Croatia ended Russia’s World cup dream when they won 4-3 on penalties to eliminate the gallant hosts. The win came after the dramatic quarter-final ended 2-2 after extra time on Saturday.
Ivan Rakitic strike home the winning penalty for Croatia to set a semi-final date against England after a night of unremitting tension in Sochi, ended the campaign of a team ranked 70th in the world on the eve of the tournament.
The Russians went ahead in the first half on a magnificent goal by Denis Cheryshev, his fourth of the tournament. Croatia drew even before intermission and took the lead in extra time, but Russia forced the tiebreaker when Mario Fernandes, a Brazilian-born naturalized citizen, scored with about five minutes left.
In the penalties, Fernandes missed the target in the third round, clearing the way for Croatia to become the first team since Argentina in 1990 to win consecutive matches on penalty kicks.
Russia had surpassed the expectations of football lovers to reach the last eight and ousting the Spain.
In the earlier match, England buried 28 years’ worth of bitter World Cup memories when they beat Sweden 2-0 to qualify for the semifinals for the first time since 1990.
Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were on target as England comfortably overcame Sweden, much to the delight of English fans.
Leicester defender Maguire headed in the opening goal from a corner on 30 minutes, with Alli adding a second just before the hour.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then produced a series of crucial saves in the final half-hour to seal England’s long-awaited spot in the last four.