England through to semi finals, Croatia advance in penalty thriller

Doug Mendoza
July 8, 2018

Croatia complete the 2018 World Cup semi final line up after beating Russian Federation in dramatic fashion in a penalty shootout in the last quarter final of the competition, and can now look forward to a last four clash with England on Wednesday.

Croatia will now face England in the last four for a place in the final.

The game went to extra-time with Subasic staying on the pitch despite appearing to injure his hamstring late on in normal time.

Croatia then began to settle into possession, only to concede against the run of play in the 31st minute.

They still managed to take the lead with Domagoj Vida's header but a towering header from Brazil-born defender Mario Fernandes force the game into penalties.

But it remains to be seen how quickly the team - with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic watching from the stands - can recover from their efforts, having also been taken to extra-time and penalties by Denmark in the last round.

A wild 1-1 match after 90 minutes saw each team score again in extra time, with penalty kicks deciding consecutive matches for both teams.

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.

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Croatia, for whom Andrej Kramaric and Domagoj Vida had earlier found the net, advance to their first World Cup semi-final since 1998.

Captain Luka Modric is expected to partner Ivan Rakitic in the midfield, while Mandzukic will lead the attack line.

That would not be the only goal of the tournament contender from Cheryshev in that match as he got his second and Russia's fourth with a trivela goal Ricardo Quaresma would have been proud of. And nestle is exactly what it did when Cheryshev broke the deadlock, curling a wonderful left footed shot into the top corner after playing an inch flawless one-two with Artem Dzyuba.

Domagoj Vida headed Luka Modric's corner home 10 minutes into the first extra period, only for Fernandes, the Brazil-born defender who was only granted Russian Federation citizenship by president Vladimir Putin two years ago, to keep Russia's hopes alive in a dramatic finish.

Andreij Kramaric then equalised for Croatia and it remained like that till the end of the second half.

Worked well with Vida to slow down the tempo and maintain procession for Croatia.

Sime Vrsaljko presented Mario Mandzukic with a good chance to open the scoring four minutes later with a low cross from the right, but the striker miscued his shot high and wide of the near post.

But Pivaric was whistled for handling the ball at the corner of the box, and Dzagoev's cross was flicked inside the back post by Fernandes to level the game in the 115th minute.

Other reports by GizPress

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