Croatia Beat Russia on Penalties to Reach 2018 World Cup Semi-finals
Jul 10, 2018, 02:20
The hosts' surprise run to the quarter-finals was ended by Croatia who beat them 4-3 on penalty shootout after the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
The win sends the Croatians into a blockbuster semi-final showdown on July 11 against England, which advanced to the final four with an impressive 2-0 victory earlier Saturday over Sweden.
Modric and Rakitic were decisive in the shootout but didn't play up to expectations in regulation and extra time, unable to create many significant chances for Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic up front.
Croatia are aiming to make the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1998, while the Russians are aiming to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2008. Croatia will now face off with England on Wednesday in the semi-final, with the victor set to meet one of either France or Belgium in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018.
That meant penalties would decide the match, with Croatia running out winners and setting up a date with England at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
In the quarterfinals match on Saturday night in Sochi, Russia was eliminated from the tournament by Croatia.
Smolov put Russian Federation on the back foot straightway in the shootout with an very bad Panenka and Fernandes fired their third wide to gift the match to Croatia who prevailed 4-3 thanks to Rakitic's cool finish.
Before that, Denis Cheryshev had rifled Russian Federation in front with a long-range thunderbolt in the 31st minute before Andrej Kramaric equalised for Croatia six minutes before halftime.
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Modric, the Man of the match, said, "Another drama for us".
Russian No. 10 Fyodor Smolov got proceedings underway and his weak shot from 12 yards was kept out by Subasic. Mario Fernandez scored a goal in gate of Croatia - 2:2.
The giant forward seemed to nearly accidentally touch the ball into the path of Cheryshev and with nearly nowhere to go, the 26-year-old unleashed a thunderous left-footed strike into the top corner to leave Danijel Subasic rooted to the spot and demonstrating exactly why Real Madrid afforded a place in their academy to the player.
Cheryshev, who scored three times in the group-stage wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was back in the line-up here after beginning on the bench against Spain last weekend.
He will remember forever that he gave his nation hope on the penultimate weekend of Russia's World Cup and did so with stylish piece of skill and a wonderful finish.
A goal-kick from Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saw left-back Ivan Strinic head the ball to the left middle to Ivan Perisic, who then flicked it ahead to Mandzukic.
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.
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.
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England will play against Sweden while hosts Russian Federation square off against Croatia on July 7 at 7pm and 11pm respectively. Lawro picked the victor in six of the eight last-16 ties, and correctly predicted the outcome of 22 of the 48 group games.
Add to that a bit of Forsberg stardust, and the Swedes can dare to dream, just like they did against Switzerland . In all their group matches, Sweden demonstrated a remarkable art of team work with players playing as one unit.
Much of the build-up to the quarter-final match has centred on the iconic 1998 team as the present meets the past. Croatia are also just the second team to advance through two back-to-back World Cup knockout games after trailing.
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