Croatia ends Russia's run, advances to semifinals

Andreas Granqvist

GettyAndreas Granqvist didn't want to miss England vs Sweden

Croatia's first female president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's celebratory gestures during her nation's win over Russian Federation in the FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi went viral on social media.

An England football fan and his Croatian wife will be "sitting at opposite ends of the sofa" as their home nations clash in the World Cup semi-final.

"This was not a attractive game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final", added Dalic, who broke down in tears after Croatia confirmed a first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1998.

However, with Croatia having had eight different goalscorers at these finals - fewer only than Belgium - Mandzukic thinks his side will have the weapons to beat the former Sunderland man.

OPENING SALVO Russia had delivered the flawless opening salvo, firing five goals past the Saudis in the World Cup opening match that instantly gave the home crowd a reason to turn their attention to football. I'm obviously rooting for England, it was 1990 last time they were in the semi-final.

The Russians as hosts did not need to qualify for the World Cup and their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russia, even lower than worldwide football minnows Saudi Arabia.

Looking ahead to the England match, the coach said: "We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game". It was a good game against Belgium [in the quarter-finals].

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ReutersEngland's Harry Kane will face off against Belgium's Romelu Lukaku in the World Cup final, according to Goldman Sachs.

The match had ended 2-2 after extra-time after Mario Fernandes' late equalizer for Sbornaya.

Croatia are not thought to have any injury concerns for the match, with all players available for Monday's training session, which attracted a huge media scrum including more than two dozen camera teams. There is a real buzz about the team and hopefully we can get the win and go to the final.

Croatia's long periods of possession were largely unproductive, the final pass was invariably missing and they were surprised by Russia's aggressive approach. "That in future we talk about them", said Blazevic, now 83, and known in Croatia as the "coach of all coaches".

Ivan Rakitic, so often a key man for Barcelona, was not almost as influential as at club level, while in defence, Russia's Mario Fernandes beat more highly rated defenders to head home a late equaliser.

"Putin called me during the day, and he called me right now", Cherchesov said.

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