It was part marathon, part demolition derby, but Croatia found a way to outlast Russia in the World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday. The match seesawed through both regulation and extra time, but Croatia held its nerve during the penalty shootout. It will play England in the semifinal on Wednesday, assuming FIFA officials don’t have an abrupt change of heart during their stay in Russia. (Perhaps someone should check the Hermitage in case it mysteriously loses any paintings before next week.)
Russia will be disappointed that it couldn’t win its second-straight knockout game on penalties, but it was a minor miracle the country even got to the quarterfinals in the first place. The hosts failed to win seven straight matches leading up to the World Cup and was the lowest-ranked team in the entire tournament. Nonetheless, it played with incredible spirit in its wins against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Spain. The players’ energy during that last match in particular was so impressive, it might even raise a few eyebrows. (Because it was so inspiring.)
Russia wasn’t all grit and graft, however, and it managed to play with adventure and some real skill during this run. Striker Denis Cheryshev scored a World Cup’s worth of incredible goals on his own, and the opener against Croatia might have been his best.
#MundialTelemundo ¡Que siga la ilusión! @Cheryshev anota un verdadero golazo y pone a soñar a toda #RUS . Así lo narra