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National Teams

England up next

More penalty drama
as Croatia reaches
World Cup semifinals!

More penalty drama as Croatia reaches World Cup semifinals!
photo by: HNS
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Croatia national football team secured World Cup semifinals berth after a penalty shootout win over Russia! On Wednesday, Croatia faces England for a place in the World Cup final.

RUSSIA - CROATIA 5:6 (2:2, 1:1, 1:1 - 11m)
2018 FIFA World Cup, quarterfinals.
Fisht Stadium, Sochi.

Referee: S. Ricci (Brazil)

Goals: 1:0 - Cheryshev (31'), 1:1 - Kramarić (39'), 1:2 - Vida (101'), 2:2 - Fernandes (115')

Cautions: Lovren (35'), Strinić (38'), Vida (101'), Gazinskii (109'), Pivarić (114')

Russia: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Kudriashov, Cheryshev (67' Smolov), Kuziaev, Zobnin, Golovin (102' Dzagoev), Samedov (54' Erokhin), Dzyuba (79' Gazinskii). Head coach: S. Cherchesov. 

Croatia: Subašić, Strinić (74' Pivarić), Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko (97' Ćorluka), Rakitić, Modrić, Perišić (63' Brozović), Kramarić (88' Kovačić), Rebić, Mandžukić. Head coach: Z. Dalić.

photo by: HNS

Following the group stage wins over Nigeria, Argentina, and Iceland, and the penalty shootout win over Denmark in the Round of 16, Croatia faces hosts Russia in Sochi in the final 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal clash.

In the opening minutes, Russians came close to Subašić on a couple of occasions, Rebić responded, but there were no real opportunities until 31st minute, when Cheryshev struck from distance, curling it superbly in the top corner (1:0).

photo by: HNS

However, Croatia was quick to respond once again. In difficult moments, Mandžukić managed to cross for Kramarić, who headed in from close range on 39 minutes (1:1).

On one-hour mark, Perišić hit the woodwoork, and Subašić saved Smolov's effort into added time, despite struggling with hamstring injury.

photo by: HNS

Therefore, it was more extra-time for both Croatia and Russia, and it was Vida on 101 minutes who gave Croatia the lead. Modrić crossed from a corner-kick, and Vida's header just found the net to make it 2:1.

Russia did not surrender, though. Five minutes before time, Fernandes headed in Dzagoev's set-piece, and with the scoreline 2:2, another penalty shootout drama was inevitable.

photo by: HNS

Subašić saved Smolov's penalty to start with, later on Akinfeev saved Kovačić's effort, and then Fernandes failed to find the target. Considering that Dzagoev, Ignashevich, and Kuziaev found the net for Russia, and Brozović, Modrić, Vida, and once again Rakitić to finish it off did the same for Croatia, Croatian celebrations were in order. 

Croatia plays England on Wednesday, 11 July (20:00 CET), at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. On Tuesday, France and Belgium meet in the first semifinals match.

photo by: HNS

WC 2018 - Quarterfinals, 07.07.2018.. Spectators: 44287
Referees: Sandro RIcci (BRA), Emerson De Carvalho (BRA), Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
1Igor Akinfeev23Danijel Subašić
2Mario Fernandes
9Andrej Kramarić
3Ilya Kutepov7Ivan Rakitić
4Sergey Ignashevich10Luka Modrić
6Denis Cheryshev
2Šime Vrsaljko
7Daler Kuziaev6Dejan Lovren
11Roman Zobnin18Ante Rebić
13Fedor Kudriashov4Ivan Perišić
17Aleksandr Golovin
3Ivan Strinić
19Alexander Samedov
17Mario Mandžukić
22Artem Dzyuba
21Domagoj Vida
12Andrei Lunev1Dominik Livaković
20Vladimir Gabulov12Lovre Kalinić
5Andrey Semenov14Filip Bradarić
8Iury Gazinsky
8Mateo Kovačić
9Alan Dzagoev
5Vedran Ćorluka
10Fedor Smolov
15Duje Ćaleta-Car
14Vladimir Granat13Tin Jedvaj
15Alexey Miranchuk20Marko Pjaca
16Anton Miranchuk22Josip Pivarić
18Yury Zhirkov19Milan Badelj
21Aleksandr Erokhin
11Marcelo Brozović
23Igor Smolnikov
Stanislav CherchesovZlatko Dalić

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić and vice-captain Ivan Rakitić held a press conference regard the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals encounter with Russia.

Zlatko Dalić

"We can not choose our opponents, and it doesn't really matter who's on the other side. We need no excuses, but to play our game. Russian home support should not be a problem - our players are used to such an atmosphere. Russia did not reach the quarterfinals by accident, and our plan includes quality organization, quality defence, aggression, and unity, and we need to offer more in attack. We respect Russia, and it will be another tough match. The entire Croatia lives in euphoria, it's almost a holiday when the national team is playing. We want to repeat the success of France '98, we have the same objective. Now it is required of us to find strength, energy, and motivation to be at our best and defeat Russia. This has to be our finest hour"

Ivan Rakitić

"It is a special feeling to play the hosts, and we need to enjoy every moment - including attack, defence, and a lot of effort. A top performance is needed. We have analyzed the Russian team, they are a tough opponent who deserved to be here, and now everything is up to us. We can hardly wait the kick-off, and we are full of desire to show the world how good and strong we are. We are playing for our fans throughout the world - and many international fans who also support us, which confirms we are on the right path. We understand each other, like a family. Croatia internationals from 1998 are our heroes and we want to continue where they left off"


foto: HNS