Injured goalie saves Croatia as Russian Federation beaten in Fifa World Cup quarterfinals
Jul 08 2018
Surprise package Russian Federation will be hoping to make the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 52 years when they face Croatia on Saturday night.
Croatia won 4-3 on penalties, knocking the host nation out of the tournament after both Fyodor Smolov and Mário Fernandes miss the net. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thanked the team on his Facebook account.
Considering their extremely talented midfield duo of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, fans and players alike will believe there is no reason they can not go all the way.
As Croatia prepared to face Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final, Rakitic shared his reaction to learning Iniesta was on the substitute's bench. Croatia equalized with Andrej Kramaric's header near halftime.
It goes to extra time.
"I remember in Moehlin in Switzerland, my home town, we were all insane, we rooted, we wanted to show our Swiss neighbours how powerful a football nation we are", Rakitic, who had dual citizenship but opted to play for Croatia, recalled.
The hosts qualified for the last eight after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over former world champions, Spain. "We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty it came bursting out of me".
Turning to his rival at club level but team-mate on the worldwide stage, Rakitic described Croatia captain Luka Modric as "a leader" and admitted he loathes playing against the Real Madrid star.
While Russia also started well in Saturday's energy-sapping quarter-final duel against Croatia, they ran out of steam and ended bowing out against the Luka Modric-led side.
Many fans gave him a standing ovation when he was taken off in the second half.