Croatia ends Russia's World Cup dream

Russia extra motivated thanks to Putin says coach Cherchesov

Les Bleus are led by Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and 19-year-old phenom Kylian Mbappe, who is now the favorite to take home the Golden Ball (best player at the tournament) and the Young Player Award, won by Pogba at the 2014 World Cup. That was the only year the Croatians advanced past the group stage before this tournament.

Kramarić is Croatia's seventh different player to score a goal for the side in the 2018 World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic's side defeated hosts Russian Federation in a gruelling 120 minutes of action on Saturday evening. He was replaced by Vedran Corluka, the team's fourth substitution, meaning Croatia can't sub Subasic if the match goes to penalties. "I did not want to offend anyone", said the Croatian hero from Sochi.

Russian Federation are the first host nation to have been eliminated at the quarterfinals stage of a World Cup in 32 years.

Media had labelled the game the "crucial match of this generation", stressing it was a chance to match the success of the 1998 squad that reached the semi-finals in Croatia's first World Cup as an independent nation. "I put on a shirt with national symbols, whereas the dress code in the VIP zone, which usually presupposes long gowns, wouldn't have permitted such an outfit", the Russian website Sportbox quoted her as saying. They're dealing with injuries to their starting right back, their goalkeeper and a handful of other players who could probably use a week in the ice bath.

"I think we are underdogs from Day 1 and it's good for us", Croatia defender Dejan Lovren said.

Did Vladimir Putin phone call inspire Russian Federation to beat Spain?
First Germany, then Lionel Messi's Argentina, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. "I think we should have countered faster". Andres Iniesta came on for Silva and Nacho was replaced by Dani Carvajal in another Spain switch with 20 minutes remaining.

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

"He watched, he was rooting for the team".

Adding a little more to the stats trivia package, the Croatian win yesterday was the highest MM result for any event on Fox or Fox Sports since the 5.1 that the Daytona 500 raced to on February 18.

Russian fans were not happy with the development, and took to the streets with anti-Croatia chants of their own.

"They dealt with Sweden relatively easily so we know they are going to be a hard opponent and we respect them", he continued.

Croatia had also needed spot-kicks to get past a dogged Denmark in the last-16, but Modric insisted they would not be exhausted for the last-four clash against England at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

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