T-2 DAYS UNTIL CROATIA'S WORLD CUP SEMI-FINAL
The Croatian national team beat World Cup hosts Russia in a 4:3 penalty shoot-out on July 7 in Sochi. The two teams proved to be difficult opponents for one another, with the first half-time ending with a draw (1:1). The second half-time passed without a goal by either side, and while Croatia took the lead in extended-time through a header by Domagoj Vida, Russia's Fernandes was quick to even the score in the 116th minute.
Croatia's win over Russia follows a similar penalty shoot-out win over Denmark (3:2), with the winning penatly shot scored once again by vice-captain Ivan Rakitić
Head Coach Zlatko Dalić
offered congratulations to the Russian team for "fighting bravely and staying true to their tireless, aggressive style of play". On his display of emotion after Rakitić's winning shot in the penalty shoot-outs, Dalić stated that he does not "cry very often, but now I had good reason to cry. We made both ourselves and everyone in Croatia happy. We supported each other mentally during the penalty shoot-outs and the tears were proof of how relieved I was in the end."
Croatia captain Luka Modrić
echoed Dalić's praise of the Russian team, stating that "Russia performed well. They are a powerful, organized team, and they prevented us from doing what we wanted during the first half-time. It was a tough match, we struggled, and fatigue played its part. However, we maintained our mental strength during the penalty shoot-out, and I hope we will perform better against England."
The Croatian team is set to match strengths against England at Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, and if Dalić's squad takes the win, Croatia will make its historic inaugural performance in the World Cup final.
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