Croatia advance to World Cup semifinals, beat host Russia 4-3 in penalty shootout

Croatia beat Russia 4-3 on penalties on Saturday to set up a World Cup semifinal against England after a dramatic match full of twists and turns.
The game finished 2-2 after extra-time following a late equaliser by Russia’s Mario Fernandes.
Denis Cheryshev struck a stunning opener from a distance to give the hosts the lead in the 31st minute but Croatia equalised through Andrej Kramaric just eight minutes later.
Croatia’s Domagoj Vida broke the deadlock in extra-time, getting his head to the ball from a corner to score in the 101st minute but Fernandes headed home from a free-kick just five minutes before the end in Sochi. Domagoj Vida gave injury-riddled Croatia a 2-1 lead in extra time with a header off a corner kick in the World Cup quarterfinal against Russia.
Vida came unmarked in the middle of the penalty area and his header managed to bounce through traffic and roll into the net to give the Croatians the advantage in the 101st minute.
Russia equalised in the 115th minute when Mario Fernandes headed in a free kick from just outside the area after a handball was called against Croatia’s Josip Pivaric. Alan Dzagoev chipped the free kick towards goal and Fernandes was unmarked.
Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, already hobbled with a leg injury, could do nothing but watch it hit the net.
It’s the second straight match for both teams that went to a penalty shootout. Russia beat Spain 4-3 and Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties in the round of 16.
Injuries have become a concern for Croatia. Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic went into extra time with an apparent right leg injury he picked up in the 89thminute. And defender Sime Vrsaljko has been replaced in extra time after going down away from the action and pointing at his left knee. He was replaced by Vedran Corluka, the team’s fourth substitution, meaning Croatia can’t sub Subasic if the match goes to penalties.