Monday, 23 July, 2018

A look at what's ahead in the World Cup

Luka Modric: 'England good at set pieces Croatia to face England in World Cup semis after beating Russia in penalties
Gerardo Duncan | 11 July, 2018, 07:36

"Seeing the people and how they move, trying to imagine how the traffic flow will be like in Qatar, we're re-considering where we put our Fan Fest". As you know by now, they didn't.

"They don't need any motivation for this now".

Sixty eight percent of Russians surveyed by pollster VTsIOM said they watched the match against Croatia, while data from MediaScope showed the game attracted similar viewing figures to President Vladimir Putin's New Year address, traditionally one of the mostly widely watched programmes on TV.

The Russians as hosts did not need to qualify for the World Cup and their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russia, even lower than global football minnows Saudi Arabia. With their backs against the wall, they never gave up.

"Luckily I've been playing alongside him for the past 10 years and each game since he got the armband he's leading us with a great deal of power, strength and self-confidence".

"Perhaps in the modern era that would be even crazier - social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger".

"They have a very serious national team".

After the final whistle he celebrated wildly, shouting and pumping his fist in front of the travelling support.

Real Madrid midfielder Modric said: "Maybe it is written in the stars that we had to go through the extra drama".

Luka Modric won the man of the match award for the third time in five games at this World Cup, with a superb array of passing from a deep role in midfield.

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

It was a theme he returned to post-match on Saturday.

Artem Dzyuba had a volley blocked by Dejan Lovren as Russian Federation looked to make an early mark on the game, and an Ante Rebic header and Rakitic free-kick looped over the bar at the other end.

"We wanted to go further but, regrettably, we could not do that".

Russians from all walks of life had been swept up by the progress of their national team, which reached the quarter final despite starting out as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.

Henry did everything he could to help Belgium bring down France, but ultimately the team with more goals than any in the tournament was unable to score in the semifinals.

Ex-Real Madrid forward Davor Suker, the current president of the country's football federation, was the golden boot victor in 1998 with six goals for a team that also featured AC Milan midfielder Zvonimir Boban, as well as defenders Igor Stimac and Slaven Bilic - both of whom played in England.

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