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Croatia qualify at expense of hosts Russian Federation

11 July, 2018, 04:00 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Henry Romero  Reuters

Croatia booked their semi-final place against England thanks to another penalty shoot-out success, this time against hosts Russian Federation after the sides were level at 2-2 following extra-time.

When they face England, both sides will already know whether France or Belgium have reached the final.

"We think it worked well".

He said: "We have power left for England".

"I left everything on the field and unfortunately we were unlucky", Russian Federation midfielder Roman Zobnin said.

"It's an adventure", said McNulty. Known for his man-management skills, Blazevic inspired Croatia to the knockout stages of Euro 96, where they were beaten by eventual winners Germany, before going even further two years later.

Belgium held their final training session before the crunch semi-final at their Moscow Country Club base before making the journey to St Peterburg.

The overachieving hosts, the lowest ranked nation in the tournament, were trying to make it to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the Soviet Union team finished fourth at the 1966 tournament in England.

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Having played more conservative sides Denmark and Russian Federation in the knockout stages, Croatia defender Dejan Lovren believes playing a big team will bring the best out of his side, pointing to the 3-0 group-stage win over Argentina. It will be a battle again but I believe in us.

Unity has been key to Croatia's success at the tournament. "I felt really relieved", Dalic said.

This World Cup has seen unexpected teams taking their position in the semi-finals with their determination and skill.

When Croatia stormed through the group stage with nine points from three games, they did in indeed look like serious contenders.

"We've been always returning to the 1998 team, putting a new burden on Modric and his team". All 20 previous World Cup-winning coaches were born in the nation they led to the title.

In England's class of 2018, free kicks, corners and wide crosses are mostly provided by England's wing backs, Young and Kieran Trippier, and they are proving tough to defend. Croatia's shooters did enough that Ivan Rakitic's successful penalty was the victor and set off another wild celebration with Subasic on the bottom of the pile.

Many on the team were impressive during the tournament, however, and could now demand vastly improved salaries, including Dzyuba, creative midfielder Alexander Golovin and fullback Mario Fernandes. "My mum and sister watched every one of their World Cup games at my place, passionately supporting them, and they have never watched football in their lives!"

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