Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties

Tanya Simon
July 11, 2018

However the Croats trailed for barely eight minutes as Andrej Kramarić headed home to level the scores. But Fernandes followed with Russia's second miss of the shootout.

They will now take on England at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday for a place in the final.

Denis Cheryshev had put Russian Federation in front in the 31st minute with a superb strike - his fourth goal of the tournament - but that was cancelled out eight minutes later by Andrej Kramaric's header.

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.

"Putin called me during the day, and he called me right now", Cherchesov said. Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia returns to the semifinals for the first time since 1998.

"We should have finished the job before penalties, but maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama", said inspirational playmaker Luka Modric.

Having knocked out Spain on penalties in the previous round, Russia, 70th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, again defied the odds to take 20th ranked Croatia to a shootout with a 2-2 draw after extra time but on this occasion their marksmanship deserted them.

Fyodor Smolov saw Russia's first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved a Mateo Kovacic kick, the hosts' fate was sealed when Mario Fernandes fired completely wide from their third attempt.

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"We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all".

It was the second straight time both teams played in a penalty shootout.

Prior to the Round of 16 clash against Spain, the Russians had never previously experienced a penalty-shootout in the competition since participating as an independent nation.

Argentina in 1990 had been the last team to win consecutive World Cup shootouts.

The hosts are one of the more surprising sides to make the last eight, having shocked the world in their penalty defeat of Spain last weekend. This was not a handsome game, it was a fight, a battle for the semifinal. In the end, coach Zlatko Dalic replaces Vrsaljko with veteran Vedran Corluka. "We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty it came bursting out of me". This World Cup campaign is also probably the last time for a cohort of talented players like Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mandzukic to sign off with worldwide silverware.

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

Cheryshev scored twice in Russia's 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the tournament's opening game, and was also on target as they defeated Egypt 3-1 in their second group outing.

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