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Croatia Look to Seize Moment Against World Cup Hosts Russia

11 Juillet 2018

Croatia will take on England in the semi-final in Moscow on July 11.

"To be able to manage the team to this point, having played in a semi-final as well, is really, really special".

Denis Cheryshev was Russia's biggest star at this year's World Cup with four goals in five games.

According to world soccer's governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association he earned a total of 127 caps, scoring nine goals, and holding the record for most global appearances by any Russian player.

What he did against Russian Federation may be viewed back home as a greater accomplishment.

England coach Gareth Southgate missed a penalty kick in the semifinals of that tournament in 1996 and said he couldn't listen to the song for 20 years. "We have succeeded I believe, but it is time to take a step forward".

Russia's remarkable World Cup run ended in a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat on penalties as Croatia bounced back from a late extra-time equaliser to set up a last-four meeting with England.

Croatia will come up against a partisan Russian crowd in their last eight-tie in Sochi on Saturday evening.

As Croatia's winning penalty was scored, there was a stunned silence.

Zlatko Dalic's Croatia were vulnerable defensively too.

"Of course there's power left for the English", Dalic said. "Let's not be happy with what we have achieved and go ahead".

"Russia played a very good game, particularly in the first half, they surprised us, they pressed us very high, we could not build up our play", Modric said.

Russians danced, drank and celebrated their national soccer team for three delirious, dreamlike weeks.

Croatia can equal what that 1998 team did if it beats Russian Federation on Saturday in the quarterfinals and perhaps finally rid itself of that 20-year shadow.

"We took the hard route, we were unlucky in previous major tournaments, particularly at Euros, but now we are collecting those debts at the World Cup this year".

Many on the team were impressive during the tournament, however, and could now demand vastly improved salaries, including Dzyuba, creative midfielder Alexander Golovin and fullback Mario Fernandes.

The World Cup tends to about strikers: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Lukaku and Harry Kane, but the quarter-finals have been as much about goalkeepers as attackers. Then, no doubt, he'll be supporting the French pursuit of a second World Cup title the following day in Moscow.

The hosts, the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup this year, were second in their group and beat former champions Spain in the last-16 round.

Croatia Look to Seize Moment Against World Cup Hosts Russia