Sports

England dream of World Cup glory as Russian fans thank team

England dream of World Cup glory as Russian fans thank team

The quarter-final result still stings for Stanislav Cherchesov's side, but it was overshadowed by a sense of pride for the team, who managed to defy all the pre-tournament predictions, not only qualifying from the group but even beating the 2010 world champions Spain in the Round of 16.

Dalic was full of praise for the Barcelona midfielder, saying Rakitic was in career-best form heading into a last-four clash with England on Wednesday.

"Russia played a very good game, particularly in the first half, they surprised us, they pressed us very high, we could not build up our play", Modric said.

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

And then there were four - the World Cup has reached the semi-final stage, and we're left with an all-European affair.

"England's players have guaranteed they will return from the World Cup as heroes". Expectations were muted coming into the World Cup.

Thousands of fans have gathered in Moscow to welcome back the Russian team after its narrow loss in the World Cup quarterfinals.

An unlikely semifinal at the start of the tournament, Croatia and England now both stand on the verge of the World Cup final after negotiating a favourable route to reach this stage of the competition.

More news: Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

Croatia beat Russian Federation in penalties and proceeded to a semi-final encounter against England on Thursday.

Modric and Rakitic were decisive in the shootout but didn't play up to expectations in regulation and extra time, unable to create many significant chances for Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic up front. The game ended 2-2 after extra time.

Croatia, with their dreamy midfield, are of course a very hard opponent and have been brilliant all tournament.

But Belgium were so hot against Brazil, when Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were outstanding, they go into this game against their big brother neighbour as favourites.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the final set to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. The Croatians lost to France in the semis 20 years ago.

The Russian tactician added that he had told Putin that the team was disappointed after the heartbreaking loss but that the 65-year-old leader asked them to get over it and focus on the future.

Besiktas centre-back Vida, 29, and his former Dynamo Kiev and worldwide teammate Ognjen Vukojevic recorded a video message following Croatia's win in Sochi. We are very motivated and will give our all. Against Denmark - who they also beat on penalties - Croatia were passive while against the hosts at the weekend they were only sporadically fluent.


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