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

Zagreb bursts into joy as Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties

Zagreb bursts into joy as Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties

Both Russia and Croatia had needed extra-time in their matches against Spain and Denmark, respectively, and thus emulated South Korea and Spain, who needed extra time and penalties to separate each other in the last eight of 2002. Akinfeev made one save during the shootout and almost had another on Luka Modric, but the shot deflected off Akinfeev's hand, off the post and into the net.

Croatia's flair for the dramatic suggests another penalty shootout is in store, and the Croatians will make history by winning a third straight.

The date of the last time an England's men's side played in a semi final of a World Cup.

Croatia has never gotten that far, but it is back in the semis for the second time, and the first since 1998.

England Croatia semi-final
We have two matches to play and we are very motivated. "And there, there are Englishmen who owe us something, ever since 2009". That Croatia side hammered Germany 3-0 to reach the semis in France , and Dalic is looking for a similar result on Saturday.

"I think we are underdogs from Day 1 and it's good for us", Croatia defender Dejan Lovren said.

"Holding the ball up, tirelessly stretching defenses into submission and making intelligent runs either onto throughballs or to open up space for Croatia's craftsmen are all caveats to Mandzukic's game".

In the end, coach Zlatko Dalic replaces Vrsaljko with veteran Vedran Corluka. "We've already accomplished something big, but we want to do more", he told reporters. - Only one of the last six World Cup matches to go to extra-time has not gone to penalties - the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina.

After 10 years of Real's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi dominating the Ballon d'Or, there has been talk that leading his country to World Cup glory could see Modric break the pair's stranglehold on the award for the world's best player. After that match, Subasic revealed he had been playing in tribute to a dead friend.

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Russian Federation have bowed out, but with their heads held high, while Croatia go on to face England in the semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday. "That will keep it more interesting and exciting, especially if we have a match-up between Russian Federation and England (in the semi-finals)".

He said: "We feel like conscripts, when they come to just before they have done their two-year (national) service, like those a bit demoralised who wanted to stay in the army for some more time longer". We saw England play today, they're compact and have a few remarkable players, they are strong at set plays.

Russia President Vladimir Putin was understood to have watched the match with a Kremlin report later saying he was "proud" of the team. We have to be proud this is an unbelievable thing.

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