Croatia clinch tie in penalties

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It was then left to Rakitic to send Croatia through to their first semi-final for 22 years, which he duly did to end Russia's fairytale campaign at their home World Cup.

Host nation Russia's dream run at the World Cup will be put to the test against Croatia in the quarter-finals on Saturday - Here are the confirmed line-ups for both sides. With players such as world-class midfielder Luka Modric and a string of top-level forwards including Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic, Zlatko Dalic's team scored at least two goals in each of their three group matches, including firing three past hapless Argentina. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

And it remains to be seen how quickly Croatia - whose President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was watching from the stands in her country's colours - can recover from this draining night, having also been taken to extra time and penalties by Denmark in the last round.

The home faith were left celebrating taking the lead from one of the goals of the tournament for just eight minutes, as Croatia levelled the quarter-final.

For Croatia, Mateo Kovacic had his penalty saved, but Marcelo Brozovic, Modric and Vida all netted theirs before Rakitic stroked in the victor.

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With the game going into extra time, the tension was higher expectedly. The current Croatian squad is one win away from matching their 1998 success of reaching the semi-finals.

Croatia appeared to have the tie in the bag after Vida's extra-time goal until Fernandes rose to head in a free kick and send both teams to their second penalty shootout of the tournament.

After a lively start to the second half, Ivan Perisic should have sent Croatia ahead on the hour-mark but his low strike from the edge of the box crashed against the post. Domagoj Vida (Croatia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Going to penalties will not be an ideal ploy for both sides with Russian Federation boasting Akinfeev between the posts while their opponents will have Danijel Subasic, who against Denmark became only the second keeper in World Cup history to make three saves in their shootout win.

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