An engrossing affair that ended 2-2 after 120 minutes with two goals in extra-time was decided by penalties as Rakitic steps up and does the business for Croatia.
Russia’s fairytale as the hosts of the World Cup is over. It ends after an engrossing clash with Croatia that saw them take the lead before going behind in extra-time only to get a new lease on life and score an equaliser to send the quarter-final to penalties.
Denis Cheryshev sent a pearlier beyond Subasicin the first half to open the scoring only to see his marvellous effort cancelled out by a handy header from Andre Kramaric up the other end. Russia were caught out at the back and Croatia capitalised.
The second half saw two very cagey teams size each other up with both too fearful to go all out. They didn’t sit back either though and it resulted in a battle for possession in the middle with a few half chances for either side.
The game went to extra-time and when Vida headed home a corner, it looked like Croatia had done enough. but Fernandes popped up to headed a glancer home himself with no time for either side to add to the four goals already scored – not that they wanted to, mind.
It came down to penalties. Smolov missed the first and Kovacic saw his saved too. Fernandez, the hero in extra-time, missed his spot-kick with a wayward effort. It would come down to the fifth effort and Ivan Rakitic tucked his home to send Croatia into a semi-final against England on Wednesday.