Arguably one of the best knockout matches in this World Cup, Russia’s encounter against Croatia had everything right from goals to defensive clearances like no other day. The two teams fought to their extreme self, putting men behind the ball in the middle of the park.
The Hosts’ remarkable World Cup came to an end as Croatia went past them, firing all guns in an epic encounter. Last time Russia went to a penalty shoot-out, they won the encounter against Spain and the last time Croatia went, Rakitic put them through to the next round.
Watch Budweiser #ManoftheMatch @lukamodric10 talk about the hard-fought match, and the toughness Croatia needed to go to the semi-final for the first time in 20 years. #RUSCRO #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/6svYIovWZo
— Budweiser (@Budweiser) July 8, 2018
In Russia’s first quarter-final appearance since 1970, when they were still called as the Soviet Union, Villarreal’s forward and Russian striker Denis Cheryshev gave them a lead in the 30th minute of the encounter. But it took eight minutes, and beautiful counter for Croatia to score, with Andrej Kramaric’s header tieing them back at 1-1 in the game.
Early in the second half, Manchester United target and Inter’s winger Ivan Perisic missed an open chance to put the Europeans on the lead, with a low drive that hit the post. Zlatko Dalic’s side began dominating in the midfield, with the Russian counterparts looking tired and fatigued chasing after the likes of Brozovic and Luka Modric.
The entire 90 minutes:
The entire 90 minutes flew right by the two sides, with a couple of injury scare for the Croatian team. In the 89th minute of the encounter, goalkeeper and star player Danijel Subasic clutched his right leg, in what looked like a hamstring injury. However, by then Croatia had already made their third and final change in the normal time.
With the match hanging in balance, it was when the sides would take the risk of putting the ball across the net with both the defences looking shaky. Domagoj Vida’s header in the latter stages of the first half of the extra time found its way across the group of many Russian players to find the net giving Croatia a 2-1 lead in the encounter.
Dalic’s side were determined to put one more past the Russian defence in the extra-time with chances coming thick and fast for the Europeans. However, there was no more addition to the goals after the first half of the extra-time.
Mariooooo with the equalizer:
For Russia, the encounter was clear that they had to score once again if they stand a chance at making a comeback into the game. Mario Fernandes had other plans when he planted his header across the net to give Russia a crucial goal at 2-2. At 2-2, with momentum towards the hosts, Russia seemed to be taking the game home.
The Brazil-born defender, however, missed his penalty in the shootout with the Croatians only requiring to score in the final kick of the shoot-out.
Fans in Croatia went WILD after their penalty kick win over Russia pic.twitter.com/RNwY9RVVoG
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 7, 2018
Who better than midfielder Ivan Rakitic to score the final goal and give the win for the Croatians. Rakitic was an absolute beast for the European side, and once again proved that his combination with Modric makes all the difference for the Croatians.