Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Croatia v Russian Federation player ratings

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Cassandra Gardner | 08 July, 2018, 09:25

Working the ball quickly upfield near the sideline, Croatia got the ball into the box on the feet of Mario Mandzukic, who fed in a cross for Kramaric to head home from eight yards.

Croatia pressed for a late victor, earning a pair of corners, but the game went to extra-time where after four minutes, right-back Sime Vrsaljko picked up an injury and Vedran Corluka became Croatia's fourth sub.

The game finished 2-2 after extra-time following a late equaliser by Russia's Mario Fernandes.

"I wasn't born the last time England reached a World Cup semi-final", said Pickford.

The winners will face England in the semi-finals in Moscow on Wednesday.

While Russia also started well in Saturday's energy-sapping quarter-final duel against Croatia, they ran out of steam and ended bowing out against the Luka Modric-led side.

But Croatia came into this game as the favourites.

In the 11th minute of extra-time Domagoj Vida nodded in, before Fernandes brought things level once again. Russia's success will depend on how they manage to rein in the likes of Modric and Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, and then hit on the counter as they have done with such surprising success at the tournament. The score went up to 2-1 and stayed unaltered deep into the second half of the overtime period, when Croatia's defender Josip Pivaric was flashed a yellow card for tipping the ball with a hand.

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That was England's eighth set-piece goal at this World Cup, but, while they are lethal from dead balls, apart from Kane they are not blessed with too many other sharp shooters.

A blatant Croatian handball just outside the penalty area gave Russian Federation a free kick in a unsafe spot, and Alan Dzagoev picked out an unmarked Mario Fernandes, who redirected the ball into Danijel Subasic's goal. Akinfeev denied Mateo Kovacic and nearly kept out Luka Modric's effort from 12 yards out, but Rakitic converted the decisive effort to seal a 4-3 win in the shootout.

It was a match that, frankly, was pretty boring for the first 30 minutes.

Yuri Gazinskiy became Russia's third substitutes, coming in for Dzyuba, but Croatia almost ran into trouble after making two more subs, Josip Pivaric and Mateo Kovacic on for Ivan Strinic and Kramaric.

"What a goal by Denis Cheryshev". It was his fourth goal of the tournament.

Cheryshev was Russia's leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals.

Cheryshev, who scored three times in the group-stage wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was back in the line-up here after beginning on the bench against Spain last weekend.

And against Croatia came a third, the likely victor, as Cheryshev one-twoed with Artem Dzyuba down the left before curling powerfully into the top left corner from 25 yards, giving Russian Federation the lead.

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