Croatia end World Cup run of hosts Russian Federation on penalties in quarters

Jo Caldwell
July 9, 2018

It would have been better if we could have stayed (in the World Cup) to July 15, ' Cherchesov said at a post-match press conference.

"We were faced with a really good opponent and we didn't reach peak performance". "We left everything on the field". I told him we were disappointed.

"Another drama for us", said the 32-year-old Modric.

"After the game, Putin phoned him again and noted the team's worthy performance at the World Cup, as well as Russia's handsome and determined game in the historic match against Croatia".

The winners of the last quarter-final will go through to a semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday against England, who beat Sweden 2-0 earlier.

The second half did not yield any goal, but Damagoj Vida (101) and Mario Fernandes' (115) headers in extra time forced the game to penalties.

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Croatia's Dejan Lovren and Russia's Fyodor Smolov look up at the ball. Igor Akinfeev was more than once called into action in the opening moments and each time displayed his class that was so apparent versus Spain to keep Ante Rebic's effort out.

Ivan Rakitic scored the winning spot-kick in Sochi at the end of a draining and roller-coaster last-8 clash that finished 2-2 after extra time.

The score was locked at 2-2 after regulation and extra-time, with Denis Cheryshev in the 31st minute and Brazil-born Mario Fernandes in the 115th on target for Russian Federation, and Croatia temporarily leading from Andrej Kramaric in the 39th and Domagoj Vida in the 101st.

Croatia only needed nine minutes to reply when Kramaric headed home after Mandzukic broke down the left and found him perfectly.

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

Russian Federation shocked Spain in the last round after drawing 1-1 and then beating them on penalties 4-3.

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In contrast, Uruguay march on with arguably the best defence in worldwide football and one of the best strike pairings anywhere. Cavani then had to be helped off by Ronaldo before watching the rest of the game from the dugout with ice on a calf injury.

Argentina in 1990 had been the last team to win consecutive World Cup shootouts.

Russia's unexpectedly extended home World Cup finals finally came to an end deep into the Sochi night, via the agony of a penalty shoot-out.

And in the extra session, it looked like Croatia was well on their way to the victory and avoiding penalty kicks.

"It wasn't a attractive game, but it was a battle", Dalic said. "I felt that we had the match in our hands".

Modric did create four chances in the win as the game progress and formations changed but it was not to the effect many have come to know from the Real Madrid man, while Rakitic failed to create a single chance in his time on the pitch.

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. Cherchesov will have to do without experienced wing-back Yuri Zhirkov who is unavailable for the game against Croatia.

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