In turn, thousands of ecstatic fans showed up on Vorobyovy Gory on Sunday to thank their heroes for an unbelievable World Cup. "They have players like Harry Maguire, Harry Kane, John Stones and others, who are very strong".
In the text titled "The World Cup final will include one of these teams - England, Croatia, Sweden, Russia". Now we want the same result as in 2007'. The winners of those games will meet on July 15 to see who will be the 2018 World Cup champion - what will we do when it is all over?
And then there were four - the World Cup has reached the semi-final stage, and we're left with an all-European affair. But Croatia is also exhausted.
They lost to Croatia 4-3 on penalties after extra-time ended with the sides deadlocked at 2-2 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Saturday. Just before midnight local time, Ivan Rakitic's winning penalty ignited yet another celebration that was a mix of excitement and relief.
The national team has never been greeted so warmly, not even after their stunning performance at UEFA EURO 2008, when they reached the semi-final. At some point, that wave could crash.
The overachieving hosts, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at No. 70, were trying to make it to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the Soviet Union finished fourth at the 1966 tournament in England. You have to pay the toll for such exertions. Pat Frost, England's kitman, revealed the semi-final shirts had been printed on Sunday evening, confirming a return to white via a tweet.
But it was not meant to be as Croatia won 4-3 on penalties to advance to a semi-final against England, leaving numerous 48,0000 fans at Sochi's Fisht Stadium in tears.
Croatia have been pushed to the brink twice in penalties, and England may well be fresher due to getting their business done in the 90 minutes against Sweden.
"I felt really relieved".
It's been 52 long years of hurt for the Three Lions but there's a new found optimism that the lads can go all the way and bring football back home again. Those emotions burst out of me. "I would like to become a coach, a good coach". Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow. And Mother Russia's penalty shootout anguish.
All through the knockout bracket, Croatia has faced teams whose first-choice shirt is red or white, and change shirt is white or red.
"We enjoy playing against big teams as we showed against Argentina", insisted defender Dejan Lovren. But we have top centre-backs. With players like the Barcelona midfielder and Real Madrid star Luka Modric, England's defence will need to be alert to ensure they are not pulled apart.
- Former champion Kvitova makes early Wimbledon exit
- Hamilton rages at Mercedes after Austria woe
- England and Belgium battle for World Cup group top spot
- Trump says US tariffs could be applied to Chinese goods worth $500bn
- Manufacturers Created 36K New Jobs in June, According to US Labor Dept.
- China: US tariffs will hit intl. supply chains
- Israel targets 'Syrian position' in Qunaitra in northern Golan Heights
- Rescuers have freed four boys trapped in Thai cave
- Brazil coach Tite not a fan of penalty shootouts
- Maradona apologizes to Federation Internationale de Football Association over "unacceptable' comments on referee Mark Geiger"