Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties

Fans celebrate Russia's victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match against Spain in Nikolskaya Street Russia knocked out 2010 World Cup champions Spain in the round of 16 Credit Getty Images
Cary Erickson | 11 July, 2018, 10:59

"We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game", coach Zlatko Dalic said, adding that "many players are a bit injured" after the grueling game. "Thank God we have shown our character".

Despite having home advantage, Russian Federation slumped to a 3-1 against Croatia in November 2015 to hand them their first loss between the two sides.

Russian Federation were happy to let Croatia have the bulk of possession as they looked to repeat the tactic that proved so successful against Spain in the round of 16.

It would take just eight minutes for Croatia to level the scores, with Mario Mandzukic setting up former Leicester City attacker Andrej Kramaric, who headed home. Mario Mandzukic was allowed to carry the ball into the box and with Russian defenders backing off, and the Juventus forward found Krammaric with a flawless low cross which the Hoffenheim striker nodded beyond Akinfeev to silence the hostile home crowd. Kramaric headed home the offer from the forward, beating Akinfeev for the first time in regulation.

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.

Luca Modric took a corner kick in the 100th minute.

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.

But that edge wouldn't last long either.

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Russia & Croatia face off in Sochi with a place in the final four on the line. Mario Fernandes (Russia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

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.

Marcelo Brozovic clinically despatched his spot-kick before Dzagoev made it 1-1.

Russian Federation substitute Alexander Erokhin headed over the bar and Modric had a shot blocked before referee Sandro Ricci's whistle signalled the game was heading into extra-time.

At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot - only the second player to miss in any of the four shootouts at this year's World Cup.

Hosts Russia will meet Croatia in Sochi on Saturday. Sergie Ignashevich made Russia's next attempt, but Vida made Croatia's next attempt to hold the lead. It's Belgium vs. France on Tuesday, and England vs. Croatia on Wednesday. It set the tone as Croatia became the first team since Argentina in 1990 to win consecutive World Cup games on penalties.

Rare chances for Stanislav Cherchesov's team saw Dzyuba head tamely at Danijel Subasic from a 62nd-minute corner, before substitute Aleksandr Erokhin sent his header well over the bar from Fernandes' cross on the right 10 minutes later. We have to enjoy the moment and then from tomorrow we have to prepare for England.