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Putin invites Team Russia players, head coach to discuss World Cup results

08 July, 2018, 14:41 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Russia fans

Croatia progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after a second successive penalty shootout on Saturday but their inability to put away another unimpressive team over 90 minutes and extra time is a major worry for the Balkan side.

After joining Federation Internationale de Football Association in 1992 and then UEFA in 1993 following the break up of Yugoslavia, Croatia made an instant impact at their first World Cup finals when they reached the 1998 semi-finals.

Vida had nearly sealed it for Croatia with his 101st-minute header, but the Russia's hopes were kept alive by Brazilian Fernandes, who unleashed a wonderful header off Alan Dzagoev's free-kick minutes before start of the shoot-out, making it 2-2.

It seemed Croatia were cruising to the semis, but Fernandes ensured it were shootouts that decided the course of the game.

- Only one of the last six World Cup matches to go to extra-time has not gone to penalties - the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina.

Croatia became the second team in history to win back-to-back penalty shootouts at the World Cup.

But it was the Croatians who held their nerve from 12 yards, with Fernandes ironically missing the crucial kick for Russian Federation that later gave Ivan Rakitic the chance to win it.

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Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, already hobbled with a leg injury, could do nothing but watch it hit the net.

The playmaker, who won a third successive Champions League title with Real Madrid before coming to Russian Federation, brushed off suggestions that his performance might put him in the running for the Ballon d'Or prize as the world's best player.

Croatia went agonisingly close to taking the lead for the first time on the hour, but Perisic was denied by the upright after Igor Akinfeev flapped at a lofted ball from Kramaric.

"We were a little unlucky".

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said Subasic's uncertain health had affected his substitution management going into extra time. Vida makes it 2-1 in the 100th minute. The first was against Portugal in 1966 when they went on to win the tournament, hosted in England, they had to wait 24 years till they reached the final four again.

Brazilian born Mário Fernandes scored Alan Dzagoev's free-kick which landed in the bottom left corner. "We gave everything we could". We'll have to improve that element of our game. They are still great guys for us, they are heroes. If they trusted us or not, we trusted ourselves.

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