Croatia breaks Russian hearts, eliminating World Cup host in penalty shootout

Croatia Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic

Croatia Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic

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

Croatia will play England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup after they knocked out hosts Russian Federation via another penalty shoot-out.

Although Russia failed to book a semi-final encounter with England, Cherchesov claimed Putin was impressed by their display.

Zlatko Dalic's side bossed proceedings, but found themselves trailing to a gem of a strike by Denis Cheryshev after 31 minutes, before Andrej Kramaric brought them back on level terms six minutes to the half-time break. However, Croatia played with much confidence and initiative.

Modric said "we will prepare well" for a "a very hard tight and demanding match" and added that it has not gone unnoticed that eight of England's 10 goals in Russian Federation have come from set pieces. They are still great guys for us, they are heroes. "See you in the finals", the president said. In the 76th minute of the match at the 2018 world Cup, started the real heat.

Despite the huge home support in Sochi, Croatia came into the game as favourites.

By the time it came to the shootout, both sets of players were exhausted, as Ivan Rakitic struck the victor for Croatia after Russian misses from Fernandes and Fyodor Smolov.

The hosts went ahead thanks to a bolt from the blue just after the half-hour mark. 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.

Aleksandr Erokhin put a free header over the bar and Croatia had just completed their substitutions when Subasic pulled up with a thigh problem, but was able to continue after treatment and had his gloves stung by Fedor Smolov at the near post.

The striker saw the space on the left of the box before sending a low cross to Kramaric, who then bent down to steer a header pass goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev into the bottom right corner of the net.

Luka Modric admitted Croatia felt shattered after they ended Russia's World Cup hopes in another penalty shootout on Saturday, July 7, to advance to a semifinal against England.

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.

Thousands of other red-and-white-painted supporters celebrated the victory at fan zones in the capital and other cities. I am playing in the quarter-finals.

Croatia were on a four-match unbeaten run going into the game - their longest run to date in the competition. Sadness because losing to Croatia on penalty kicks after fighting for 120 minutes to a 2-2 draw means Russia's World Cup is over.

"Dalic's Croatia repeated the success of the legendary generation from 1998. they reached the World Cup semi-finals and continued their fairytale", said the Tportal website.

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