Croatia ends Russia’s run, advances to World Cup semifinals

Florence Fletcher
July 10, 2018

Russian Federation broke out to a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.

Ten minutes into the first period the Croatians went in front when Domagoj Vida headed home from a corner by Luka Modrić, who was making his 10th appearance at the World Cup and in doing so, became his country's second-highest-capped player at the tournament behind Dario Šimić.

Ivan Rakitic converted the decisive spot-kick after Mario Fernandes, who had netted an equaliser for Russian Federation with five minutes of extra-time remaining to level the match at 2-2, hit his effort from 12 yards wide.

However, there was controversy after the match with Croatia's Vida facing possible disciplinary sanctions from Federation Internationale de Football Association after posting a clip dedicating his country's victory over Russia in the World Cup quarter-final to Ukraine.

In Samara, England defied nearly three decades of disappointment to move confidently into the last four for the first time since 1990 as headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli downed a dogged Sweden 2-0. Croatia entered the World Cup semis for the first time since 1998, where they will face England on July 11, 2018.

The subsequent shoot-out then saw Subasic and Akinfeev make a save each before Fernandes' miss, which allowed Rakitic to send Croatia through.

However, Russia found the resources to draw level again, substitute Alan Dzagoev holding up a free-kick for Fernandes to head home in the 115th minute.

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"The boys were great", she told HRT, although she said she regretted that the host nation was eliminated.

Russian Federation were happy to let Croatia have the bulk of possession as they looked to repeat the tactic that proved so successful against Spain in the round of 16.

It was a rocket, and one fired straight up Croatia as it shocked them in to action with their equaliser arriving four minutes later.

For the first 33 minutes, it was end to end action.

Cheryshev exploited it in a way the likes of Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane could come Wednesday, launching a long-range effort which had Danijel Subasic helpless in the Croatia goal. Cherchesov will have to do without experienced wing-back Yuri Zhirkov who is unavailable for the game against Croatia. Daler Kuzyaev scored Russia's third penalty, but when Ivan Rakitic coolly slotted home it signaled an agonizing end to Russia's improbable dream. Three of the four goals were headers and England's two headed goals in a 2-0 win over Sweden earlier in the evening completed a productive day for the critical part of the body.

Fans of Russian Federation cheer in Group A play against Saudi Arabia during the FIFA World Cup 2018 at Luzhniki Stadium.

That would not be the only goal of the tournament contender from Cheryshev in that match as he got his second and Russia's fourth with a trivela goal Ricardo Quaresma would have been proud of. Cheryshev collected the ball near the halfway line, exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and curled a 25-metre shot past Subasic.

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