World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant

World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant

After finishing second to Argentina in Group H following victories over Jamaica and Japan, World Cup debutants Croatia claimed some impressive scalps on their way to the semi-finals.

Sterling was a key part of the Manchester City side that won the Premier League last season but he has been less effective in England's charge to the last four for the first time since 1990.

This was not a attractive game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Dalic said: "We can not choose our opponents, hosts or otherwise".

How they're still held and revered", he said, adding: "I've met quite a few of those players and we know exactly how they're held. "We were together. You were the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th player".

The Blazar defeated hosts nation Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties after 2-2 draw in Sochi on Saturday to set a semi-final clash with England on Wednesday.

They will face England, who beat Sweden 2-0 earlier, at the Luzhniki Stadium Moscow on Wednesday.

Modric has admitted that his side must improve their awareness from corners and free kicks after Croatia were pegged back in extra time by Mario Fernandes's header in their last-eight tie.

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"We have enough time to rest and prepare well", said Modric.

"I'm not thinking about it, only about my national team succeeding", he said.

There was one change apiece to the starting line-ups, with the sole adjustment for Russian Federation from their surprise penalty shoot-out triumph over Spain in the last 16 seeing Cheryshev come in for Yuri Zhirkov.

"As soon as I found out there was going to be a reception with the Sbornaya, I dropped everything and drove with my husband to Moscow", said Anastasiya, a fan from Tver who travelled for over three hours to reach the capital. "The country believed in us and as a united whole we achieved good results, but we can't stop here and we need to keep striving for more".

But this is a player whose reputation took a battering at home before the tournament due to his implication in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic.

"How far can we go?" "We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't control the game as we wanted".

Some saw the ID system as a data protection risk, yet many fans embraced their laminates as though members of a World Cup club. "We told him we were disappointed".

Henry did everything he could to help Belgium bring down France, but ultimately the team with more goals than any in the tournament was unable to score in the semifinals.

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