Cherchesov: Russians now value their national team

Hannah Rogers
July 11, 2018

Croatia had also needed spot-kicks to get past a dogged Denmark in the last 16, but Modric insisted they would not be exhausted for the last-four clash against England at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

Cherchesov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had called him before the match and after.

England might disagree, and the two countries could yet meet in the semi-finals.

"It wasn't a attractive game, but it was a battle", Dalic said.

It's what Croatia has done - or hasn't - in the four World Cups since that debut which has created the shadow this team plays under.

The hosts pushed forward as the home fans roared in support.

And it earned the exhausted group a date with England in the semifinals. "It will be a battle again but I trust us, I have belief in us".

Russia national soccer team players react at the end of the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. That made it back-to-back shootouts for Croatia following its narrow win over Denmark in the round of 16.

"We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty, it came bursting out of me".

The victory overwhelmed Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who cried after Rakitic's winning penalty.

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

"We have to find the motivation to play a good game and progress against a very respected host nation".

It has been a rocky road off the field, too, for Croatia.

The national team has been gaining followers and drawing increasing political attention from government leaders with every win.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov led his team onto a stage to a heroes' welcome in a Moscow fan zone on a sunny day that was meant to put a patriotic exclamation point on Russia's ability to beat the odds.

Goals out of 20 that Russian Federation conceded at the World Cup as an independent nation have been from set pieces.

Ignashevich also captained CSKA Moscow to the 2005 Uefa Cup title. That's something only Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) and Mario Zagallo (Brazil) have done.

However, May is likely to overturn her own decision should the Three Lions reach the final tournament later this week.

"In the second half and in extra time we dominated, we should have finished the job before penalties", he said, "but maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama".

"So to be here, to be a part of it, leading this team out, I'm so proud".

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