Croatia ends Russia's World Cup dream on penalties

Jose Verdugo
Julio 11, 2018

Croatia also came through the last round on penalties after drawing with Denmark.

Zlatko Dalic's side bossed proceedings, but found themselves trailing to a gem of a strike by Denis Cheryshev after 31 minutes, before Andrej Kramaric brought them back on level terms six minutes to the half-time break.

After scoring minutes apart in regulation and again in extra time, it would come to penalties again as Croatia and Russian Federation tussled for the right to play England in the semifinals.

Fourteen minutes later, Dzagoev curled in a brilliant free-kick from the right edge of the area and the unmarked Fernandes deftly headed the ball into the bottom corner to drag his team back from the cliff edge.

Hosts Russia has been the surprise package of the tournament and endured a real battle against Spain eventually prevailing after penalties. In 1966 while still known as the USSR, the semi-finals against eventual winners England was as good as it got for them.

Ivan Rakitic is your man!

A stunning shot emerged in the 62nd minute when Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic's effort from right to left hit the base of the post.

It was a match that, frankly, was pretty boring for the first 30 minutes. That all changed in spectacular style as Cheryshev won the ball in midfield, exchanged a one-two pass with striker Ayrtom Dyzuba before swerving a rocket that dipped into the top corner of the Croatia goal to open the scoring.

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Russian Federation will play in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, Like last match they will let the opponents have possesion, narrowing down width for passing and playing on the counter.

115 - Goal! Russia 2, Croatia 2. Croatia equalized with Andrej Kramaric's header near halftime.

Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic add star quality to the Croatia lineup, while Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida keep their places at centre-back.

The game stayed locked at 1-1 through the final whistle, prompting two periods of extra time.

Russian Federation made their final change in response, bringing on Alan Dzagoev for Aleksandr Golovin, and they almost had a chance when Subasic leapt for and fumbled a cross, but the whistle came to stop play and the goalkeeper again grabbed this thigh in pain.

Having knocked out Spain on penalties in the previous round, Russia, 70th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, again defied the odds to take 20th ranked Croatia to a shootout with a 2-2 draw after extra time but on this occasion their marksmanship deserted them. Akinfeev denied Mateo Kovacic and nearly kept out Luka Modric's effort from 12 yards out, but Rakitic converted the decisive effort to seal a 4-3 win in the shootout.

The subsequent shoot-out then saw Subasic and Akinfeev make a save each before Fernandes' miss, which allowed Rakitic to send Croatia through.

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