Monday, 10 December, 2018


World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant

Andreas Granqvist GettyAndreas Granqvist's wife gave birth on Friday
Noah Ferguson | 10 July, 2018, 11:14

The favourites, the big teams are home.

"Obviously we work on them in attack and defense, and they are vitally important for us", said Ashley Young, one of England's set-piece specialists.

Part of the reason for Croatia's success was another stunning display from goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, who has now stopped four penalties in shootouts in this World Cup: only Argentina's Sergio Goycochea in 1990 has performed a similar feat, although German keeper Harald Schumacher saved a total of four shootout penalties in 1982 and 1986. Rakitic I haven't played against but I played against Modric twice this year in the Champions League and everyone knows what he did in the Premier League. "I told him we were disappointed".

At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot - only the second player to miss in any of the four shoot-outs at this year's World Cup.

They lost the quarter-final shootout 4-3 after extra-time ended with the sides deadlocked at 2-2 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"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".

Yet they only led for the first time when Domagoj Vida's header found its way into the net through a crowd of players in the first half of extra time. Igor Akinfeev later blocked an attempt from Mateo Kovacic.

This tactic was turned on its head against Croatia, with Russian Federation going all out and scoring first but conceding two more before an equaliser deep in the second half of extra time reignited their hopes of a last four spot, the first since the Soviet Union's 1966 run.

President Vladimir Putin did not attend the game, but watched remotely, saying the players were heroes despite the defeat and the country was proud of them. The die-hard football fanatic had earlier met the (former) Argentinan team in the USA, former French great Robert Pires, Brazilian footballer Kaka and he feels blessed.

Having represented Tottenham before joining Real, Modric said playing England was "always special". There is disappointment but we showed that you can be proud of the Sbornaya because we played worthy football.

The reward for eliminating the hosts is a glamorous tie against England in Moscow on Wednesday and Dalic believes his team is well equipped to stop Harry Kane.

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