The calm before the semi-final storm

Russia’s Denis Cheryshev celebrates scoring their first goal

Russia’s Denis Cheryshev celebrates scoring their first goal

England survived a penalty shootout against Colombia in the last 16 whereas Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has received praise from all over the world after she personally attended her country's quarter final victory against World Cup hosts Russian Federation.

"Now we face just emotion talking, we were not able to analyze the game, we are glad to greet you all, we were together, you were our 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th players", Cherchesov said. "I believe that people did not only start trusting us but they are in love with us", he told reporters during his post-match press conference.

He said: "We have a great deal of respect for them".

Meanwhile, Croatia's first World Cup semi-final for two decades has revived the memories of the country's football high point and raised hopes that Luka Modric's side can go one better than their legendary predecessors.

We watched the (England) game today and saw how good they are from dead-ball situations.

Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes had kept Russia's dream alive when he headed home in the 115th minute to level the scores and force penalties, but he and Fedor Smolov both failed to convert their spot-kicks in Sochi. "He did root for our team", Peskov said in a conversation with reporters.

Russian Federation had delivered the flawless opening salvo, firing five goals past the Saudis in the World Cup opening match that instantly gave the home crowd a reason to turn their attention to football. Igor Akinfeev later blocked Mateo Kovacic's shot. Dalic, however, said there was plenty left in the tank.

It made Alli (22) the second youngest England scorer in a World Cup game, after Michael Owen.

It might even end with an England-France final.

'The most important thing for me is that my national team succeeded and that we do something big.

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