World Cup: Croatia Squeak Past Russia On Penalties To Set Up Semi-Final Clash With England (Photos & Video)

Alan Duffy

7th, July 2018


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Croatia will play England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup after they knocked out hosts Russia via another penalty shoot-out.

Both sides book their places in the last eight courtesy of dramatic shoot-out wins, with Croatia beating Denmark and the hosts shocking Spain.

Despite the huge home support in Sochi, Croatia came into the game as favourites.

However, it was Russia who would open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, with Denis Cheryshev scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

It would take just eight minutes for Croatia to level the scores, with Mario Mandzukic setting up former Leicester City attacker Andrej Kramaric, who headed home.

Croatia continued to pass and probe, and on the hour-mark, Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic went close, hitting the post when he probably should have scored.

Russia remained a threat on the break, via their more direct brand of football.

However, the 90 minutes would produce no more goals, with the game forced into extra-time.

Croatia looked to have sealed the victory on 100 minutes, with defender Domagoj Vida powering in a header from a corner.

The hosts weren’t dead yet and late in the second-period, sub Alan Dzagoev’s deft free-kick was glanced home by the Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes.

The 120 minutes would end 2-2, with the dreaded penalty shoot-out awaiting the two sides.

Russia got off to the worst possible start, with Fedor Smolov’s feeble attempt at a Panenka easily saved by Danijel Subasic.

Marcelo Brozovic clinically despatched his spot-kick before Dzagoev made it 1-1.

Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic then saw his penalty saved before goal-hero Fernandes directed his effort wide of the goal.

With the scores at 1-1, Modric, who had missed a penalty in extra-time against Denmark before scoring in the shoot-out, saw his spot-kick just about squeak past Igor Akinfeev in the Russian goal.

Veteran defender Sergei Ignashevich, Vida and Daler Kuzyaev then all scored to make it 3-3, leaving Ivan Rakitic to calmly convert the winning penalty…

What another dramatic clash served up by this unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining World Cup.

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Croatia now have a few days to recharge their batteries ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final meeting with England, with Gareth Southgate and co. no doubt pleased to see their last four opponents pushed all the way yet again.

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As for Russia, after being written off by everyone, including their own media, before a ball had even been kicked, they have been superb value throughout the competition, and can surely build on their relative success this time around ahead of the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.

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  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    The Russians have been wonderful hosts. Defying all odds, veteran defender Ignatius and companions almost made it. Well played Russia. All the best in future editions of the world cup. Congratulations to cool-headed Croatia.

  2. Archer says:

    No fear, England! It’s coming home, it’s coming home…!

  3. VieuxSang says:

    Devil’s tablecloth versus a cross plucked from an Italian woman

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