Russia’s fairytale World Cup run ends in tears

Russia’s fairytale World Cup run ends in tears

Croatia's Luka Modric, left, celebrates after he scores the penalty shootout during the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Liverpool's No.6 played the full game in what was a gripping quarter-final tie.

It is only the second time that Croatia have reached the World Cup semi-finals since becoming an independent nation.

It also sets up a clash with England next week for the right to play in the final.

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"I remember in Moehlin in Switzerland, my home town, we were all insane, we rooted, we wanted to show our Swiss neighbours how powerful a football nation we are", Rakitic, who had dual citizenship but opted to play for Croatia, recalled.

Even before a single ball was kicked in anger, the warning signs were there that this might turn out to be a weird World Cup. "It will be a battle again but I trust us, I have belief in us". We've succeeded but I believe we can make further steps forward.

"It doesn't' have to be 3-0", Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said.

Meanwhile, Russian football fans saluted their team after the underdog host side lost on penalties to Croatia, bringing an end to their World Cup challenge at the quarterfinals.

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"I think we are underdogs from day one and it's good for us, " Lovren said.

"This is a attractive feeling, we are overwhelmed, This win was for the whole of Croatia and Croats around the world".

"This was not a handsome game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final", added Dalic, who broke down in tears after Croatia confirmed a first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1998. "We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all", Dalic said, adding that the competition is wide open. - 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.

Having slotted home the winning kick against Denmark in the last 16, Rakitic held his nerve to convert from the spot, with Mario Fernandes going from hero to villain by missing from 12 yards after his 115th-minute header had made it 2-2 deep into extra time. 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.

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