Russian fans sad but proud after World Cup exit

England fans celebrate at the end of their Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Colombia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow

Croatia Are Through To The Semi-Finals After A Penalty Shootout

It was the second time in the tournament that Croatia needed penalties to win and while Hamann believes that they proved their nerve once again, he questioned their ability to break down England when the two sides met on Wednesday. Against Denmark - who they also beat on penalties - Croatia were passive while against the hosts at the weekend they were only sporadically fluent.

Not many gave the lowest-ranked side at the World Cup a chance to even progress out of the group stages.

"Thank you, Russia. For the atmosphere and the celebration of football".

At this juncture, England are dreaming, and they have a good reason to. The most immediate worry appears to be starting right back Sime Vrsaljko, who had to be replaced during extra time, walking slowly off the field with an apparent leg injury.

Ivan Rakitic, so often a key man for Barcelona, was not almost as influential as at club level, while in defence, Russia's Mario Fernandes beat more highly rated defenders to head home a late equaliser. The character the French showed in that game has made them a genuine title contender.

Actually, breaking the 2018 record established by Croatia's July 1 victory in penalties over Denmark, the Russian loss to the Luka Modric lead team scored a whooping 5.0/13 in metered market ratings.

The 30-year-old playmaker hails from Switzerland, but competes internationally from Croatia, and plays for FC Barcelona.

Thousands of cheering and flag-waving Russian fans thanked their disappointed players on Sunday (Jul 8) after the host nation's fairytale World Cup run came to a crushing end with a shootout loss to Croatia.

And they have opted to keep faith with that kit to face England next week in the hope it can help guide them into the first World Cup final in their history.

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Here is a look at the semi-finals and what to watch out for.

Croatia, with their dreamy midfield, are of course a very hard opponent and have been brilliant all tournament. "Attacking team", Dalic added.

Croatia have lived up to their reputation as one of the dark horses in Russian Federation, impressing in the group stage by winning all three matches before knocking Denmark and Russian Federation out.

"They are really good at set-pieces and their tall players are unsafe at corners".

- Why has World Cup been full of surprises? We have two matches to play and we are very motivated.

It was the second straight time both teams played in a penalty shootout.

In the other semi-final, in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, Belgium, who conquered Neymar's Brazil in the quarter-finals, take on France, who saw off Uruguay.

Croatia play England in the semifinals in Moscow on Wednesday.

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