Croatia end World Cup run of hosts Russian Federation on penalties in quarters

Ross Houston
July 11, 2018

We are giving our all.

Russia's World Cup squad were greeted by thousands of supporters at a fan zone in Moscow on Sunday, a day after their World Cup elimination by Croatia.

Excitement was building in Croatia on July 11 ahead of the World Cup semi-final against England, with tens of thousands of fans expected to watch the match on public screens across the country.

Danijel Subasic's save on Fedor Smolov's penalty made him only the third goalkeeper in history to save four penalties in World Cup shootouts (He had saved three against Denmark in the round of 16 shootout).

Russian Federation felt they should have had a penalty in the first half of extra time but the referee was right to turn down the appeals.

"1998 will never be forgotten and should not be, but I would love it if eventually the 1998 "Fiery Ones" can be moved aside so that we can talk not only about 1998 but also a bit about 2018", the former Real Madrid player said. He has worked very hard to get to this point. "And I don't see why it would be a surprise that Croatia went this far because we have great players".

The 51-year-old coach, who has only been in charge of the national side since October, was asked about England's strengths and weaknesses and said: "I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses - they are in the semi-finals, that says it all".

There is little prospect that they would have come this far without Modric, who as a boy was forced to flee his village home after his grandfather was killed by Serb forces in the Croatian independence war. Heavyweights France and Belgium will battle for the final spot when they meet in St. Petersburg on the previous day.

"He's one of the greatest threats, but he's not alone". Croatia are in the semis. "Over the past several days, we've enjoyed it even more because we know what's been going on back at home". We were lucky, thank God.

'We dominated in extra-time and were the better team, we should have finished the job before penalties - but maybe it is written in the stars that we had to go through the extra drama'.

But if Modric can rouse himself to control another match against England, they have every chance.

"We've been always returning to the 1998 team, putting a new burden on Modric and his team". I believe that people did not only start trusting us but they are in love with us.

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