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Croatia beats Russia, face England in World Cup semi finals

Croatia beat host nation Russia in dramatic clash that was forced into extra-time and then penalty shoot-out on Saturday, and would be meeting England in the semi-finals next Wednesday.

The origianl and extra times ended in a draw, forcing penalty shoot outs which were eventually won by the Croats 4-3.

The Croats have been on the offensive since the beginning of the match despite some counter attacks by the Russians.

But the host nation managed to secure the lead in the 31 minute.

Midfielder Denis Cheryshev fired a bullet after a one-two with Dzyuba at the edge of the box to score Russia’s first goal amidst a roaring crowd.

But eight minutes later, Mario Mandzukic broke clear along the left side of the Russia box and his cross into the middle was met by a clinical Andrej Kramaric’s header, sending the ball past Igor Akinfeev for the equalizer.

Croatia continued with their pressure but all their attempts at the Russian goal were fruitless, forcing the match to extra time.

Croatian defender Domagoj Vida converted a cross by a header to give his team the lead at the 100th minute of the first extra time.

But the Russians kept trying and finally found the net, again from a defender.

Mario Figueira Fernandes nodded home a free kick with a header into the bottom corner.

The match was forced to penalty shoot outs, where Russia missed two kicks against one for Croatia.

Source: Kuwait News Agency