Hosts Russia disappointed but exit World Cup stage with pride

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Saturday night in Sochi is sure to live long in the memories of every Croatian, as the Balkan nation overcame a committed Russian Federation side and their passionate support to win 4-3 on penalties after their dramatic quarter-final clash ended 2-2 after extra time.

Liverpool's No.6 played the full game in what was a gripping quarter-final tie.

Denis Cheryshev struck a stunning opener from distance to give the hosts the lead in the 31st minute but Croatia equalised through Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.

It is only the second time that Croatia have reached the World Cup semi-finals since becoming an independent nation.

The victor of this game will play the victor of the Sweden-England game in the semi-finals.

"The most important thing for me is that my national team succeeded and that we do something big".

Fifa World Cup has always been dominated by the traditional powerhouses of football.

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We've built that and to get through the two games we've had this week needed all of that because we're not the finished article. We have beaten Brazil in the World Cup , we have created a nice memory, let's treasure it and pass it down.

"I think we have a great chance because I can't see (all) five of them being bought for the kind of money we're talking about". "There is a lot of pain because we knew we could go further and make history".

In the end, coach Zlatko Dalic replaces Vrsaljko with veteran Vedran Corluka.

"In the second half and in extra time we dominated, we should have finished the job before penalties, but maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama", he added. We made ourselves happy but we also made everybody back home in Croatia happy.

"After the game, Putin phoned him again and noted the team's worthy performance at the World Cup, as well as Russia's lovely and determined game in the historic match against Croatia".

Croatia then went ahead with a soft Domagoj Vida header in the eleventh minute of extra time but Russian Federation still managed to bounce back through Fernandes.

Portal Sport360 announced the match through three key comparisons - the goalkeeper, midfielder, and striker. "To score four goals is good, but if the team doesn't go forward, it's meaningless". Croatia's shooters did enough that Ivan Rakitic's successful penalty was the victor and set off another wild celebration with Subasic on the bottom of the pile.

That included a meeting at the 1998 World Cup, which saw France beat Croatia in the semis before going on to defeat Brazil in the final.