Dalic: Croatia will have enough energy for England

  • Dalic: Croatia will have enough energy for England

Dalic: Croatia will have enough energy for England

"Yesterday and today I would have experienced the same feelings towards me, if I were in your place", said Fedor Smolov, sharing the blame for the quarter-final defeat in which he missed a penalty against Croatia.

"England are looking strong as a team and have scored a lot of goals from set-pieces". Russia, the lowest-ranked nation at their own tournament, showed vast courage and matched the unbeaten Croatian team led by Luka Modric.

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. Pat Frost, England's kitman, revealed the semi-final shirts had been printed on Sunday evening, confirming a return to white via a tweet.

President Vladimir Putin was among those who praised the team on Saturday for their World Cup 2018 journey. "I am playing on a great team with a great coach, a real coach, and with players who give themselves fully to the game".

Striker Artyom Dzyuba, who scored three goals in five games at the World Cup, said Russian Federation and the fans 'have proved we're a football country'.

This was quickly followed up with a 3-1 win over Egypt and Cherchesov's' team punching their ticket for the Round of 16.

However, it was to be followed by arguably the biggest win for Russian Federation in modern football. If there is no victor after 120 minutes the tie is decided on penalties.

Belgium's returning first-team players made a sluggish start against the Samurai Blue and suddenly found themselves trailing by two goals with time ebbing away.

Then another national hero, Igor Akinfeev, in the goal saved two penalty kicks to allow Russian Federation squeeze past the 2010 world champions and into the last eight.

Against Croatia, they played differently, going all out and scoring first. Russia's fairytale run ended as they were beaten on penalties by Croatia after both sides were locked at 2-2 event after the extra time.

The players and fans sang the national anthem together before the team left the Fan Fest venue to chants of "Thank you".

Russia's enormous size and the costs associated with travelling around the 11 host cities have played a part in a significantly reduced England following in the country so far this tournament. It remains to be seen how much those victories will have taken out of Croatia physically and they have a few injury concerns ahead of Wednesday's crunch semi.