The dream is over for Russia at the football World Cup, the host nation beaten on penalties by Croatia in a dramatic quarterfinal.

Croatia looked set to advance as they held a 2-1 lead in the second period of extra-time on Sunday (NZ time), before Russia equalised with little more than five minutes to play.

But it was the visitors who held their nerve in the shootout, prevailing 4-3 to secure a semifinal against England.

Russia took a shock lead on the half-hour through a brilliant long-range strike from Denis Cheryshev but Croatia needed just eight minutes to draw level again, Andrej Kramaric heading in crisply from close range.

The scores remained unchanged at 1-1 after regulation time and it was Croatia who eventually broke the deadlock, Domagoj Vida heading in a corner in the first period of extra-time.

On the brink of exit, Russia sensationally equalised deep into the second period of extra-time when Mario Fernandes headed in a well-taken free-kick.

It was Croatia, though, who proved more clinical when it came time for penalties, Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic cooly slotting in the winning spot-kick to send his side through.


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