Sport

Luka Modric hails Croatia’s character after shoot-out win against Russian Federation

Luka Modric hails Croatia’s character after shoot-out win against Russian Federation

After ending Russia's impressive run, Zlatko Dalic's side will aim to at least go one better than the famous 1998 vintage, who finished third in France, when they meet England at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

While the hosts went a goal up after 14 minutes through Fyodor Smolov, a pair of quickfire goals from Nikola Kalinić and Marcelo Brozović would push Croatia into the lead after 60 minutes.

Russian Federation and Croatia have faced each other three times previously, with two of those ending goalless in qualifiers for Euro 2008; Croatia won the other meeting in November 2015, a 3-1 victory in a friendly. Kramaric headed home the offer from the forward, beating Akinfeev for the first time in regulation.

Cheryshev collected the ball near the halfway line, exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and curled a 25-metre shot past Subasic.

Cherchesov's men were unable to hold on until half-time, though, as Mario Mandzukic advanced down the left to set up the chance for an unmarked Kramaric to head home and silence Sochi. This World Cup campaign is also probably the last time for a cohort of talented players like Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mandzukic to sign off with worldwide silverware.

115 - Goal! Russia 2, Croatia 2.

After Fernandes' failure, Modric got lucky when his strike found the net following touches off Akinfeev's glove and the post.




But nearly immediately after making their third sub in the 88th minute, Subasic fell to the pitch grabbing his hamstring, and he was forced to continue after receiving treatment and made a save at his near post.

Penalties were required and while Smolov's feeble Panenka attempt with the first effort was foiled by Subasic, parity was restored when Akinfeev got down to his left to keep out Mateo Kovacic's second kick for Croatia.

Croatia pressed for a late victor, earning a pair of corners, but the game went to extra-time where after four minutes, right-back Sime Vrsaljko picked up an injury and Vedran Corluka became Croatia's fourth sub.

Subasic was then tested again in the second period of extra time when he was able to corral Daler Kuzyaev's half-volley from the edge of the box, then stretched to cut out a cross.

Subasic was forced to make one more save to deny Roman Zobnin, and the game went to penalties. But he saved fantastically the first shot in the shootout.

Russia and Croatia needed well over 90 minutes to decide a World Cup quarterfinal, with the Croatians winning in penalty kicks Saturday in Sochi, Russia. Captain Igor Akinfeev was the hero, pulling off a stunning save with his foot to give Russian Federation the win.

As usual, Russian Federation went down fighting in front of a raucous crowd as Mario Fernandes headed a dramatic equalizer with five minutes of extra time left, only for the Brazilian-born player to turn villain as he missed their third shootout kick.