Host Russia knocked out of World Cup, Croatia to face England

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Croatia will face England in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final after beating Russia 4-3 on penalties on Saturday night in Sochi, reports Michael Benson for Talk Sport.

The two sides could not be separated after 120 minutes of football resulted in a 2-2 draw, so the match headed to a shoot-out.

It was in this period that the Croats really demonstrated their class and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic sent his country to their first semi-final since 1998.

The hosts began the game as the more energetic of the two sides, though were quickly subdued as Croatia gained control and quietened proceedings down.

However, it was Russia who then took the lead as Denis Cheryshev picked up a lay-off from Artem Dzyuba and smashed a left-footed drive into the top corner from 25 yards.

Croat ‘keeper Danijel Subasic could only stand and watch as Cheryshev’s wonder strike flew past him to give Sbornaya a 31st minute lead against the run of play.

Cheryshev leathered his country into the lead. Nine minutes later though, Croatia were level.

The Russian defence, which had proved so difficult for Spain to break down, offered little resistance as Mario Mandzukic drove down the left to the byline.

The Juventus striker pulled back a chipped cross for the waiting Andrej Kramaric, who headed home a simple finish from six yards and even appeared surprised himself at just how easy the equaliser was.

Kramaric headed home from six yards
In the second half Valtreni came out stronger, looking to build on their equaliser, however key men Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were effectively neutralised by the Russians.

Ivan Perisic hit the inside of the post on 60 minutes in what was the best chance of the half, while Dzyuba headed straight at Subasic from a corner with Russia’s best effort.

As the sides were unable to separate themselves in 90 minutes, they both once again went to extra time.

Eleven minutes into the first 15, a Luka Modric corner landed perfectly for Domagoj Vida, whose strong header bounced through the Russia penalty area and into the back of the net.

Vida’s goal put Russia on the brink of elimination
But the game was not done, and with five minutes of extra time left to play, Russia won a free kick on the right hand side.

Alan Dzagoev’s delivery was perfect for the head of Mario Fernandes, who nodded in to bring the hosts back from the dead and send the game to penalties.

Fernandes refused to give up and scored a late equaliser
In a topsy-turvy shoot-out, Fyodor Smolov and Mario Fernandes’ misses ultimately cost Russia, with Ivan Rakitic scoring to send his country through to the World Cup’s final four.

STAR MAN – Danijel Subasic

At the end of normal time, it seemed Subasic was going to have to be substituted after suffering what most assumed to be a hamstring injury. However, he battled on and made multiple big saves in extra-time, as well as also stopping Fyodor Smolov’s shoot-out chip to contribute strongly to his country’s progression.


Despite the fact it was ultimately futile, Mario Fernandes’ last gasp equaliser was without doubt the moment of the match. All hope looked lost for Russia in extra time, but Alan Dzagoev came up with a sensational free kick delivery which found Fernandes and he gave the hosts one final moment of joy before their elimination.


Russia XI: Akinfeev, Mario Fernandes, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Kudryashov, Zobnin, Kuzyaev; Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev, Dzyuba.

Croatia XI: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Strinic, Rakitic, Modric, Rebic, Kramaric, Perisic, Mandzukic.

Source: Talksport


One Response to Host Russia knocked out of World Cup, Croatia to face England

  1. This has been the best world cup and I have been watching since 86. So much more parity among teams.
    The Russia Croatia game was very exciting to watch.

    July 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm

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