2018 World Cup
Result: Russia 2 (3)-(4) 2 Croatia
Date: 07 July 2018
Venue: Fisht Stadium
Croatia will face England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup after they defeated hosts Russia 4-3 on penalties on Saturday evening.
After Croatia managed to overturn an early deficit to finish the 90 minutes at 1-1, they took the lead for the first time in the game in extra-time, although Russia responded in the final four minutes to force penalties, but they were unable to go the final distance as Croatia went through 4-3 in the shootout.
The match started at a high tempo, with Russia not giving the Croatians space or time to play in the middle of the park.
Ivan Rakitic had a chance to open the scoring for the Croats in the 15th minute with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but his strike sailed over the crossbar.
Denis Cheryshev broke the deadlock for Stanislav Cherchesov’s men on the half-hour mark with a sensational strike from outside the box.
Andrej Kramaric replied for Croatia five minutes before half-time with a power header inside the box following a delicate cross from Mario Mandzukic.
Both sides were probing for the second goal in the closing minutes of the first stanza, but they went into the dressing rooms deadlocked at 1-1.
After a lively start to the second half, Ivan Perisic almost have sent Croatia ahead on the hour-mark but his low strike from the edge of the box crashed against the base of the post, across the line and, eventually, away from danger.
Neither side could find a winning goal in the closing stages of the second half, forcing the clash into extra, which both nations had experienced in the previous round.
Domagoj Vida made it 2-1 for Croatia 10 minutes into the first period of extra-time with a fine header that sailed into the bottom corner.
Russia were pressurising the Croats looking for the equaliser and finally got it as Mario Fernandes equalised for Russia five minutes before time by heading home a cross from Alan Dzagoev to force penalties.
However, it was the Croatians who held their nerve in the shoot-out to triumph 4-3, and they will now face England in the semi-finals on Wednesday.