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Croatia are through to the semi-final of the World Cup after beating Russia/Croatia following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

They will now play England after the Three Lions won against Sweden earlier this afternoon.

Croatia won 4-3 on penalties, knocking the host nation out of the tournament after both Fyodor Smolov and Mário Fernandes miss the net.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The match began when Croatian fans started to re-enact their own version of Iceland’s ‘Viking thunder-clap’ – you know, the one where they all clap really slowly and chant in perfect unison.

Then Russia left their Croatian counterparts in hot water (well maybe luke warm) as Denis Cheryshev conceded in the 31st minute of the game.

The Villarreal left winger launched a 25-yard shot that nestled into the top-left corner.The Russian goal from Denis Cheryshev. Credit: PA
The Russian goal from Denis Cheryshev. Credit: PA

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Eight minutes (and two yellow cards) later Croatia responded with a 39-minute goal from Andrej Kramarić.

Kramarić is Croatia’s seventh different player to score a goal for the side in the 2018 World Cup. Only Belgium have had more with nine (excluding own goals).

Andrej Kramarić's goal against World Cup hosts, Russia. Credit: PA
Andrej Kramarić’s goal against World Cup hosts, Russia. Credit: PA

As the second half got underway Croatian striker Kramarić went for the overhead kick – it was no Ronaldo performance – especially seeing as it went straight to Russian keeper, Igor Akinfeev.

Ivan Perišić for Croatia had a near miss with 30 minutes to go with many celebrating before watching the ball rebound across the face of the goal.

The match went into extra time and Croatian defender, Domagoj Vida, took them 2-1 up at 100 minutes with the added bonus of a salute from the nation’s president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Vida was booked moments later after removing his top during his goal celebration.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Russia were awarded a free-kick after Josip Pivarić handles the ball and the World Cup hosts get their equaliser.

Brazilian born Mário Fernandes scored Alan Dzagoev’s free-kick which landed in the bottom left corner. The game ended 2-2 after extra time. We all knew what was next.

There we have it, Croatia will face England on Wednesday (July 11) for the semi-final stage of the tournament.


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