Croatia beat Russia on penalties to reach World Cup semi-finals

Russia team news: Predicted Russia line up vs Croatia – Hosts revert to 4-2-3-1

Ivan Rakitic stroked home the winning penalty to send Croatia into a semi-final against England after Mario Fernandes dramatically equalised for Russian Federation with five minutes of extra time remaining, only to miss a crucial kick in the shootout.

Crotia then went in front with a soft header from substitute Domagoj Vida in the 101st minute, the first goal scored in extra time at the tournament.

But their lead would only last eight minutes as Andrej Kramaric headed in from Mario Mandzukic's cross to rain on Russia's parade and ultimately take the game into extra-time. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. "Of course there is some power left for the English - we'll not stop, we'll try to play our best game then".

"We have shown in this World Cup that we have the right to hope for big things".

Croatia went agonisingly close to taking the lead for the first time on the hour, but Perisic was denied by the upright after Igor Akinfeev flapped at a lofted ball from Kramaric.

The Croats hadn't advanced to the semifinals at the World Cup since 1998, when the country made its first appearance.

At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot - only the second player to miss in any of the four shootouts at this year's World Cup.

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.

The overachieving hosts, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at No. 70, were trying to make it to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the Soviet Union finished fourth at the 1966 tournament in England.

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

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic made one save in the shootout, blocking Fedor Smolov's attempt.

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

"It wasn't a handsome game, but it was a battle", Dalic said.

Boasting superstars such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic to mention a few, the Vatreni's squad have been dubbed the golden generation and will be under pressure to deliver.

His first, in the opening 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia would most likely finish third on this list for its simpler finish, but Cheryshev had the most attractive of first touches, delicately flicking it up over the sliding defender, taking another touch before firing it home and doubling Russia's lead.

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