Sport

Russia's surprisingly long summer ends in shootout tears

Russia's surprisingly long summer ends in shootout tears

Finishing in third place the first time it participated in soccer's biggest showcase set a lofty standard.

Yes, Croatia may have one of the best individual players in the tournament with what Luka Modric has done in matching the deepest run ever by the country.

Dalic said: "That was a great success for Croatia as a nation".

In the other quarter-final match, England defeated Sweden 2-0 to secure their place in the semi-finals where they will be facing Croatia.

Ivan Rakitic, so often a key man for Barcelona, was not almost as influential as at club level, while in defence, Russia's Mario Fernandes beat more highly rated defenders to head home a late equaliser. They were fewer than expected in Russian Federation, yet the semifinal lineup has four teams from the continent.

"The mood in central Moscow tonight is: the Russian team has lost, long live the Russian team", he said. "They achieved a historic result in France". "We played for you with your heart and soul, these guys have made history". It will be a battle again but I believe in us.

The current group of Croatians has become exhausted of hearing about what happened in 1998.

The Lightning Seeds "Three Lions", England's official song when it hosted the 1996 European Championship, with its repeated chorus of "football's coming home" has hit No. 5 this week on YouTube UK's top music videos charts with more than 2 million views on the day of England's last match.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, the country's former minister of sport, said Russia showed they can play well against a strong opponent.

In this World Cup, Russia crushed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opener, beat Egypt 3-1, before losing 0-3 to Uruguay to finish second in Group A. They upset Spain on penalties in the round of 16.

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 worldwide football minnows Saudi Arabia.

"It was different football 20 year ago", Ante Rebic said. "I believe that people did not only start trusting us but they are in love with us", he told reporters during his post-match press conference. But the team didn't get past the group stage of any tournament for the next decade.

Even the European Championships haven't been kind.

The Swedes were playing in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1994, when they reached the semifinals.

Croatia has never advanced to the championship match.

"Our goals are higher", defender Domagoj Vida said.

A World Cup host city must have a hub for fans to meet and watch games on giant screens.


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