Croatia reached the World Cup semi-finals for the second time in their history with Ivan Rakitic again the hero in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Russian Federation. "I think we primarily must focus on ourselves because I think our team has bigger quality, we just need to show that on the pitch and we will be able to set the tone", Rebic told reporters during the week.
And then there was the set-piece, something England have made their own this tournament, which Croatia failed to deal with as Russian Federation levelled to take the game to penalties.
Having knocked out Spain on penalties in the previous round, Russia, 70th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, again defied the odds to take 20th ranked Croatia to a shootout with a 2-2 draw after extra time but on this occasion their marksmanship deserted them.
They will face England, who beat Sweden 2-0 earlier, at the Luzhniki Stadium Moscow on Wednesday.
"We had to withstand a lot of physical pressure", said England coach Gareth Southgate.
Croatia were deservedly back on level terms a minute later, however, as Mandzukic ran into space on the left and delivered a telling cross for Kramaric to head past Igor Akinfeev from seven yards out.
However, it was not to be for the resilient hosts, with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving Fedor Smolov's penalty and Fernandes firing wide before Rakitic kept his composure to send Croatia through. Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Croatia, who reached their first semifinal since 1998, dominated possession over the 120 minutes but were let down by poor final passes and were vulnerable to Russia's aerial game.
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"We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all".
- Only one of the last six World Cup matches to go to extra-time has not gone to penalties - the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina. The defending champions at the time defeated Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals and Italy in the semifinals that year, which also made Italy the last host nation to lose on penalties before Saturday.
And in the extra session, it looked like Croatia was well on their way to the victory and avoiding penalty kicks.
"It wasn't a attractive game, but it was a battle", Dalic said.
Modric and Rakitic were decisive in the shootout but didn't play up to expectations in regulation and extra time, unable to create many significant chances for Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic up front.
His first, in the opening 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia would most likely finish third on this list for its simpler finish, but Cheryshev had the most lovely of first touches, delicately flicking it up over the sliding defender, taking another touch before firing it home and doubling Russia's lead.
Croatia started the second half more urgent than they did the first and looked the more risky out of the two sides.