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Croatia beat Russian Federation, reach World Cup semifinal

09 July 2018

The World Cup hosts bowed out in the quarter-finals after losing 4-3 on penalties to Croatia, following a thrilling 120 minutes of football in which the scores finished level at 2-2.

Liverpool's No.6 played the full game in what was a gripping quarter-final tie.

Despite this, the Zenit St Peterburg forward has been prolific in Russia's run at the tournament, having scored three goals in four games to reach the last eight.

Croatia won against host Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties after the two teams maintained a 2-2 tie by the end of the extra time in the World Cup quarter-final. "It's a pity we are out of this tournament but I am very proud of my team", said Muscovite Alexander Khramoichenkov. As of now, only five World Cups have produced more goals in the knockout stages, with Switzerland (1954) and United States (1994) both producing 44 goals each.

"Luckily, I've been playing alongside him for the past 10 years and each game since he was named captain, he's been leading us with great power, strength and self-confidence. It will be an interesting game and we will fight to make the final".

In the end, coach Zlatko Dalic replaces Vrsaljko with veteran Vedran Corluka.

The 25-year-old said France expect "a very hard game" against Belgium, adding that his relatively young French squad "will have to give the best of ourselves" and that they are looking to show their "growth" and "maturity".

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Croatia is the first team to win consecutive penalty shootouts since Argentina in 1990 and it's the first time the host country has lost in a shootout since Italy in the same year.

After Dalić's team soared through the group stage of the World Cup and managed to defeat Denmark in a nerve-racking round of 16 match, Croatia has become a favorite for bookies.

"This is a handsome feeling, we are overwhelmed, This win was for the whole of Croatia and Croats around the world".

Russian Federation defender Mario Fernandes netted a goal in 115th minute with a fund header from Alan Dzagoev's free kick, which sent the match into penalties.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic admits he doesn't like seeing Croatia teammate Luka Modric at Real Madrid. The favourites, the big teams are home.

The men in red exceeded the wildest expectations by coming within a penalty kick and a save against Croatia of making it into the semi-finals for the first time since 1966.

Croatia beat Russian Federation, reach World Cup semifinal