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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.

Stones - who has started all five of England's games at Russian Federation 2018, scoring twice - is well aware that the opportunity to contest a World Cup final may never come around again and is relishing the chance to make it happen.

Such has been Luka Modric's influence on this Croatia side that Ivan Rakitic felt compelled to tell his teammates they needed to step into the breach.

That Croatia side hammered Germany 3-0 to reach the semis in France, and Dalic is looking for a similar result on Saturday.

Previously underrated, even written off before the tournament, they slid past a much-fancied Spain on penalties on Sunday to extend an already implausible jaunt through the competition.

I am playing in the quarter-finals. That's not how Croatia play.

England has four wins, two losses and a draw in games against Croatia dating back to 1996. "But it will be more hard for us there without you, so, please go there", he said.

"Of course there's power left for the English", Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said. "We want to play our best game". Artem Dzyuba in this match to be different did not, but was one of the most active players.

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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.

Croatia has never advanced to the championship match. Fernandinho's own goal and Kevin De Bruyne got their names on the board in the 13th and 31st minutes, respectivelywhile Renato Augusto of Brazil scored at 76 minutes. How have they been this good after years of being essentially rubbish?

England now stand in the way of Croatia and a place in the final. Croatia defeated hosts Russian Federation.

"I was concentrated throughout the match but after Rakitic's penalty, it came bursting out of me".

The front page of The Moscow Times didn't mince its words on the eve of the World Cup finals.

It made Alli (22) the second youngest England scorer in a World Cup game, after Michael Owen. Many die-hard fans predict that Belgium is going to win while some others argue that France is going to notch the win.

After once again starring as Real won a fourth Champions League crown in five seasons by beating Liverpool in Kiev in May, Modric will be nearly assured of winning the Ballon d'Or if he can lead Croatia all the way to improbable World Cup glory.


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