Rakitic dreaming of going further than Croatia's heroes of 1998


The Kremlin dubbed the Russian national team heroes and proud Russian soccer fans saluted their team after the underdog host side lost on penalties to Croatia, bringing an end to its World Cup challenge at the quarter-finals.

The game at Fisht Stadium, Sochi starts at 9 p.m. local time, or 2 p.m. ET. Russian Federation beat Spain 4-3 and Croatia defeated Denmark 3-2 in the round of 16. Yet, the performance of Andrej Kramaric was also key in assuring Zlatko Dalic's side continued their journey at these world finals. "I am crying! We will party all night", said a fan before being mobbed by other fans on the main square in Zagreb. "I won't dare forecast too far ahead", said the coach.

The team was ranked 70th in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association before the World Cup started, making the host nation the lowest ranking side in the event.

Having endured a similar test against Denmark in the Round of 16, Vatreni have shown a level of resiliency to reach this stage of the competition.

Despite the result, street parties broke out in central Moscow in scenes reminiscent of the celebrations following Russia's shock victory over Spain on Sunday.

"We are ready, we are ready for the challenge", Gerrard said as Rangers prepare to host Shkupi in the Europa League qualifiers next week. "We showed how calm and self-confident we are".

More news: Terrorists groups hand over weapons to Syrian army

Much of the build-up to the quarter-final match has centred on the iconic 1998 team as the present meets the past. I will certainly remember it.

Cheryshev was Russia's leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals. Jordan Henderson wasn't able to shackle the Croatian captain in the Champions League final, but will have to shut him down if England are to advance to their first World Cup final in 52 years.

Gerrard, 38, made over 100 appearances for England, serving as Three Lions captain at times during his worldwide career and scoring 21 goals along the way.

"After previous year of course there will be more pressure and more eyes on us, but I'm confident come kick-off that they will be ready to go". "They are young and fast, so it will not be easy for us".

"Vladimir Putin talked to me on the phone during the day and he called me just now to congratulate us on a good game, but I told him I was disappointed".