Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Injured Dzagoev preparing for Croatia - Russia coach

Croatia president FIFA World Cup 2018: England, Croatia end long wait for semi-final spot
Frederick Owens | 11 July, 2018, 15:33

The victor of today's clash will face either England or Sweden in the semi-finals. Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were on target for England with two headers.

Kramaric became the seventh different player to score for Croatia at this World Cup - only Belgium have more names on the scoresheet (9).

Subasic was hobbled in the second half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, but he was able to stay in the game and remained strong between the posts.

Croatia sneaked into the last four through the shootout route where Smolov missed and so did Mario Fernandes, the naturalised Brazilian who brought Russian Federation back into the match in the 114thminute of extra-time.

Nothing could separate the two sides in the extra-time as both the teams scored a goal apiece owing to which, the match was decided on penalties where Croatia prevailed. The music stopped for Russian Federation but the tune will haunt them for long. Croatia's shooters did enough that Ivan Rakitic's successful penalty was the victor and set off another wild celebration with Subasic on the bottom of the pile.

Denis Cheryshev marked his return to the starting line-up with yet another contender for goal of the tournament after his stunning efforts against Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the group stage, but his first-half opener was cancelled out by Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.

- Denis Cheryshev scored four goals for Russian Federation at the 2018 World Cup - only England striker Harry Kane has scored more (six).

Following a long ball forward, Cheryshev gathered and played a one-two with Artem Dzyuba to get around Luka Modric, then stepped up to launch a shot from 25 yards into the top corner, leaving Croatia keeper Subasic stranded.

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- Only one of the last six World Cup matches to go to extra-time has not gone to penalties - the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina.

Real Madrid's Modric agreed, saying: "We have enough time to rest and prepare well".

It was a match that, frankly, was pretty boring for the first 30 minutes.

Marcelo Brozović and Alan Dzagoev were next up and were successful, but Mateo Kovačić was second up for the Croats and denied by Akinfeev, who guessed correctly to restore parity.

Modric got a 2-1 advantage for Croatia.

"We expect a very hard and tough, tight, demanding match, every match at this World Cup is like that", Modric said at a post-match press conference, broadcast via FIFATV.

Both goalkeepers made early saves in the shootout, with an injured Danijel Subasic stopping the opening shot from Fyodor Smolov.

But then, with just five minutes to go, Mario Fernandes played the role of hero, heading home a set piece to make it 2-2.

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