FIFA 2018: Croatia Beats Host Russia, Through To The Quarterfinals

| July 8 , 2018 , 11:37 IST

Croatia emerged victorious over the hosts Russia 3-4 in the penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw on Saturday and booked their spot in the semifinals against England. Ivan Rakitic became the match-winner for Croatia with his last penalty strike.

Denis Cheryshev marked his return with the glorious opening strike and enlisted his name in the top goals scored in the tournament. Russia's lead was matched soon by the Croatian side when Andrej Kramaric posted the ball home just eight minutes after the opener.

Croats were dominant in the second half as Domagoj Vida headed home in the first period of extra time to silence the Russian supporters again. Croatia thought that they were through the quarters but their hopes were denied by Brazil-born defender Fernandes who found the net in the last minutes of the match. The equaliser for Russia forced extra time further leading to the penalty shootout.

Both the teams had qualified for the quarters after winning the penalty shootouts and interestingly were facing each other in the penalty shootout.

Fernandes struck the ball wide out of the net. Modric got lucky when he curled the ball into the nets following touches off Akinfeev's glove and the post.

Rakitic became the penalty specialist with his last strike into the net and keep Croatia's dream to win the world cup alive.