Croatia knock out hosts Russian Federation

10 July, 2018, 12:22 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Croatia down hosts Russia on penalties to set up England clash in last four

Croatia has beaten host Russian Federation 4-3 in a penalty shootout to advance to a World Cup semifinal against England.

Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has insisted that his teammates deserved their penalty-shootout win over Russian Federation on Saturday. This was not a lovely game, it was a fight, a battle for the semifinal. Last night's quarter-final against Croatia dragged on into extra-time, just as their last-16 match against Spain had.

It also meant that Croatia became the first side to win two penalty shootouts in a single World Cup campaign since Argentina in 1990. "We have to improve that element as we conceded there today", Modric said, referring to Russia's late 2-2 equalizer which sent up the penalties. We could only prove our worth by working hard.

Fernandes, who was born in Brazil but rejected a chance to play for that country's national team in 2011, sent his penalty kick wide of the net in the shootout, giving Croatia the advantage.

Ivan Rakitic scored the victor from the spot as Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev dived in the opposite direction.

However, Russia dug deep to make it 2-2, substitute Alan Dzagoev curling in a free-kick for Fernandes to head home in the 115th minute. "He congratulated us on a very good game".

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They dominated the match, but Russian Federation contributed to another fantastic occasion in what has been an outstanding World Cup. Only Harry Kane (6) has more in the tournament. Mario Mandzukic ran unchallenged into the penalty area and chipped a low ball back into the centre where unmarked Kramaric scored with a glancing header. After we went 2-1 ahead, we should have maintained our focus, but there was a lapse of concentration. It could be either defensive or attacking, depending on the pressure applied by Croatia.

The victory overwhelmed Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who cried after Rakitic's winning penalty.

Croatia were agonisingly close to scoring on the hour when Russia's defence failed to clear the ball and Ivan Perisic's shot hit the inside of the post but rebounded harmlessly across the face of the goal.

After a 1-1 draw after the regular time, Vida headed in a dramatic corner in the 101st minute but he was booked a yellow card for taking off his jersey for celebration.

His players meanwhile probably didn't toast the big win with vodka or other hard liqueur, they will simply need to recover swiftly as they now set their sights on reaching the July 15 final when they meet England in Moscow on Wednesday.

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