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Croatia Beat Russia, Meets England In Semis


Croatians celebrate winning the penalty shoot-out in the quarterfinal match against Russia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, yesterday. Croatia beat Russia 4-3 on penalties. PHOTO: AFP

Croatia will meet England in the World Cup last four after defeating the host nation Russia 4-3 in a quarterfinal penalty shootout in Sochi.

The teams were locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes and remained locked – though at 2-2 – after extra time, before being forced into a shootout.

Russia and Croatia had traded goals during the 90 minutes at the Fisht Stadium. Denis Cheryshev scored the opener for the host nation before Andrej Kramaric equalised and the teams went into extra time.


Domagoj Vida then appeared to give Croatia the edge with his goal in the first half of extra time but Mario Fernandes struck back for the host nation in the 115th minute.

Stanislav Cherchesov made one change to his starting lineup. The only alteration from the hosts’ last-16 win against Spain being Denis Cheryshev, scorer of three goals in the tournament for the host nation, who came in for Yuri Zhirkov.

There was also one change to Croatia’s team from their match against Denmark, with the former Leicester striker, Andrej Kramaric replacing Marcelo Brozovic.

Russia grabbed the lead in the 31st minute through a superb effort from Denis Cheryshev. The Villarreal man played a one-two with Artem Dzyuba before firing past Danijel Subasic from just outside the box.

Eight minutes later Croatia drew level as Andrej Kramaric got on the scoresheet, connecting with a Mario Mandzukic cross and nodding the ball in from close range.

The 1-1 interval scoreline reflected the balance of play after Cheryshev’s strike ignited a late explosion of action in the first half.

Meanwhile, England Coach, Gareth Southgate, has described his country’s progression to the semifinal stage as “incredible feeling.”

Goals by Harry Maguire and Dele Alli sealed a 2-0 last-eight win over Sweden to leave them one game from the final.

England must now prepare for a momentous match against Croatia.

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