Russia 2-2 Croatia: Russia’s World Cup Dream Ends in Penalty Shootout Defeat

Russia's World Cup Dream

SOCHI, RUSSIA (July 7, 2018) — Russia’s fairytale run at the World Cup has come to a close.

The host nation went to penalty kicks again during the knockout stage. However, Croatia’s four converted penalties were enough to get Luka Modric and company a ticket to the semifinals.

Russia 2-2 Croatia: Russia’s World Cup Dream Ends in Penalties

Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the entire tournament, outlasted Spain and group stage matches against Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, and Egypt to get to Sochi. However, Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic proved to be a wall against Fedor Smolov and Mário Fernandes.

Fernandes’ missed penalty kick came only moments after scoring in the 115th minute to equalize the match in extra time.

Fernandes, a Brazilian-born Russian citizen, made his debut for Russia back in March 2017 against the Ivory Coast. He has made 10 appearances for Russia.

His extra time goal was the first of his international career.

The First Tie

Russia found the scoreboard first in the 31st minute.

Denis Cheryshev slipped a goal past Subasic, off an assist from Artem Dzyuba. Cheryshev finished the tournament with four goals — the first four goals of his international career. It currently has him in a tie for second in the golden boot race behind England’s Harry Kane.

However, eight minutes later, Croatia found an equalizer. Andrej Kramaric found the back of Igor Akinfeev’s net in the 39th minute on a header.

Akinfeev, who features for CSKA Moscow, was late with a reflection.

What To Take Away for Russia

Smolov, Cheryshev and their fellow Russians shouldn’t keep their heads down long. The Russians came into the tournament with all odds against them.

However, the Russians managed to send Spain home in a stunning Round of 16 upset. Meanwhile, their FIFA ranking will be sure to boost up a few spots with the tournament.

Aleksandr Golovin, Artem Dzyuba, and Denis Cheryshev made their names known in the tournament, as well as Fernandes. Cheryshev is only one of two players — the other being third-string goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov — who doesn’t play at the club level in Russia.

Golovin, who is only 22 years old, has already had his name thrown in the transfer rumor mill.

The Russian team is young and has a lot of growing left to do. Showing up powerhouse teams in the World Cup is only the beginning.

The Next Task for Croatia

Croatia won’t have an easy road to the final match.

The Croats will take on the Three Lions of England on Wednesday, July 11, in St. Petersburg. The Three Lions claimed a 2-0 victory over Sweden before the Russia/Croatia match.

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