Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Croatia thrills as Russia's fairytale World Cup run ends in tears

Dejan Lovren- Dejan Lovren confident Croatia can beat Russia in quarter-final and eclipse 1998 heroes by winning World Cup title Dejan Lovren believes Croatia can win the World Cup Credit Getty Images
Tamara Craig | 09 July, 2018, 07:08

Russia's World Cup dream ended within agonizing sight of the semi-finals as they went down, 4-3, on penalties to Croatia on Saturday after another gallant performance in front of their fanatical fans which again belied their lowly ranking.

But he kept going and pulled off a series of saves in extra-time before reading Fyodor Smolov's intention of a cheeky Panenka penalty in the shoot-out.

The reaction to Vida's goal was nearly one of shock as it crept through the legs of teammate Vedran Corluka and into the bottom corner, with the home crowd left temporarily silent and in disbelief as the goalscorer reeled away and ripped off his shirt in celebration.

Denis Cheryshev is back in the Russian Federation starting line-up for the hosts' meeting with Croatia in their World Cup quarter-final in Sochi on Saturday.

Fernandes, who was born in Brazil but rejected a chance to play for that country's national team, sent his penalty kick wide of the net in the shootout, giving Croatia the advantage. That strike was canceled out eight minutes later by a Andrej Kramaric header.

Croatia were agonisingly close to scoring on the hour when Russia's defence failed to clear the ball and Ivan Perisic's shot hit the inside of the post but rebounded harmlessly across the face of the goal.

In the 11th minute of extra-time Domagoj Vida nodded in, before Fernandes brought things level once again.

Croatia pressed for a late victor, earning a pair of corners, but the game went to extra-time where after four minutes, right-back Sime Vrsaljko picked up an injury and Vedran Corluka became Croatia's fourth sub.

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Cheryshev exploited it in a way the likes of Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane could come Wednesday, launching a long-range effort which had Danijel Subasic helpless in the Croatia goal. Fedor Smolov tried to trick Subasic with a chip shot, but the execution was poor and Subasic was able to recover and swat the ball away after he dove to the ground.

Vida removed his shirt as he ran away in celebration, possibly thinking Croatia were heading through.

'We watched the game today and saw how good they are from dead-ball situations, so will have to focus more on defending set-pieces, because we conceded towards the end today from a set-piece and we will have to improve that element of our game'.

Croatia also progressed to the quarter-finals thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over Denmark.

Ilya Kutepov of Russia looks dejected following his sides defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia at Fisht Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.

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

Russian Federation had fought their way through Group A as runners-up and then beat Spain in a penalty shoot-out before their journey came to an end against Croatia in Sochi.

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