Putin invites Team Russia players, head coach to discuss World Cup results

08 July, 2018, 13:57 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Naymar Suarez Kane Mbappe

World Cup fever has well and truly returned over the past couple of days with the quarter-finals taking place across Friday and Saturday.

Croatia fans in Zagreb, meanwhile, erupted with joy as their side went through to the semi finals of the World Cup in what was the second straight match for both teams to be decided on a penalty shootout.

Cherchesov feels his country grew to love his players during famous wins over Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Spain but says they must look to achieve more in the future.

Croatia is the first team to win consecutive penalty shootouts since Argentina in 1990 and it's the first time the host country has lost in a shootout since Italy in the same year.

France are perhaps peaking ahead of their time, with Didier Deschamps' young team viewed by many as not likely to mature into potential World Cup winners until Qatar 2022.

Stanislav Cherchesov, head coach of the most surprising success story at this World Cup of upstarts, expects to take his first phonecall shortly before kick-off this evening.

Ivan Rakitic scored the decisive spot-kick as Croatia beat Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties to book a World Cup semi-final date with England.

For Russia, Fyodor Smolov and Mario Fernandes were the ones who missed, while Alan Dzagoev, Sergei Ignashevich and Daler Kuziaev scored.

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Denis Cheryshev struck a stunning opener from a distance to give the hosts the lead in the 31st minute but Croatia equalised through Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.

"[The president] watched. He was rooting for the team".

Russian Federation were cheered on by raucous home support in front of 44,000 fans in Sochi on Sunday - as they have been at the stadiums they've played at throughout their home tournament. "But we showed our worth".

Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow. Fans spilling out of bars chanted "Russia", dancing in the street and singing along as music blared.

"We expect a very hard, tight and demanding match against England".

"It was a great match. Whether we're in the top four in the world is something we would still have to prove", England manager Gareth Southgate said.

This is the first time in 16 years that two teams took a quarterfinal to extra time, after having played extra time in the round of 16 as well.

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