Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to reach semis

Denis Cheryshev of Russia celebrates with team mate Aleksandr Golovin after scoring the opening goal of the Fifa World

Denis Cheryshev of Russia celebrates with team mate Aleksandr Golovin after scoring the opening goal of the Fifa World

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is hopeful that he country's national team will make it through to semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, she told Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on Saturday before the Russia vs Croatia quarterfinal match.

Domagoj Vida looked like he had won it for Croatia in extra-time, only for naturalised hero Mario Fernandes to find an even later equaliser to force a penalty shootout.

Dalic also explained why he had been overcome with emotion after Ivan Rakitic sent Croatia through. "In principle, we played as we planned, [but] the goals we conceded, we shouldn't have conceded, but that's football", 54-year-old former worldwide 'keeper said.

Andrej Kramaric replied for the Croats five minutes before halftime with a power header inside the box following a delicate cross from Mario Mandzukic.

"I'm very pleased at how the team played the whole World Cup, how it showed it character and worked to the maximum", said Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov.

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After making the semi-final in 1998 in France the Croatians return to the last four, this time to face England. This is the first time two teams have had penalties in successive matches of the knockout stages of a World Cup, though. The English team defeated Sweden 2-0.

"We should have finished the job before penalties but maybe it's written in the stars we have to go through the extra drama", said Luka Modric, whose penalty bounced off Akinfeev's hand and the post before entering the other side of the net.

"Of course there is some power left for the English", said Dalic.

Despite an injury, Danijel Subasic pulled off a save to put Croatia ahead from the first kick and they made the most of it, winning the shootout 4 - 3.

Many fans gave him a standing ovation when he was taken off in the second half.

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