Sport

England And Croatia Set Up Semi-final Clash At FIFA World Cup

England And Croatia Set Up Semi-final Clash At FIFA World Cup

Croatia finally ended Russia's unlikely World Cup dream when they won 4-3 on penalties to eliminate the gallant hosts in a dramatic quarter-final which ended 2-2 after extra time on Saturday.

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.

Gareth Southgate's young squad became just the third England team to make the semi-finals as they continued to make a mockery of dampened pre-tournament expectations with another impressive display.

Denis Cheryshev gave Russian Federation the lead with a shot into the upper corner in the 31st minute and Croatia equalized with Andrej Kramaric's header near halftime. While Croatia was on the attack for most of the game, Russian Federation relied on the counterattack.

Modric, the Man of the match, said, "Another drama for us. I believe that people did not only start trusting us but they are in love with us".

The match looked set to follow much the same pattern as Russia's backs-to-the-wall performance against Spain, before a moment of stunning individual brilliance gave the host a shock lead.

But Croatia came into this game as the favourites.

On the way, Cheryshev sidestepped the challenges of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, two of the best players in the tournament.

Cheryshev was Russia's leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals.

The hosts went ahead thanks to a bolt from the blue just after the half-hour mark. The game between Russia and Croatia in the first half followed the strategy that the Russians used in the game against Spain, again the current results indicate similar tactics, but soon the situation changed. Croatia quickly equalized with a header from Andrej Kramaric in the 39 minute.

Kimi Raikkonen - My mistake cost pole position at Silverstone
I tried to manage, I could see my tyres opening up. " I would not know where the difference is ", Vettel said. The team are reportedly eyeing Sauber youngster Charles Leclerc as a successor for 2019.

Subasic was hobbled in the second half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, but he was able to stay in the game and remained strong between the posts. Croatia then went ahead with a soft Domagoj Vida header in the eleventh minute of extra time but Russian Federation still managed to bounce back through Fernandes.

Vida removed his shirt as he ran away in celebration, possibly thinking Croatia were heading through.

Need a guy to score a victor in a #WorldCup penalty shoot-out? Igor Akinfeev later blocked an attempt from Mateo Kovacic.

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.

"Russia has fallen! Hug, cry". I am playing at the World Cup.

Modric got a 2-1 advantage for Croatia.

Thousands of other red-and-white-painted supporters celebrated the victory at fan zones in the capital and other cities.

Croatia have a full house with all players available for selection.

"For Croatia being in the semis is a great success", said Dalic. "Dear England, it's so nice to see you again!" read the Sportske Novostipaper.


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