Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia beat Russia 4-3 in a shoot-out after a dramatic 2-2 draw on Saturday to end the World Cup hopes of the host nation and advance to a semi-final against England.
Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes had kept Russia’s dream alive when he headed home in the 115th minute to level the scores and force penalties, but he and Fedor Smolov both failed to convert their spot-kicks in Sochi.
Croatia, for whom Andrej Kramaric and Domagoj Vida had earlier found the net, advance to their first World Cup semi-final since 1998. They will face England, who beat Sweden 2-0 earlier, at the Luzhniki Stadium Moscow on Wednesday.
In contrast for Russia, who had taken the lead through another Denis Cheryshev wonder goal in the first half, there is only heartbreak as they finally go out. Russia forced the game into penalties. Both these sides had prevailed in the Round of 16 on shootouts and they have to go through that ordeal once again, the only difference being that this time, one of them have to lose.
Host nation Russia and Croatia were locked at 1-1 at half-time in their World Cup quarter-final in Sochi on Friday as they compete for the right to play England in the semis. Denis Cheryshev struck a stunning opener from a distance to give Russia the lead in the 31st minute but Croatia equalised through Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.
40′ Russia 1-1 Croatia
GOAL! Kramaric levels it up! Russia go to sleep allowing Mandzukic to sneak into space and lay it off to Kramaric to head home from close range
— FIFA World Cup ? (@FIFAWorldCup) July 7, 2018
Quarter-final, Russia vs Croatia: GOAL!! Cheryshev scores a stunner!