vs Brazil.

Brazil, alternatively, have an abundance of wide options and attackers in general. While full-backs such as Alex Sandro and Alex Telles are out, their wingers are absolutely excellent. Indeed, Vinicius Junior and Raphinha will likely start – both were highly impressive against the South Koreans. With Neymar also moving around the final third, the line of three behind Richarlison can interchange positions and are comfortable linking up. Vinicius and Raphinha are very tricky with fantastic technique and searing pace. They may well pin back the Croatian full-backs for long spells. Richarlison has been in exceptional form in the centre and will link up with the playmakers behind and parallel to him in Croatia vs Brazil.

Brazilian Strength In Depth

Brazil also have the option to bring on the likes of Antony, Rodrygo, and Gabriel Martinelli, so there is much strength in depth here as Croatia tire. The excellent Josko Gvardiol and the veteran Dejan Lovren have a huge night ahead of them at centre-back in trying to contain these players. The substitutes have been essential for teams throughout this tournament. With five permitted, we should see Brazil fully use their vastly superior squad. Overall, Brazil have much more quality and more options in attack, which, as stated, will allow their midfield to be more expansive than the Croatian one.

Croatia Key Players

Josko Gvardiol

Gvardiol has been brilliant in the World Cup and has another huge challenge in dealing with Brazil’s tricky playmakers and effervescent striker Richarlison. Gvardiol must use all his football intelligence and clever positioning to mark Richarlison and not give him an inch of space. He must be smart with his tackles and interceptions and not allow the Brazilians to get turned in the box. Gvardiol must try blocking shots or passing lanes into Richarlison when players such as Neymar, Vinicius, and Raphinha come into the middle. If Brazil decide to cross the ball, Gvardiol must also anticipate the ball’s movement and clear his lines. He will have to come across to give his full-back help against Brazil’s wingers in the channel, too.

Luka Modric

Modric is one of the greatest midfielders of all time and is definitely capable of starring in this match. However, he is smart enough to know he is in the inferior team on paper in this match and will adjust his game accordingly. He will look to take the ball from the defenders, try to orchestrate proceedings through his short passing, and link up with Brozovic and Kovacic. However, Modric knows this will be difficult against a high-pressing and exuberant Brazilian front six. Modric must try to block passing lanes and not allow gaps to appear between the lines where Brazil could take advantage. His progressive passing will be a factor in the counter-attack. However, Modric is a complete midfielder, and his defensive acumen is likely to be more critical in this match than what he can do in advanced areas, as the Eastern Europeans will often be under the cosh in Croatia vs Brazil.

Brazil Key Players


Casemiro, like Modric, has had a great career, and was Modric’s team-mate in the Real Madrid team which won three UEFA Champions League trophies in a row between 2016 and 2018. Casemiro is more of a destroyer and inferior as a playmaker to Modric. However, Casemiro is still good technically and capable of contributing to the attack, as seen with his finish against Serbia. In this game, he has an advantage over Modric, as he has far better attackers to find with cute little through balls and passes out wide. Therefore, we expect him to press high and be expansive when he has the ball. He will be safe in the knowledge that Brazil are the superior team with better players in most areas of the pitch. This excellent talent will give Casemiro security in his work and will likely see Brazil control possession.


Richarlison has been superb throughout this tournament, and we expect him to play well again. While not nearly as talented as Neymar or Vinicius Junior, Richarlison has always played well for Brazil. He performs a vital function in the team through his pressing, work rate, and an abundance of quality when he has the ball. His finishing in this tournament has been exceptional, and his link-up with his fellow attackers has sometimes been nothing short of sensational. He will likely try to find joy by attaching himself to Croatia’s less talented centre-back, Dejan Lovren. He will also look to put goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic under pressure, as the Croatian has shown he is not great with the ball at his feet. Richarlison can score, as he did against Serbia and South Korea.

Beat the Bookmaker Croatia vs Brazil Prediction


In recent years, Croatia have proved frequently that people cannot underestimate them. England did that in the 2018 semi-final, and the Croatians came back into the game and qualified for the final. Indeed, Croatia have often come back from a goal down in recent World Cups. Therefore, they are a team who never know when they are beaten. Even if they concede first, they have the experience not to panic and capitulate as South Korea did. However, we expect this to be a difficult test as Brazil are the best team Croatia have faced so far. The Croatian team is ageing, and their lack of a quality striker means they don’t have many goals in their side. We can see the Brazilian defence dealing well with the Croatian attack, though Croatia may still score a goal.

In attack, though, Brazil can be mesmerising, and we can’t see Croatia stopping them from scoring two or three. Croatia might make this a war of attrition and force penalties, as they have defied the odds before. However, the Brazilian forwards will likely have too much for the Croatians and create chances. Livakovic is not the goalkeeper that Alisson is, and we think he will be powerless to stop Brazil from converting. We, therefore, predict a Brazilian victory by two goals. Not easy, but relatively comfortable. This prediction is not a slight on Croatia, who have been a top-quality team for years. It is more an assessment of how good Brazil are, coupled with Croatia’s ageing legs and lack of goalscorers.


Croatia 1-3 Brazil; Over 2.5 Goals

Beat the Bookmaker Croatia vs Brazil Prediction – Over 2.5 Goals Odds




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