Russia's Cherchesov: "We'll do even better at Qatar 2022!"

Iliya Pitalev via RT

SOCHI, Russia They've gone 120 minutes twice in a week. The Croats won in a 4-3 penalty shootout. Starting right back Sime Vrsaljko had to be replaced during extra time with an apparent leg injury, though fellow defender Dejan Lovren was optimistic Sunday that Vrsaljko would be able to play with the semifinal looming on Wednesday.

The defender is not ready for his World Cup dream to be over as he targets a first England final since 1966.

Despite their last two matches going the distance, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic insists his team will have plenty in the tank for the battle with England.

"We came to support our team as we do not think they lost", said Kristina Ladygina, waiting at the Federation Internationale de Football Association "fan fest" zone for the players to appear.

CROATIA is going nuts about their team's appearance in the World Cup semi-finals - but one group of fans had particular reason to celebrate during their penalty shootout win over Russian Federation.

The playmaker, who won a third successive Champions League title with Real Madrid before coming to Russian Federation, brushed off suggestions that his performance might put him in the running for the Ballon d'Or prize as the world's best player. But Croatia is also exhausted.

In contrast for Russian Federation, who had taken the lead through another Denis Cheryshev wonder goal in the first half, there is only heartbreak as they finally go out. At some point, that wave could crash. "Of course this will leave a mark on you".

"When you look at it like that, obviously it's great, but more importantly it was about the team", he said.

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"It came bursting out of me".

"We were undermanned in midfield", said Dalic. Those emotions just burst out of me.

"The reason I cried was it was the best six weeks I've ever had in my life".

Both goalkeepers made early saves in the shoot-out, with an injured Danijel Subasic stopping the opening shot from Fyodor Smolov.

A number of other Croatia players were receiving massages and stretching of their legs before extra time and before the shootout. If you beat Spain, then you deserve your place among the eight best teams in the World Cup.

The coach of the 1998 side, Jaroslav Ciro Blazevic, said for a long time he did not want any other team to match his players' achievements. "It will be hard", defender Dejan Lovren said.

"We have one more step to go in Croatia and we'll treat it as "one game at a time". We saw how good they are from dead balls so we will have to focus more on defending set pieces".

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