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Russian Federation vs. Croatia - Football Match Report

Russian Federation vs. Croatia - Football Match Report

Luka Modric admitted Croatia were shattered after they ended Russia's World Cup hopes in another penalty shootout on Saturday to advance to a semi-final against England.

It also meant that Croatia became the first side to win two penalty shootouts in a single World Cup campaign since Argentina in 1990.

Ivan Perisic had a great chance to send Croatia 2-1 ahead but his drive was denied by the left post in the 60th minute after the ball fell on his feet at the penalty spot following a deep cross from left-back Strinic was brought into play by Kramaric and two defenders fumbled the ball inside the box.

This Russia team - the lowest-ranked side in the tournament at 70 in the world rankings - wasn't supposed to be in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, competing in a quarterfinal against Croatia.

"He congratulated us on a very good game", said the coach, who lost just one of his five games in the World Cup after losing nine of his first 20 with the national team.

Consequently, Croatia will now face England in the semi-final on 11 July 2018.

Russian Federation opened the scoring on the country's Black Sea coast at Fisht Olympic Stadium with a corker from top scorer Denis Cheryshev.

Denis Cheryshev's 25-yard screamer in the 31st minute gave Russian Federation the lead but Croatia pulled level through Andrej Kramaric's header in the 39th minute.

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Mandzukic turned provider for the equaliser, charging down the left and pulling back for an Andrej Kramaric free header from seven yards. Quickly eyeing the open space on his right, he played a give-and-go with Dzyuba to create space, and then unleased a left-footer to the awe of all who witnessed a classic goal.

When the World Cup draw was made, no one expected Russian Federation to make it out of the group stages with Uruguay and Egypt the fancied sides in Group A, but they got through. "What we achieved, that was so cool", Andrey, a lawyer, said next to a street corner screen that had shown the match. But slack defending allowed Croatia to level eight minutes later.

In a dramatic match, Russian Federation had taken the lead through Denis Cheryshev's exceptional finish, the Villarreal player starting the move before finishing from outside the area after Artem Dzyuba's pass.

Cheryshev, who scored three times in the group-stage wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was back in the line-up here after beginning on the bench against Spain last weekend.

After a 1-1 draw after the regular time, Vida headed in a dramatic corner in the 101st minute but he was booked a yellow card for taking off his jersey for celebration. His hand was forced when Sime Vrsaljko went down with a knee injury early in extra time and Dalic was forced to use his final substitution to replace the defender.

And it appears Dalic realised his mistake with extra-time looming as he brought Marcelo Brozovic on for Perisic midway through the second-half, switching to a 4-3-3 which gave both Modric and Rakitic a bit more freedom than they had been afforded and lead to the no.10's Man of the Match display.

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