Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

World Cup Quarter-Final match report Russian Federation v Croatia 07 July 2018

World Cup Quarter-Final match report Russian Federation v Croatia 07 July 2018

Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia beat Russian Federation 4-3 in a shoot-out after a dramatic 2-2 draw on Saturday to end the World Cup hopes of the host nation and advance to a semi-final against England. Daler Kuzyaev scored Russia's third penalty, but when Ivan Rakitic coolly slotted home it signaled an agonizing end to Russia's improbable dream.

The overachieving hosts, the lowest ranked nation in the tournament, were trying to make it to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the Soviet Union team finished fourth at the 1966 tournament in England.

Croatia advance to their first World Cup semifinal since 1998, against England in Moscow on Wednesday. The English team defeated Sweden 2-0.

In the quarterfinals match on Saturday night in Sochi, Russia was eliminated from the tournament by Croatia.

Danijel Subasic, battling through an apparent leg injury suffered late in regular time, stopped Russia's first attempt from the spot and Mario Fernandes sent his shot wide, ending Russia's unlikely run through the knockout stage.

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Croatia hit back just eight minutes later through Andrej Kramaric before Domagoj Vida's scrappy header 10 minutes into extra time looked to have won the tie.

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.

Croatia, beaten in just three of their last 22 competitive outings prior to this game, responded well and were back on level terms eight minutes later.

Tied after 90 minutes, the game went to extra-time, and Croatia took a big step towards sealing victory after defender Domagoj Vida headed his team 2-1 up from a corner kick.

But against Russian Federation they ended that curse, just, winning on penalties to set up a semi-final against England which many may fancy them to get through despite the Three Lions' promise.

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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. "But now we are collecting those debts in this World Cup".

Russia's Fyodor Smolov took the first kick but it was saved by Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Until the 88th minute, the script for this match read: Two evenly-matched teams battling for semi-final place.

Kramaric threatened again seven minutes into the second half, although his overhead-kick was comfortably claimed by Akinfeev, who saw Ivan Strinic fire well over the crossbar from 22 yards out on the left in the 58th minute, before the woodwork came to Russia's rescue two minutes later.

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