#WC2018: Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to set up semi against England

#WC2018: Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to set up semi against England

Cherchesov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had called him before the match and after. "It will be an interesting game and we will fight to make the final".

"We believe that it will be a very tough, hard match", Modric said.

Speaking to ITV, former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic said winning the World Cup would be the greatest sporting achievement in the country's history, which he now rates as a third-placed finish at France 1998.

Vida had nearly sealed it for Croatia with his 101st-minute header, but the Russia's hopes were kept alive by Brazilian Fernandes, who unleashed a wonderful header off Alan Dzagoev's free-kick minutes before start of the shoot-out, making it 2-2.

"We have already achieved something big by reaching the semi-finals".

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.

Denis Cheryshev scored a brilliant opener in the first half but just eight minutes later former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramarić headed the Croatians level.

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"I believe that the keyword is how we leave - it's better to leave when you feel pride", Cherchesov told reporters. We've built that and to get through the two games we've had this week needed all of that because we're not the finished article.

It's the second straight match for both teams that went to a penalty shootout. "After the game, Putin phoned him again and noted the team's worthy performance at the World Cup, as well as Russia's attractive and determined game in the historic match against Croatia". The defending champions at the time defeated Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals and Italy in the semifinals that year, which also made Italy the last host nation to lose on penalties before Saturday.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said Subasic's uncertain health had affected his substitution management going into extra time.

"This was not a lovely game, but it was a fight", Dalic commented.

"We were a little unlucky".

Turning to his rival at club level but team-mate on the worldwide stage, Rakitic described Croatia captain Luka Modric as "a leader" and admitted he loathes playing against the Real Madrid star.

"At that moment, we had to repay everything he's given us on so many occasions". He converted the final penalty for Russian Federation in the shootout against Spain, as well as the victor against Egypt and a pair of goals in the opener against Saudi Arabia in the group stage.

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