Sports

Proved our worth by working hard: Russian Federation coach

Proved our worth by working hard: Russian Federation coach

Croatia progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after a second successive penalty shootout on Saturday but their inability to put away another unimpressive team over 90 minutes and extra time is a major worry for the Balkan side.

The hosts suffered a 4-3 defeat on penalties to Croatia on Saturday after drawing 2-2 after extra time in their quarter-final and were eliminated from the home tournament.

No sooner than Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty, Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who was watching from the stands in her country's colours, erupted into joy in front of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino in the VIP box at Fisht Stadium.

The Croats hadn't advanced to the semifinals at the World Cup since 1998, when the country made its first appearance.

The victor in Wednesday's semifinal match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will return there for a final on Sunday against France, which beat Belgium 1-0 in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

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In England's class of 2018, free kicks, corners and wide crosses are mostly provided by England's wing backs, Young and Kieran Trippier, and they are proving tough to defend. "I believe that people did not only start trusting us but they are in love with us", he told reporters during his post-match press conference.

"I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses (in England's team) since they are in the semi-finals, that says it all".

Croatia lost 2-1 on that occasion, but eventually finished third. "Now is the time and hopefully we can achieve a similar result", Perisic said.

"We were undermanned in midfield", said Dalic.

Roberto Martinez is determined to end a streak of one kind for World Cup coaches.

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"In four years' time in Qatar we will be better", Cherchesov added, referring to the next World Cup tournament. The win against Spain was a minor miracle and fruit of their hard-work, courage and a necessary bit of luck.

In Moscow, the area behind Red Square was the unofficial beating heart of this World Cup.

"We did win. Most importantly, they won for us, for the whole country".

This tactic was turned on its head against Croatia, with Russian Federation going all out and scoring first but conceding two more before an equaliser deep in the second half of extra time reignited their hopes of a last four spot, the first since the Soviet Union's 1966 run. "We made ourselves happy but we also made everybody back home in Croatia happy. Individual awards are not important for me frankly".

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