Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Croatia defeat host nation Russian Federation on penalties to reach semi-final

Croatia defeat host nation Russian Federation on penalties to reach semi-final

Croatia players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout.

ESPN brings you the best of the numbers from Croatia's dramatic penalty shootout win over Russian Federation in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The magnitude of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since the country's World Cup debut at France 1998 proved evident from the celebrations that both the striker and his team-mates witnessed back home.

Croatia won 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the quarterfinal was tied 1-1 after regulation and 2-2 after extra time.

Croatia will now face England on July 11 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to decide who will play in the World Cup final, on July 15, also at Luzhniki. "The country believed in us and as a united whole we achieved good results, but we can't stop here and we need to keep striving for more".

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Then in 1990 in Italy they beat Cameroon in extra time to head into another semi-final, this time they faced Germany and lost on penalties, the beginning of their long hoodoo from 12 yards.

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Ivan Rakitic scored the victor from the spot as Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev dived the opposite direction.

"The whole of our nation is euphoric, they are upbeat, there are parties going on when Croatia play, they are out in the squares, out in the's great that our president is going to be there tomorrow", Dalic said.

"He watched, he was rooting for the team".

Denis Cheryshev struck a stunning opener from a distance to give the hosts the lead in the 31st minute but Croatia equalised through Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.

The World Cup hosts were not given any chance prior to the kickoff of the Mundial but they surprised many right from their opening game when they pumped in five goals against Saudi Arabia.

"Our captain deserves first and foremost that we follow him", Rakitic told reporters on Friday. "They were dying on the pitch, we are proud with them", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying. "That will keep it more interesting and exciting, especially if we have a match-up between Russian Federation and England (in the semi-finals)".

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