World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant


World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant

Luka Modric admitted Croatia were shattered after they ended Russia's World Cup hopes in another penalty shootout on Saturday to advance to a semi-final against England.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has received praise from all over the world after she personally attended her country's quarter final victory against World Cup hosts Russian Federation.

No sooner than Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty, Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who was watching from the stands in her country's colours, erupted into joy in front of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino in the VIP box at Fisht Stadium.

Modric has been on the front line in painful past failures for the national team, missing a penalty in a shootout as Croatia lost to Turkey in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

Croatia players were less vocal on social media after narrowly progressing to their first semi-final appearance since 1994, but it can not be denied that the players are not motivated for Wednesday evening. France will take on Belgium in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

"They breezed past Sweden, they scored twice, they were better", Dalic added of England. "I wanted to showcase that I am a football fan, like everyone else; I wanted to support the team among other fans in the stands".

"The objective of the exhibition is to engage with football fans in Russian Federation and introduce them to Qatar's preparations for the World Cup", said Kayed.

"To beat them, we'll have to make our own luck ... we'll have to be ready to suffer. That in future we talk about them", said Blazevic, now 83, and known in Croatia as the "coach of all coaches".

Meanwhile, Dele Alli, who scored England's second goal, said it was a great team performance.

The French players danced on the field after their victory but toned it down slightly to shake hands with Thierry Henry, who helped Les Bleus win the World Cup in 1998 and is now Belgium's assistant coach.

"Of course there is some power left for the English", he told a post-match press conference.

President Vladimir Putin did not attend the game, but watched remotely, saying the players were heroes despite the defeat and the country was proud of them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by Interfax. In four years in Qatar we'll do better, but it will be more hard without you. Croatia reached the quarterfinals in its first tournament in 1996 and has advanced that far only once since.

It made Alli (22) the second youngest England scorer in a World Cup game, after Michael Owen.

"With what we've achieved now, we can't take a step back", Cheryshev said.

"I know all their players", he said. "Individual awards are not important for me frankly".



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