Russian Federation players find solace in thousands of World Cup fans

Iliya Pitalev via RT

Iliya Pitalev via RT

"Of course there's power left for the English", Dalic said.

Their next stop is the Russian capital, but there is one snag: they don't have tickets for the game, when England will take on Croatia. Ivan Rakitic, so often a key man in midfield for Barcelona, was not almost as influential as at club level.

When Modric's grandfather, after whom Luka was named, was killed whilst tending his livestock, the family moved to nearby Zadar where they lived as refugees, the young Modric frequently risking his life by playing football with his friends in streets and parks often targeted by shells. "They achieved a historic result in France". They took photographs of themselves with the crowd and unfurled a banner saying "we play for you". "We have the strength and quality to do that".

The current group of Croatians has become exhausted of hearing about what happened in 1998.

SOCHI, Russia They've gone 120 minutes twice in a week.

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. The 1998 team finished second in its group, beat Romania in the round of 16 and knocked off Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinals.

Belief grew amongst the populace that their national team could achieve even more at the global showpiece, where their run was finally ended by Croatia on Saturday following another shootout.

"It was different football 20 year ago", Ante Rebic said.

Robert Prosinecki, a member of the 1998 squad, said: "I would so much like that they be better than us".

Southgate said it vindicated his decision to play a weakened team in the final group game against Belgium. The final minutes passed and, with both teams having reached this point after a shootout in the previous game, penalties were to be needed once more. Croatia has never made the Euro semifinals.

"Yesterday, there were tears", said defender Sergei Ignashevich.

A World Cup host city must have a hub for fans to meet and watch games on giant screens. "That's what we are here for".

Blazevic parted company with Croatia in 2000 before going on to manage the likes of Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Shanghai Shenhua, among many other teams.

Modric may be the favorite for the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament thus far.

Compact and resolute, Croatia - for all their keys - were unable to unlock Russian Federation.

"It was a dream to be in a similar situation one day. This shouldn't be a problem for us, and ultimately we should not be hoping to have any excuses".

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