Russia's World Cup dream ends with Croatia shootout defeat

Dejan Lovren- Dejan Lovren confident Croatia can beat Russia in quarter-final and eclipse 1998 heroes by winning World Cup title

Hosts Russia and Croatia were level at 1-1 after 90 minutes in Saturday's last World Cup quarter-final at Sochi's Fisht Stadium and the teams will now play extra time.

Russia's World Cup dream ended within agonising sight of the semi-finals as they went down 4-3 on penalties to Croatia after another gallant performance in front of their fanatical fans which again belied their lowly ranking.

Akinfeev got a hand to Modric's too, but pushed it on to the post and back in, as Croatia finally had some luck to win the shoot-out and set up a semi-final against England.

Croatia will next take on England, who tamed Sweden 2-0 in the third quarterfinal match hours before.

Denis Cheryshev with his 4th goal of the tournament, had given Russian Federation the lead with a stunning strike in the 31st minute but eight minutes later an Andrej Kramaric header brought Croatia level. However, Croatia played with much confidence and initiative.

"This was my last World Cup, my last tournament and the last match of my soccer career", Ignashevich said in a video posted on social media. If they trusted us or not, we trusted ourselves.

They required penalties to edge past Denmark in the last-16 and although Modric missed a spot-kick in injury time, one wonders where they would be without the Real Madrid maestro's steady direction. It was Cheryshev's fourth in the World Cup so far. The Russians, riding a wave of euphoria after unexpectedly knocking out Spain in the previous round, were determined to carry on to a first World Cup semi-final since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

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Croatia ended Russia's surprising World Cup run with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The pressure will be even greater Wednesday when they meet England with a World Cup final berth on the line.

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Petersburg on Tuesday. "We know what we are capable of but Brazil are the favourites, putting us into a different role". The victor of the tie will face either France or Uruguay in St Petersburg on July 10.

Despite the huge home support in Sochi, Croatia came into the game as favourites. Interestingly, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric chose to play extremely deep in this game, with both of them taking turns to play between the centre backs.

The hosts went ahead thanks to a bolt from the blue just after the half-hour mark. This from a Russian Federation who feared their campaign might last only three games.

A first-half strike from Andrej Kramaric and an extra-time header from Domagoj Vida sent the match into a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Sochi on Saturday night. He went down injured late in the second half after appearing to injure his hamstring while trying to keep a deflected ball from going over the line for a corner kick.

In the 11th minute of the extra time, Croatia won a corner on the right following a counter-attack and Vida fought off his marker to send a slow header to the bottom right corner to give Croatia the lead.

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

Russian forward Fedor Smolov, who came into the field as a substitute in the second half, came out first to the spot kick but saw his shot saved by the keeper.

For all of Russia's hard running, it was unable to prevent the equalizer just eight minutes later.Mario Mandzukic's powerful run down the left was followed by a deft chip into the box, which the onrushing Kramaric diverted past Igor Akinfeev.

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