Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

World Cup Quarter-Final match report Russian Federation v Croatia 07 July 2018

World Cup Quarter-Final match report Russian Federation v Croatia 07 July 2018

Croatia beat hosts Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties after the teams were level at 2-2 following extra time in their World Cup quarter-final on Saturday and will meet England in the semi-finals.

Fyodor Smolov saw Russia's first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although home keeper Igor Akinfeev kept out a Mateo Kovacic kick, the hosts' fate was sealed when Fernandes missed. Mario Fernandes (Russia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

Croatia hadn't advanced this far at the World Cup since the 1998 World Cup, which was its first appearance.

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. This time, they will face a resurgent England side in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on July 12 (Singapore time). Ivan Rakitic settled it with the final kick and made no mistake to put the ball in nets.

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

The crowd erupted, but Croatia were undeterred and equalised just eight minutes later.

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (left) and Croatia's forward Ivan Perisic celebrate the equaliser during their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final match against Russian Federation at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018.

After an urgent start from Russia, Croatia had their first chance in the 6th minute but Ante Rebic's free header from a corner just went over the bar.

Croatia continued to pass and probe, and on the hour-mark, Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic went close, hitting the post when he probably should have scored.

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With seven minutes of the second half of extra time remaining, Josip Pivaric was booked for deliberately handling an Alan Dzagoev through ball on the edge of the area.

Back up the other end, Mandzukic directed a header over from a 77th-minute corner in what was the final attempt in regulation time, but the first extra-time goal of the World Cup arrived on 100 minutes and it was Croatian fans celebrating.

Yuri Gazinskiy became Russia's third substitutes, coming in for Dzyuba, but Croatia almost ran into trouble after making two more subs, Josip Pivaric and Mateo Kovacic on for Ivan Strinic and Kramaric.

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

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

The defending champions at the time defeated Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals and Italy in the semifinals that year, which also made Italy the last host nation to lose on penalties before Saturday.

Subasic was forced to make one more save to deny Roman Zobnin, and the game went to penalties.

But, once again, against Russia Zlatko Dalic played both Modric and Rakitic in the holding positions as part of a 4-2-3-1 which seriously restricted their creativity.

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