Croatia conquers Russia on penalties, grab semi final spot

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2018 World Cup host nation, Russia on Saturday night crashed out of the tournament after losing to Croatia on penalties at the Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht.

Cheryshev with the lead goal for Russia, just 31 minutes into the game. It was an outrageous strike from the Villarreal man. Dzyuba slips around the Croatian defence and squares a ball to his striker, who takes one step around Vida and launches a 25-yard shot that nestles itself behind a shocked Subasic in the top-left corner.

Dzyuba cut his way into the Croatian defence with a casual ease and drew them off the arriving Cheryshev.

But 9 minutes later, Russia’s lead came to an abrupt end as they concede a soft goal on the back of a Mandzukic break, with the striker turning in a simple cut-back pass off the left wing, unmarked, for his teammate, Kramaric to head home behind Akinfeev on the right. Simple football; the hosts were caught in a woeful position there.

Both teams had chances to snatch a winner – mostly Croatia, with Ivan Perisic hitting the left post and getting a freak deflection in return but all boiled down to extra time.

100 minutes on the clock, Vida gived Croatia the lead. From a corner Croatia didn’t need after Kutepov blasted a safe cross out of his own keeper’s hands, it was the Besiktas man who gives his side the advantage for the first time in this game with a well-directed header that flies in at the bottom-right corner.

15 munuter later, Russia equalised through Fernandes. The boy from Brazil – representing the host nation thanks to a presidential decree – nods home Dzagoev’s free-kick with a great glancing header to tuck it into the bottom-left corner.

It all ended in penalty shootout

SMOLOV MISSES! Subasic goes the right way and almost leaps off the line to save it. A poor penalty.

BROZOVIC SCORES! Akinfeev goes to his left but the Croatian man puts it at a good height to beat him. 0-1.

DZAGOEV SCORES! He casually rolls it into the bottom-right corner as Subasic goes the wrong way. 1-1.

KOVACIC MISSES! Akinfeev dives left and tips it round the post. 1-1.

FERNANDES MISSES! The man who gave Russia hope pushes his shot wide of the left post. 1-1.

MODRIC SCORES! Akinfeev gets a hand to it – and it deflects in off the crossbar! So cruel. 1-2.

IGNASHEVICH SCORES! He blasts it into the bottom-left corner. 2-2.

VIDA SCORES! He sticks it to the left with a rocket shot. 2-3. Russia must score to stay in this.

KUZYAEV SCORES to make it 3-3.

RAKITIC SCORES! 3-4! CROATIA SECURED THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE 2018 WORLD CUP.

Watch the full highlights

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