Croatia defeats Russian Federation on penalties to advance to semis

Irene MckinneyJul 08, 2018

Croatia are through to the semi-final of the World Cup after beating Russia/Croatia following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

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

Tension quickly erupted into jubilation as the masses realised their boy had become the saviour and given Russian Federation an unlikely flicker of hope.

Croatia fans will be massively outnumbered in a crowd of more than 40,000 in Sochi, but Dalic's team are expected to have one notable backer - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

What was to follow though soon saw heartbreak occur on a large scale.

The teams then traded two scores each before Ivan Rakitic calmly converted the winning penalty.

A deathly silence soon filled the room containing Fernandes' family, with footage showing tears emerging from eyes as the realisation hit home. In hope of a semifinal spot for the first time, the hosts were off to a positive start as Cheryshev scored the fourth goal of this World Cup tournament.

Cheryshev's troops were pressurising the Croats looking for the equaliser but the Vatreni managed to go into the break of extra time leading 2-1.

However, it was the Croatians who held their nerve in the shoot-out to triumph 4-3 and will now face England on Wednesday.

But with just five minutes remaining, Russian Federation leveled the score thanks to a headed goal of their own, this time from right-back Mario Fernandes.

The victor of the other semi between France and Belgium is considered the favorite to win the World Cup, but England has arguably its best chance to re-establish itself as the top team in the world since 1966.

Unfortunately for Russia, Croatia's Andrej Kramaric equalized the game eight minutes later off a great pass from Mario Mandzukic.

Stanislav Cherchesov, head coach of the most surprising success story at this World Cup of upstarts, expects to take his first phonecall shortly before kick-off this evening.

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