Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to set up England semi-final

08 Juillet, 2018, 02:57 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion

Russia's World Cup dream ended within agonizing sight of the semi-finals as they went down, 4-3, on penalties to Croatia on Saturday after another gallant performance in front of their fanatical fans which again belied their lowly ranking.

Denis Cheryshev's swerving left-footer from the edge of the box had opened the scoring for Russian Federation in the 31st minute of normal time but an unmarked Andrej Kramaric headed in a cross from Mario Mandzukic eight minutes later to restore parity.

Having slotted home the winning kick against Denmark in the last 16, Rakitic held his nerve to convert from the spot, with Mario Fernandes going from hero to villain by missing from 12 yards after his 115th-minute header had made it 2-2 deep into extra time.

Successful penalties to Brozovic, Modric, Vida and Rakitic was enough to send Croatia through.

His hero status, however, lasted all of 20 minutes as he missed a decisive penalty in the shootout, allowing Ivan Rakitic to step up and slot home the victor.

In France '98, the hosts knocked Croatia out in the last four en-route to clinching the title, while four years ago Brazil edged them 2-1 in the tournament opener. Domagoj Vida (Croatia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

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Centre-backs then were successful in the fourth round, Vida answering after Russia's Sergei Ignashevich found the net, and though Daler Kuzyaev kept Russian Federation alive, Rakitic - who also won the shootout against Denmark in the last round - put Croatia through.

39 - Goal! Russia 1, Croatia 1.

But Pivaric was whistled for handling the ball at the corner of the box, and Dzagoev's cross was flicked inside the back post by Fernandes to level the game in the 115th minute.

After hardly seeing the ball in the round of sixteen, Stanislav Cherchesov's side will be looking to play a slightly more expansive game at the Fischt stadium and will be cheered on by an expectant home crowd.

And in the extra session, it looked like Croatia was well on their way to the victory and avoiding penalty kicks.

Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow. In 1966 while still known as the USSR, the semi-finals against eventual winners England was as good as it got for them.

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