Injured goalie saves Croatia as Russian Federation beaten in Fifa World Cup quarterfinals

Modric-cropped

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic insisted his team will be ready for their World Cup semi-final showdown with England despite a gruelling encounter against Russian Federation.

Here is a look at the semi-finals and what to watch out for.

Croatia set up to take this game to the opposition, ditching a traditional midfield and effectively lining up in a 4-2-4.

The Russians as hosts did not need to qualify for the World Cup and their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russia, even lower than global football minnows Saudi Arabia.

England eased through to the semis with a comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden while Croatia needed penalties to progress past host Russian Federation. Corners or free-kicks have led to seven goals for England in the tournament. "It's up to us now which games we play in".

Luka Modric (central midfielder) The Real Madrid midfielder is one of the world's best in his position and when given time and space on the ball he can cause havoc. "Really", The Washington Post said, despite the fact that it is a very small country, Croatia is famous for their 15 fantastic players in the world's strongest clubs.

It was the second time in the tournament that Croatia needed penalties to win and while Hamann believes that they proved their nerve once again, he questioned their ability to break down England when the two sides met on Wednesday. "He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time too (his solitary goal in the last 16 against Denmark is evidence of that) and he always shows up for the big games - so expect him to make a significant impact in Sochi", writes Sport360.

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It was a dramatic end to the quarterfinal for Croatia goalkeeper Subasic who went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury late in regulation time. "We left everything on the field".

"We expect a very hard, tight and demanding match".

In the shootout, Mateo Kovacic missed his kick for Croatia, but two misses by Russia's Fedor Smolov and Fernandes handed The Blazers passage to the semis where England await.

In a separate ruling, FIFA fined the Serbian football federation 54,000 Swiss francs ($54,700) for incidents involving its fans at the same game.

The 38-year-old defender returned to the national team for the finals and played a key part in his side's surprise run to the last eight.

"We want to enjoy this victory and not put more pressure on ourselves with what happened in 1998 - what they did was impressive but we want to keep writing our own history and enjoy what we are doing which is very positive". "Hopefully it will be like Wembley in 2007, when we won 3-2!"

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