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09 July 2018, 11:49 | Charlene Valdez
Croatia defeat Russia 4-3 on penalties to reach 2018 World Cup semifinal
Englandsecured their place in the last four - for the first time since 1990 - earlier in the day with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden inside 90 minutes, while Croatia were taken all the way to penalties by Russian Federation after already beating Denmark in a shootout in the previous round. Not only have they face tougher opponents on paper, they also had to dig deep to overcome situations that had their backs facing the wall.
A million dollar question is doing the rounds in England: "Is it coming home?". "At this point we will not give up anything and will play against England with all the enthusiasm and passion of Croatian football". Croatia went on to win the match in a penalty shootout. And we know the honeymoon may not last forever, but the ex-Middlesbrough boss so far has the momentum of something much bigger than his resume. Now we are close to them because we are in the semi-final again.
Actually, breaking the 2018 record established by Croatia'sJuly 1 victory in penalties over Denmark, the Russian loss to the Luka Modric lead team scored a whooping 5.0/13 in metered market ratings.
In a set of quarter-finals littered with exceptional managerial, individual and team performances, Belgium's win over Brazil was perhaps the standout.
The video shows Croatia defender Domagoj Vida shouting "glory to Ukraine" before the retired ex-player Ognjen Vukojevic adds "this win is for Dynamo and Ukraine. go Croatia".
The Russians as hosts did not need to qualify for the World Cup and their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russia, even lower than global football minnows Saudi Arabia.
"Luck was against us", Cherchesov said.
Incredibly, this fairytale run comes 20 years on from their memorable first World Cup campaign, when Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and co. finished third at the 1998 tournament in France.
Croatia have been pushed to the brink twice in penalties, and England may well be fresher due to getting their business done in the 90 minutes against Sweden. "I'm happy that I was part of this team, with this coach and this country for nearly 20 years", he added. "It's an unbelievable feeling to be going to a semi-final at a World Cup". France won 4-2 when the teams met in the group stages in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Begins the play, takes corners and penalties and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in his own half either. Croatia can build a game, can play on a counter, crossing, and can score even outside of the box. The European side hadn't managed to taste success in seven matches in the lead-up to the quadrennial tournament and lost a few key players, including influential striker Alexandr Kokorin, to injury.
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Croatia explodes with joy as team reaches World Cup semis
Neither team could be separated after extra-time, which ended 2-2 after an absorbing and exhausting battle at Fisht Stadium. Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, already hobbled with a leg injury, could do nothing but watch it hit the net.