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Croatia progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after a second successive penalty shootout on Saturday but their inability to put away another unimpressive team over 90 minutes and extra time is a major worry for the Balkan side.

Croatia became only the second team to win successive penalty shootouts at the World Cup, following in the footsteps of Argentina in 1990, when they overcame Russian Federation 4-3 on Saturday to follow up their win over Denmark in the previous round.

Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored with headers in a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday, earning England a match against either Croatia or host nation Russian Federation for a place in the final.

Thousands of cheering and flag-waving Russian fans thanked their disappointed players on Sunday after the host nation's fairytale World Cup run came to a crushing end with a shootout loss to Croatia.

Croatia are viewed as favourites to reach the last four for only the second time since their independence, nearly 20 years to the day that their esteemed class of 1998 took on France - the home side back then, too - for a place in the final. First, his team needs to get past France on Tuesday to earn a spot in the final for the first time. I'm sure we will prepare well. He said what we showed on the field was great.

France's all-time leading scorer will finish off his World Cup gig with Belgium in the playoff for third place in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Croatia will now face England on Wednesday in Moscow and after two long and tiring games they will surely start as heavy-legged underdogs.

"We were undermanned in midfield", said Dalic. "The country believed in us and as a united whole we achieved good results, but we can't stop here and we need to keep striving for more".

"We have enough time to rest and prepare well", said Modric. "We are facing a huge game in the quarter-finals, it doesn't matter who the opponent is", coach Zlatko Dalic told reporters, adding he does not fear the partisan home crowd. Croatia reached the quarterfinals in its first tournament in 1996 and has advanced that far only once since. It will be a battle again but I believe in us. "We're immensely privileged to be in the World Cup final".

But this is a player whose reputation took a battering at home before the tournament due to his implication in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic.

"We're looking into it, we think it worked well", he said. We have everything needed to do that, a great team, great staff and I hope we will make the extra step, ' he said. Of course I have an important role on a daily basis, but the credit goes to my players.


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