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24,000 fans thank Russian players for fantastic World Cup display

10 July, 2018, 09:59 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • 24,000 fans thank Russian players for fantastic World Cup display

Croatia captain Luka Modric put in a Man-of-the-Match performance to lead his side to a penalty shoot-out victory over hosts Russian Federation, but he has no interest in personal awards as Croats chase their World Cup dream in a semi-final against England.

Saturday's thriller between hosts Russian Federation and 1998 bronze medalists Croatia was one of them.

Now a new generation of players will be out to create their own footballing history when France meet Belgium and Croatia play England for a place in the July 15 final in Moscow.

'Of course there is some power left for the English, ' he told a post-match press conference. "I really wanted to see in the flesh the men who gave us such a fairy-tale celebration". "He congratulated us on a very good game".

Dalic admired the way the Three Lions handled their business in the 2-0 success over the Swedes.

"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football".

"England breezed past Sweden".

But first Roberto Martinez s exciting Belgian side will attempt to reach their first ever World Cup final when they play favourites France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

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Maybe we didn't want to risk some passes. "Other countries, like the United States and the UK don't really care", he says. Croatia are also just the second team to advance through two back-to-back World Cup knockout games after trailing.


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That mattered little though for battling coach Stanislav Cherchesov who assembled a team that defied all forecasts and made the home nation proud.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from the Russian capital Moscow after the team's loss to Croatia, said, "While the team went into this competition something of a national joke, no one was laughing at them now". This is the character of the four teams remaining in the tournament'.

And in Croatia, the talk these days will also be of the quality of brilliant 1998 semi-finalists Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban or Robert Prosinecki and the national team's only last-four appearance until now.

Saturday's shootout was Croatia's second of this World Cup and the 30th World Cup tie to be decided on penalties since Schumacher's moment in Spain 36 years ago.

Russian Federation entered the World Cup without having won a match at the tournament since 2002 and with the lowest ranking of the 32 teams, but suddenly the host nation couldn't stop winning.

"I wasn't born the last time England reached a World Cup semi-final (in 1990)", England keeper Jordan Pickford pointed out when asked about past glories.

He added that he would have retired as professional footballer earlier if not for the World Cup and now plans to become a coach.

"It's a great honor for us to [be here], we are playing for our country with passion".

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