Croatia beats Russian Federation in shootout, advances to World Cup semifinals

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

Dejan Lovren believes Croatia can win the World Cup Credit Getty Images

Before that, Denis Cheryshev had rifled Russian Federation in front with a long-range thunderbolt in the 31st minute before Andrej Kramaric equalised for Croatia six minutes before halftime. "He said we should have our eyes open and make the next steps".

Sergei Ignashevich failed to get across, allowing Mandzukic to loft the ball into the middle where Kramaric was waiting to glance past Igor Akinfeev. That strike was canceled out eight minutes later by a Andrej Kramaric header. Mario Mandzukic ran unchallenged into the penalty area and chipped a low ball back into the centre where unmarked Kramaric scored with a glancing header.

Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Erokhin (L) and Croatia's defender Sime Vrsaljko vie for the ball during the World Cup Quarter Final in Fisht Stadium, Sochi, Russia, July 7, 2018.

But he kept going and pulled off a series of saves in extra-time before reading Fyodor Smolov's intention of a cheeky Panenka penalty in the shoot-out.

Russian Federation made their final change in response, bringing on Alan Dzagoev for Aleksandr Golovin, and they almost had a chance when Subasic leapt for and fumbled a cross, but the whistle came to stop play and the goalkeeper again grabbed this thigh in pain. While it was never a classic, this game will be warmly remembered by the Croatians for their heroic display as they ground out a 2-2 draw to win 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out. "We gave everything we could".

"I've very pleased at how the team played the whole World Cup, how it showed its character and worked to the maximum", he said.

The winners of the last quarter-final will go through to a semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday against England, who beat Sweden 2-0 earlier.

England defied nearly three decades of disappointment to move confidently into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990 as headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli downed a dogged but toothless Sweden 2-0.

SAMARA, Russia - England achieved something David Beckham's generation never managed: It reached the semifinals of the World Cup.

"We had to withstand a lot of physical pressure", said England coach Gareth Southgate.

'We expect a very hard and tough, tight, demanding match, every match at this World Cup is like that, ' Modric said at a post-match press conference, broadcast via FIFATV.

'There was not a single national team playing in this World Cup which had the complete trust of their country.

100 - Goal! Russia 1, Croatia 2.

There is a comprehensive argument that Luca Modric has been the best player at the World Cup. "We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty it came bursting out of me".

'At certain moments we lacked power, but we have played two matches of 120 minutes of football in six days, and of course this will leave a mark on you and you have to pay the toll for such exertions.

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