Russian Federation can keep on partying after fine World Cup run

Croatians players celebrate after the penalties during the round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny No

Finishing in third place the first time it participated in soccer's biggest showcase set a lofty standard.

"We were undermanned in midfield", said Dalic. And with Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic in the team, what else should be expected? "He did root for our team", Peskov said in a conversation with reporters. "They achieved a historic result in France".

"We hope we have turned this situation for the better. We have succeeded I believe, but it is time to take a step forward".

The current group of Croatians has become exhausted of hearing about what happened in 1998.

Russian Federation had delivered the flawless opening salvo, firing five goals past the Saudis in the World Cup opening match that instantly gave the home crowd a reason to turn their attention to football. They drank while they partied, singing songs and taking pictures with visiting fans from other countries.

There is little prospect that they would have come this far without Modric, who as a boy was forced to flee his village home after his grandfather was killed by Serb forces in the Croatian independence war.

Modric has been on the front line in painful past failures for the national team, missing a penalty in a shootout as Croatia lost to Turkey in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

"It was different football 20 year ago", Ante Rebic said.

"And now I want to say to English fans: "Guys, get it together, come to Russian Federation and support your national team because they have gotten into the semi-final", she said.

Croatia was ousted in the group stage in 2002 and 2006, didn't qualify for 2010 in South Africa and was again dumped in the group stage in 2014 - albeit from a very hard group.

Dalic said he isn't concerned about his Croatia squad running out of steam.

Even the European Championships haven't been kind.

Croatia's long periods of possession were largely unproductive, the final pass was invariably missing and they were surprised by Russia's aggressive approach.

"Yesterday, there were tears", said defender Sergei Ignashevich.

In Moscow, the area behind Red Square was the unofficial beating heart of this World Cup. "That's what we are here for".

Later, Kolinda also went to meet the Croatian footballers in their dressing room and celebrated the team's progress to the semis. Croatia defeated hosts Russian Federation. From this point it looked as though Croatia would have enough to see out the win with both sides tiring by the minute.

"To beat them, we'll have to make our own luck ... we'll have to be ready to suffer".

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