Russian Federation salutes ‘heroes’ after Croatia ends World Cup dream

Russia Croatia World Cup 2018 070718

Russian Federation reached the quarter-finals for the first time since not playing as part of the Soviet Union, and the team exceeded expectations in knocking out Spain in the last round before running a much-fancied Croatia team incredibly close in Sochi.

Croatia won 4-3 on penalties, knocking the host nation out of the tournament after both Fyodor Smolov and Mário Fernandes miss the net.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic admits he doesn't like seeing Croatia teammate Luka Modric at Real Madrid. Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic went into extra time with an apparent right leg injury he picked up in the 89thminute.

It did not take too long for Croatia to get back on track as Mandzukic turned provider for the equaliser, charging down the left and pulling back for an Andrej Kramaric free header from seven yards.

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"They are our heroes, they are our inspiration, they brought us to this point, and we would like to continue on their way, and hopefully we will take a step further tomorrow if we have the strength and luck to do so", he added. "It's our second time in the semi-finals, after 1998, and it makes us extremely proud and happy". The English team defeated Sweden 2-0.

Russia, who many feared could go out at the group stage after a dismal run over the previous two years, had already surpassed expectations by reaching the last eight, ousting Spain on the way.

However, Rakitic ensured that Croatia prevailed in the shoot-out, their second in a row after beating Denmark on penalties in the last round.

"We took a hard route and we were unlucky, particularly in previous tournaments, especially the Euros". They are still great guys for us, they are heroes.

The pair are now preparing for a World Cup semifinal against France. He converted the final penalty for Russian Federation in the shootout against Spain, as well as the victor against Egypt and a pair of goals in the opener against Saudi Arabia in the group stage.

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