Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to reach semis

Brenda Watkins
July 8, 2018

"He watched, he was rooting for the team. We will enjoy this game and hopefully we can make history".

"We saw how good they are from dead balls so will have to focus more on defending set-pieces because we conceded from a set-piece today, so have to improve that element of our game". "They were dying on the pitch, we are proud with them", Peskov was quoted as saying.

The magnitude of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since the country's World Cup debut at France 1998 proved evident from the celebrations that both the striker and his team-mates witnessed back home. "We showed how calm and self-confident we are".

However, it was not to be for the resilient hosts, with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving Fedor Smolov's penalty and Fernandes firing wide before Rakitic kept his composure to send Croatia through.

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"From the first second I put together this team, I knew where it was heading", the coach added. "He called before and after the match against Spain". "We told him we were disappointed".

"It will be a sign to all clubs that, whether it's in England or overseas, that English players can play, that we've got players with super technique".

How they got there Croatia after winning Group D with a 100 per cent record have had to grit their way through the knockout stages with penalty shoot-out wins over Denmark and hosts Russian Federation.

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Croatia side beat hosts Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in their last-eight match in Sochi.

The disappointment of defeat late yesterday soon melted into applause as fans toasted a national side that had repeatedly defied expectations.

Many disappointed fans broke out in applause after the tense loss to Croatia, spilling out of bars and viewing areas chanting "Russia" and dancing to music on the streets.

"Our boys, they really did great".

"It was a great match. It will be a battle again, but I trust us and I have belief in us".

Stuff's footballing experts try to predict the outcomes of the two semifinal matches at the World Cup.

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