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09 July 2018, 12:20 | Pamela Mathis
Enlarge Image Croatia midfielder Luka Modric leads his squad against host nation Russia.
Adrian Dennis AFP Getty Images
The Croatian national football team entered the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, knocking out hosts Russian Federation in the quarterfinals match on Saturday night in Sochi with the 4-3 penalty shootout win following 2-2 draw in the regular and 30-minute overtime period.
The match went into extra time and Croatian defender, Domagoj Vida, took them 2-1 up at 100 minutes with the added bonus of a salute from the nation's president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
Croatia were agonisingly close to scoring on the hour when Russia's defence failed to clear the ball and Ivan Perisic's shot hit the inside of the post but rebounded harmlessly across the face of the goal.
Zlatko Dalic's men needed a penalty shootout victory of their own against Denmark in the last round after Luka Modric missed a spot kick in normal time.
"The Ballon d'Or? I don't think about it at all", Modric said. "Thank God everything is fine with him". In the shootout he appeared limited in movement.
Into extra time for the second consecutive match, Croatia looked exhausted with Mandzukic and Subasic limping, yet Sime Vrsaljko had to come off injured to use up their fourth substitution. In an earlier match against Denmark, a picture of her cheering Croatia from the stands along with other fans has gone viral.
England have eliminated Colombia and Sweden, while Croatia, so impressive having won their group with three victories, have been taken to penalties by Denmark and Russian Federation in the knockout rounds.
"They've shown character once again", Dalic said. Ultimately, the players responsible for the anti-Serbian provocation were finned rather than banned in the following match.
After finishing at 2-2 at the end of regulation time, Croatia and Russian Federation headed into the penalty shoot-out to decide the victor which will face England in the semi-final next Wednesday.
"I left everything on the field and unfortunately we were unlucky", Russian Federation midfielder Roman Zobnin said afterwards.
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