Croatia end Russian Cup dream in dramatic shootout

Annette Crawford
July 8, 2018

Although Russia made it further at this year's World Cup than most anyone expected, it was Croatia that advanced to the semifinals with a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday following a 2-2 draw.

The score was locked at 2-2 after regulation and extra-time, with Denis Cheryshev in the 31st minute and Brazil-born Mario Fernandes in the 115th on target for Russian Federation, and Croatia temporarily leading from Andrej Kramaric in the 39th and Domagoj Vida in the 101st.

However, Croatia levelled when Andrej Kramaric headed home Mario Mandzukic's cross.

Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia returns to the semifinals for the first time since 1998.

His hero status, however, lasted all of 20 minutes as he missed a decisive penalty in the shootout, allowing Ivan Rakitic to step up and slot home the victor.

Russia & Croatia face off in Sochi with a place in the final four on the line.

Having knocked out Spain on penalties in the previous round, Russia, 70th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, again defied the odds to take 20th ranked Croatia to a shootout with a 2-2 draw after extra time but on this occasion their marksmanship deserted them.

"This World Cup has been organized in the best possible way".


He cut in from the left, exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and skipped away from a Modric challenge before firing home a superb shot from 25 yards on his left foot.

Russian Federation increased their tempo 20 minutes before time, combining well in their passing rhythm but the Croatians kept their shape at the back.

After a lively start to the second half, Ivan Perisic should have sent Croatia ahead on the hour-mark but his low strike from the edge of the box crashed against the post.

The decisive penalty once again fell to Rakitic, though, and he confidently rolled the ball into the bottom-left corner to keep Croatia's dreams of a first World Cup final alive.

Hosts Russia has been the surprise package of the tournament and endured a real battle against Spain eventually prevailing after penalties.

"I don't cry often, but now I have good cause", said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

"We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all".

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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