Ivan Rakitic scored the decisive spot-kick as Croatia beat hosts Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties to book a World Cup semi-final date with England.
The host nation came into the tournament as the lowest-ranked team, but reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated in a penalty shootout against Croatia on Saturday evening.
‘So this means more than just a semi-final of the World Cup’.
“In the second half and in extra time we dominated, we should have finished the job before penalties”, he said, “but maybe it’s written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama”. Mexico lost the penalty shootout in 1986 against West Germany, and since then Italy (1990), France (1998), South Korea (2002), Germany (2006) and Brazil (2014) have all made the semi-finals. They had to get past Sweden first earlier on Saturday and Gareth Southgate’s men controlled the match pretty much from start to finish. If they go behind against England, is there another gear to do the same against England?
Cherchesov was calm enough to reflect on the nature of the defeat to Croatia, which had seen his team take the lead through a stunning Denis Cheryshev goal, before falling behind to two Croatia headers.
Andrej Kramarić’s goal against World Cup hosts, Russia.
It was the second straight time both teams played in a penalty shootout.
The reaction to Vida’s goal was nearly one of shock as it crept through the legs of teammate Vedran Corluka and into the bottom corner, with the home crowd left temporarily silent and in disbelief as the goalscorer reeled away and ripped off his shirt in celebration.
Russian Federation had already surpassed expectations by reaching the last eight, ousting Spain on the way.
Russia’s Igor Akinfeev during extra time.
Meanwhile, Croatia beat Nigeria (2-0), Argentina (3-0) and Iceland (2-1) to win Group D with 9 points.
Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow.