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Zlatko Dalic has guided Croatia to the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Zlatko Dalic has guided Croatia to the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Until the 88th minute, the script for this match read: Two evenly-matched teams battling for semi-final place.

The Barcelona midfielder scored the victor from the spot in the tense shoot-out against Denmark after goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties, and then kept his cool again last night to send Croatia into the semi-finals and set up a tasty encounter with England.

To some extent, France and Belgium are two sides of the same coin. Still, his critics would argue Les Bleus don't make the most of the players at their disposal-especially in the attacking third. Italy was the last team to do so, with comeback wins against Mexico and West Germany in the 1970 quarters and semis respectively. They have endured the emotional tugs of two penalty shootouts, somehow coming out on top on both occasions, the first team since 1990 to do so at a World Cup. His conservative approach isn't always the best to watch, yet it's hard to argue with the results.

This is the first time they have reached the knock-out phase since - and they had to qualify for Russian Federation via the play-offs - and Luka Modric reckons their good fortune is long overdue. They also trailed Croatia 1-0 in the semifinals before earning a 2-1 win.

'There are no favourites in this World Cup - every game is 50-50 and you have to fight it out.

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With the game going into extra time, the tension was higher expectedly.

Croatia were agonisingly close to scoring on the hour when Russia's defence failed to clear the ball and Ivan Perisic's shot hit the inside of the post but rebounded harmlessly across the face of the goal.

"Fiery dream continues! After another thriller Croatia in semi-finals!" said the Sportske Novosti paper's online edition.

England also required spot-kicks to get past Colombia before they made comfortable work of Sweden in the quarter-finals as Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored in a a 2-0 triumph. "I am playing on a great team with a great coach, a real coach, and with players who give themselves fully to the game". "We want to bring a medal home and see how it shines". Now we have to be here another week. That was the only year the Croatians advanced past the group stage before this tournament.

England wore all-white at the last World Cup when then faced Costa Rica.

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