Croatia breaks Russian hearts, eliminating World Cup host in penalty shootout

Grigory Dukor  Reuters

Starting the penalty shootouts with a miss, Russian Federation could not save their World Cup dreams as Ivan Rakitic scored the deciding kick that saw Croatia through to the semifinal where they will face England. "Of course, I am rooting for Croatia and want Team Croatia to advance". Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thanked the team on his Facebook account.

As far as the game itself, watchers marveled at Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subašić, who suffered an apparent hamstring injury yet kept playing.

Full Time: Russia 1 vs Croatia 2 - Kramaric cancelled out Cheryshev's opener in the first half and there were no goals in the second half.

But Fernandes, the man whose goal took it to pens, put the ball wide the very next spot kick.

However, it was the Croatians who held their nerve in the shoot-out to triumph 4-3 and will now face England on Wednesday.

The regulation time ended 2-2 before Croatia sealed their qualification to the last four of the tournament winning on penalties.

Subasic stopped Daler Kuzyayev from equalising in the second half of extra-time, but it was only moments later when Russian Federation finally did have their dramatic equaliser as Fernandes met a fine Alan Dzagoev free-kick with a glancing header and expertly guided the ball into the far corner. Yet Russia, backed by a hopeful and optimistic home crowd in Sochi, actually looked the more threatening without creating any clear chances.

The hosts qualified for the last eight after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over former world champions, Spain. "We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty it came bursting out of me".

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