Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Russian Federation v Croatia World Cup quarter-final goes to extra

Russian Federation v Croatia World Cup quarter-final goes to extra

Croatia will be aiming to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1998 when they take on hosts Russian Federation in Sochi.

Back up the other end, Mandzukic directed a header over from a 77th-minute corner in what was the final attempt in regulation time, but the first extra-time goal of the World Cup arrived on 100 minutes and it was Croatian fans celebrating.

Standing between Croatia and a semi-final berth is a Russian team running on adrenaline and buoyed by a partisan home crowd, as will be the case in Sochi on Sunday morning (AEST).

However, at the other end of the field will stand an equally hard opposition for the Russian offence to break down in Danijel Subašić, who himself saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark - a performance that puts him level with Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo in terms of penalties saved in a World Cup shootout.

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However, it was Russian Federation who would open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, with Denis Cheryshev scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

"Putin called me during the day, and he called me right now", Cherchesov said. "But you always start questions with negative things". What has happened, happened. But they delivered some great results, most notably dumping Spain out in the last 16, and players like Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba and Akinfeev all did their reputations a power of good.

Croatia are hoping to match the achievement of their predecessors from the 1998 World Cup, where the team reached the semifinal. "We left everything on the field".

After a lively opening, the game dropped off, with sessions of head tennis in midfield, but it was Russia's more rustic approach which paid off first as they went ahead out of the blue.

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But slack defending allowed Croatia to level eight minutes later.

Kramaric had an overhead kick gathered by Akinfeev shortly after the break and Perisic was then inches away from putting Croatia in front as he saw his strike come back off the inside of a post.

Croatia continued to pass and probe, and on the hour-mark, Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic went close, hitting the post when he probably should have scored.

Croatia, a shadow of the team which cruised through their group with maximum points, went 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.

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The hosts were heading out but in the 115th minute, Brazilian-born Mário Fernandes headed home from substitute Alan Dzagoev's free-kick to take the tie to a shoot-out. Following a frenetic start during which both teams scored in the first five minutes, Zlatko Dalic's men were forced to endure a prolonged test of their nerves as the match went into extra time before ultimately prevailing after spot kicks.

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