Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Croatia knock out Russian Federation on penalties

Croatia knock out Russian Federation on penalties

However, it was Russian Federation who would open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, with Denis Cheryshev scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

Croatia's Domagoj Vida broke the deadlock in extra-time, getting his head to the ball from a corner to score in the 101st minute but Fernandes headed home from a free-kick just five minutes before the end in Sochi.

Dalic's team has emulated the generation of Suker which surprised everyone on Croatia's debut on the global stage in 1998 by reaching the semifinals which they narrowly lost to hosts France, who went on to lift the trophy.

An exhausted and relieved Croatia side - only the second team to win consecutive shootouts in a single World Cup after Argentina in 1990 - will now advance to face England in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Ivan Rakitic is your man!

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Russian Federation and Croatia have faced each other three times previously, with two of those ending goalless in qualifiers for Euro 2008; Croatia won the other meeting in November 2015, a 3-1 victory in a friendly.

"At certain moments we lacked power, but we have played two matches of 120 minutes of football in six days, and of course this will leave a mark on you and you have to pay the toll for such exertions".

Cheryshev collected the ball near the halfway line, exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and curled a superb 25-metre shot past the transfixed Subasic.

The crowd erupted, but Croatia were undeterred and equalised just eight minutes later.

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.

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Kramaric had an overhead kick gathered by Akinfeev shortly after the break and Perisic was then inches away from putting Croatia in front as he saw his strike come back off the inside of a post. Denis Cheryshev (Russia) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.

Croatia pressed for a late victor, earning a pair of corners, but the game went to extra-time where after four minutes, right-back Sime Vrsaljko picked up an injury and Vedran Corluka became Croatia's fourth sub.

Akinfeev was helpless as Vida's header sneaked through a body of players into the bottom-right corner of the net from a corner on the right.

Penalties were required and while Smolov's feeble Panenka attempt with the first effort was foiled by Subasic, parity was restored when Akinfeev got down to his left to keep out Mateo Kovacic's second kick for Croatia.

The former Leicester City striker's looping cross eventually found its way to Ivan Perišić, who struck the post - with Igor Akinfeev well beaten, as the game eventually went to extra-time.

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Croatian football boss Davor Suker admitted he needed some extra help in the deciding stages of the World Cup quarterfinal against hosts Russian Federation.

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