England cruises, Croatia wins on penalties once again

Russian company mines football-shaped diamond says it’s good omen ahead of Croatia game

Subasic made three saves in the round-of-16 shootout against Denmark, and stopped the first against Russian Federation for a total of four to match Harald Schumacher of West Germany and Sergio Goygochea of Argentina for the most in a single World Cup. "The teams who are hard-working, who are compact and united, these are the teams that are still here".

Another weekend at the 2018 World Cup brought another two days of top level football.

Federation Internationale de Football Association can issue fines or suspensions against players for political actions at the World Cup.

Thousands of fans have gathered in Moscow to welcome back the Russian team after its narrow loss in the World Cup quarterfinals. The favourites, the big teams are home.

France have the greater pedigree - winners in 1998 and finalists in 2006 - but Belgium are the team that seems to have come together at just the right time in Russian Federation.

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Kylian Mbappe and co will fancy having fun with Belgium's defence.

France, in turn, have to find a way to nullify De Bruyne and Hazard, but the Belgians possess more match-winners.

Belgium will put their flawless record on the line against the in-form and balanced France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Penalties were required and after Smolov's feeble Panenka attempt with the first effort was foiled by Subasic, parity was restored when Akinfeev got down to his left to keep out Mateo Kovacic's second attempt for Croatia.

The Barcelona midfielder scored the victor from the spot in the tense shoot-out against Denmark after goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties, and then kept his cool again last night to send Croatia into the semi-finals and set up a tasty encounter with England.

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But as in the previous match against Denmark - which Croatia also won on penalties after an insipid 1-1 draw - all too often his team mates failed to do anything with them.

They will now play England after the Three Lions won against Sweden earlier this afternoon. It's something England must overpower with pace, strength and width when the two nations meet at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Wednesday. The Red Devils struck three past Panama, five against Tunisia and one against England in Group H.

Luka Modric flagged up a weakness for Croatia without being asked.

Subasic in particular would be a massive blow as Croatia need all hands on deck to shut out Harry Kane, the leading scorer in the tournament. But it was keeper Thibaut Courtois that was the Man of the Match in the 2-1 win over Brazil, with eight saves.

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