Sunday, 22 July, 2018


Modric shines again but team mates must do more

General view inside the Samara Arena before the Sweden vs England quarter-final. This stadium hosted six matches of the World Cup. Reuters General view inside the Samara Arena before the Sweden vs England quarter-final. This stadium hosted six matches of the World Cup. Reuters
Noah Ferguson | 10 July, 2018, 17:10

It is only the second time that Croatia have reached the World Cup semi-finals.

Their only appearance in a final came back in 1966 when they beat West Germany 4-2.

One of the big success stories of the World Cup so far has been the welcome the Russians have given to visitors regardless of nationality, colour or religion.

And after Fernandes' late equaliser from Alan Dzagoev's free-kick - the midfielder was making his first appearance as a substitute since suffering injury in Russia's opening game - you felt the momentum would be with Russian Federation.

"No other team in the world has fans like we do". "Then I went to our assistant coach Drazen Ladic and he told me to think of something nice".

Croatia often looked reluctant to attack and Modric's words after the game hinted at a lack of adventure that will surely cost them sooner or later.

"We should have finished the job before penalties, but maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama", said Luka Modric, whose penalty bounced off Subasic's hand and the post before entering the other side of the net.

"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it".

"It's awesome, because I was one of those kids growing up who wanted to play for England". I am happy that i have been a part of this team, this coach and our football country for nearly 20 years.

Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes had kept Russia's dream alive when he headed home in the 115th minute to level the scores and force penalties, but he and Fedor Smolov both failed to convert their spot-kicks in Sochi. "We played for you with your heart and soul, these guys have made history".

France and Begium took care of all South American teams, who among them share a combined nine World Cups.

Yet he was there to head in Jesse Lingard's cross to double the lead, after Harry Maguire's first half opener. "Until last night, when all the pain was removed and when we finally experienced a revival of 1998", the Sportski Novosti newspaper said after that match.

Croatia are the second side to progress from a penalty shoot-out in consecutive knockout games in a World Cup after Argentina in 1990.

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