Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Russian Federation heartbreak, buoyant England thrive

Russian Federation heartbreak, buoyant England thrive

The hosts have surprised everyone at this World Cup and will look to continue that.

Croatia won a second consecutive penalty shootout 4-3 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, ending the tournament for hosts Russian Federation, who had equalised late in extra time. Akinfeev denied Mateo Kovacic and nearly kept out Luka Modric's effort from 12 yards out, but Rakitic converted the decisive effort to seal a 4-3 win in the shootout.

The decisive penalty once again fell to Rakitic, though, and he confidently rolled the ball into the bottom-left corner to keep Croatia's dreams of a first World Cup final alive.

After the majority of them had watched England make their way past Sweden 2-0 in the day's other quarterfinal in Samara, they traipsed to Fisht Olympic Stadium, a beacon of Sochi 2014 legacy situated a pebble-throw from the beach, knowing a date with The Three Lions in Moscow awaited should they win.

Fernandes, who was born in Brazil but rejected a chance to play for that country's national team, sent his penalty kick wide of the net in the shootout, giving Croatia the advantage.

Domagoj Vida looked like he had won it for Croatia in extra-time, only for naturalised hero Mario Fernandes to find an even later equaliser to force a penalty shootout.

After a tense first half hour, Denis Cheryshev gave Russian Federation the lead with an unstoppable long-range effort.

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Croatia only needed nine minutes to reply when Kramaric headed home after Mandzukic broke down the left and found him perfectly.

Subasic appeared to sustain a hamstring injury when stopping a deflected Aleksandr Erokhin cross go out for a corner, though he recovered to bat away Smolov's drive from an acute angle in stoppage time.

Cheryshev, back in the starting lineup, cut in from the left, exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and skipped away from a Modric challenge before firing home a superb shot from 25 yards.

Cheryshev was Russia's leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals.

Croatia's Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren and Josip Pivaric celebrate after winning the penalty shootout against Russia in Fisht Stadium, Sochi, Russia.

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

'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.

Fyodor Smolov saw Russia's first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although home keeper Igor Akinfeev kept out a Mateo Kovacic kick, the hosts' fate was sealed when Fernandes missed. Andreij Kramaric then equalised for Croatia and it remained like that till the end of the second half.

Like this: