Croatia ends Russia's World Cup dream

08 Juillet, 2018, 01:00 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Igor Akinfeev

Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia beat Russian Federation 4-3 in a shoot-out after a dramatic 2-2 draw on Saturday (Jul 7) to end the World Cup hopes of the host nation and advance to a semi-final against England.

Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic probably won't shuffle his starting XI much.

Rakitic slotted home the winning kick against Denmark in the last 16 and once again 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.

An exhausted and relieved Croatia side - only the second team to win consecutive shootouts in a single World Cup after Argentina in 1990 - will now advance to face England in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Ex-Leicester forward Kramaric nodded Croatia level.

In the previous 120 minutes, Denis Cheryshev rifled Russian Federation in front with a long-range thunderbolt, his fourth goal of the tournament, in the 31st minute before Andrej Kramaric headed Croatia level six minutes before halftime.

The crowd erupted, but Croatia were undeterred and equalised just eight minutes later. In case, Croatia go with three-man midfield, one of Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic may get a place.

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Croatia's players were delirious when they struck in extra time.

After a lively start to the second half, Ivan Perisic should have sent Croatia ahead on the hour-mark but his low strike from the edge of the box crashed against the post.

It was therefore little surprise when the game slipped into the extra time period, with the tie having now developed into a slow, tepid encounter.

Yuri Gazinskiy became Russia's third substitutes, coming in for Dzyuba, but Croatia almost ran into trouble after making two more subs, Josip Pivaric and Mateo Kovacic on for Ivan Strinic and Kramaric. Mario Fernandes (Russia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

It was then left to Rakitic to send Croatia through to their first semi-final for 22 years, which he duly did to end Russia's fairytale campaign at their home World Cup.

Fernandes went from her to villian by dragging his spot-kick wide, before Luka Modric and Sergei Ignashevich exchanged successful penalties.

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