Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Hosts Russia disappointed but exit World Cup stage with pride

Hosts Russia disappointed but exit World Cup stage with pride

For Russians, the sadness was mixed with pride on Saturday evening after their team - the lowest ranked in the tournament - was halted in its tracks to World Cup glory by Croatia in a dramatic quarter-final match.

England will take on Sweden in Samara at 3pm on Saturday, July 7 followed by Russian Federation vs Croatia in Sochi at 7pm. Maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama. If there is no victor after 120 minutes the tie is decided on penalties.

Russia's Sergei Ignashevich being consoled by Croatia's Vida after their quarterfinal exit at the ongoing World Cup.

These two have looked the best two teams in the tournament.

The semi-final will be played on Wednesday and it promises to be an enthralling affair. "I'm grateful to the players... thanks to all the fans for their support, it's thanks to them that we managed to get so far", he added.

Previous meetings If history is anything to go by then there should be goals in this.

So when Russian Federation won the bid to host the World Cup, Sorokin, a graduate of Moscow State Linguistic University and State Diplomacy who also speaks fluent English and French, was naturally appointed the chairman and chief executive officer of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee.

These are two exciting European sides with great futures ahead of them.

Croatia are through to the semi-final of the World Cup after beating Russia/Croatia following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

Roberto Martinez celebrates Belgium;s quarter-final win over Brazil. Both Russia and Croatia had needed extra-time in their matches against Spain and Denmark, respectively, and thus emulated South Korea and Spain, who needed extra time and penalties to separate each other in the last eight of 2002.

Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic and Andrej Krameric will cause England problems if they can drag their three center backs out wide.

Previous meetings England won their only previous clash at a major tournament, at Euro 2004, with a 4-2 triumph where Wayne Rooney scored twice. Winning the midfield battle against Croatia will be key, with Jordan Henderson likely needing plenty of help against Rakitic and Modric.

A narrow 1-0 win for England, probably from another set-piece, puts Gareth Southgate's men in the final.

Yet, on the latest episode of Squeaky Bum Time, RNZ's FIFA World Cup podcast, guest Ken Early says Putin's words ring somewhat true.

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