England, Croatia end long wait for semi-final spot

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Russia's remarkable World Cup run ended in a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat on penalties as Croatia bounced back from a late extra-time equalizer to set up a last-four meeting with England.

The fourth and the last quarter-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Croatia and Russian Federation saw The Blazers edge past the hosts as Zlatko Dalić's side sealed the semi-final spot.

Russia's supporters, low on expectation of what their national team might achieve at their own World Cup, have certainly seen more of it in action than they anticipated. The victor of that game faces England or Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final.

Modric knows there will be no easy ride against England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

They were both, at various times, supposed to be in charge of making the host nation's team fit for objective at the landmark event for the country.

In the quarterfinals match on Saturday night in Sochi, Russia was eliminated from the tournament by Croatia.

Subasic saved Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov and, after Russia's Mario Fernandes and Croatia's Mateo Kovacic had failed to convert, Barcelona's Rakitic clinched the second shoot-out win for the Croats, who reached the last for the second time, following 1998.

Neither team scored in the second half before Croatia took its only lead of the game on Domagoj Vida's one-hop header through a pair of defenders in the 101st minute.

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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. And they indeed showed a lot of patience, throughout the match against a gutsy Russian Federation, who kept coming back at them, even though the Croats were favourites on paper.

In a dramatic match, Russian Federation had taken the lead through Denis Cheryshev's exceptional finish, the Villarreal player starting the move before finishing from outside the area after Artem Dzyuba's pass.

Croatia were level six minutes from half-time after a brilliant counter. The game between Russia and Croatia in the first half followed the strategy that the Russians used in the game against Spain, again the current results indicate similar tactics, but soon the situation changed.

Instead, Denis Cheryshev unleashed a left-foot missile from 20 metres out that flew into the near top corner, leaving Danijel Subasic stunned.

Other fans looked to the future on the heels of Russia's best World Cup performance since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Kramaric had an overhead kick gathered by Akinfeev shortly after the break and Perisic was then inches away from putting Croatia in front as he saw his strike come back off the inside of a post. His hand was forced when Sime Vrsaljko went down with a knee injury early in extra time and Dalic was forced to use his final substitution to replace the defender.

During the tie-breaker, Brozovic gave Croatia the lead after Fyodor Smolov had his hot saved by Subasic.

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