World Cup fairy tale ends for Russian Federation, the sleeping giant

England fans show their support against Sweden at Samara Arena

England fans show their support against Sweden at Samara Arena

Russia's remarkable World Cup run ended in a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat on penalties as Croatia bounced back from a late extra-time equaliser to set up a last-four meeting with England.

Their quarter-final exit on penalties to Croatia, among the most skilled teams here, on Saturday was further proof that Russian Federation never meant to just playing along.

After returning from their Friday quarterfinals in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, respectively, France and Belgium worked out at their Moscow-area training bases Sunday before heading to St. Petersburg for their Tuesday night semifinal. The winners of those games will meet on July 15 to see who will be the 2018 World Cup champion - what will we do when it is all over?

Dalic admired the way England handled their business in the 2-0 success over the Swedes. It will be a battle again but I trust us, I have belief in us'.

He was reluctant to identify a favourite for the tie, though, highlighting how many of those fancied to win the competition before it began such as Brazil, Germany and Spain have already been ousted.

"Of course we wanted to go further", he admitted.

'They breezed past Sweden, they scored twice, they were better, ' Dalic added of England. Meticulous preparation - including a trip to the United States to take in an National Basketball Association game - the selection of specific players with strong dead-ball delivery, and the defensive nature of high-pressure tournament soccer has led to a point where set pieces could yet lead England to a second World Cup title. 'They have a young, alive, attacking team. The big teams are home. Martinez hopes to succeed where they failed by employing a two-year process to ensure "this is a team, this is not a group of individuals".

LiAngelo Ball joining JBA League this week
How LiAngelo's affiliation with the Ballers will help turn LaVar's vision into reality is unclear at this point. If you're not playing hard, you get sent home", LaMelo said.

After playing consecutive matches that stretched till shoot-outs, Croatia must recover quickly before facing England in the last-four stage.

Prior to the round of 16 games in the 2018 tournament, teams going first in a World Cup penalty shootout had won 60 per cent of matches.

Davor Suker, president of the Croatian Football Federation and a key part of the Croatia team that reached the 1998 semi-finals, played down suggestions the team were too dependent on Modric but insisted the player can easily handle the weight of responsibility.

Roberto Martinez is determined to end a streak of one kind for World Cup coaches.

"No other team in the world has fans like we do".

"At certain times we lacked power but we played two times 120 minutes of football in six days", Modric said.

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