#WC2018: Croatia beat Russian Federation on penalties to set up semi against England

Luka Modric Croatia 2018

Russia's fairytale came to an end at the quarter-finals after they were eliminated from the World Cup on penalties by Croatia at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Working the ball quickly upfield near the sideline, Croatia got the ball into the box on the feet of Mario Mandzukic, who fed in a cross for Kramaric to head home from eight yards.

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.

Fyodor Smolov saw Russia's first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved a Mateo Kovacic kick, the hosts' fate was sealed when Fernandes, turning from hero to villain, fired completely wide from their third attempt.

Croatia, a shadow of the team which cruised through their group with maximum points, won the shootout when Ivan Rakitic calmly netted and they will face England in the semifinals in Moscow on Wednesday. Igor Akinfeev later blocked an attempt from Mateo Kovacic.

Croatia then began to settle into possession, only to concede against the run of play in the 31st minute. But Croatia made it 1-1 just eight minutes later thanks to a headed goal from striker Andrej Kramaric.

Although Sweden rallied in the final 30 minutes, forcing two good saves from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, England comfortably held on for its first shutout of the tournament.

In the 11th minute of extra-time Domagoj Vida nodded in, before Fernandes brought things level once again.

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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.

Croatia nearly took the lead in the 60th minute but Perisic's could only watch his right-foot shot from inside the box hit the post and rebound out instead of in. Fedor Smolov tried to trick Subasic with a chip shot, but the execution was poor and Subasic was able to recover and swat the ball away after he dove to the ground.

Ivan Rakitic scored the deciding penalty after a 2-2 draw.

With a penalty shootout looming, there was concern for Croatia as Subasic appeared to be struggling with cramp.

Croatia did finally go ahead when Vida met a corner with a weak downward header which found its way through two sets of legs and rolled into the net.

Subasic was forced to make one more save to deny Roman Zobnin, and the game went to penalties.

Russian Federation had fought their way through Group A as runners-up and then beat Spain in a penalty shoot-out before their journey came to an end against Croatia in Sochi.

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.

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