24,000 fans thank Russian players for fantastic World Cup display

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"He watched. He was rooting for the team". "We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't control the game as we wanted". I like Russian people. Every match at this World Cup is like that.

And Maria Karlova, from Sevastopol in Russia-annexed Crimea, said it was a powerful "unreal" match.

"Russia hasn't shown anything like this before".

A number of other Croatia players were receiving massages and stretching of their legs before extra time and before the shootout. He said this support had been felt from the very first days of the tournament.

"We've got to this point because the collective has been so strong".

According to a video posted on Twitter by Russian football expert Artur Petrosyan, there were strong anti-Croatian chants into the night in the city of Moscow, something when he believes was fuelled by the video that Vida posted. Huge "thanks" to the guys for their performances, the emotions and the unforgettable memories. I feel joy, a feeling of peace because I am ending on a high note.

Yes, Croatia may have one of the best individual players in the tournament with what Luka Modric has done in matching the deepest run ever by the country.

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Brazil and Belgium go head-to-head on Friday evening with a place in the World Cup semi-finals up for grabs. Belgium won the first back in a 1963 friendly, while Brazil have won the following three meetings.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was jailed multiple times for staging anti-corruption protests and who was barred from running in the March presidential election, also hailed the team on Twitter. In 1998, we had it with Zvonimir Boban, a huge name, a huge person so you need to have these guys.

The decisive penalty once again fell to Rakitic, though, and he confidently rolled the ball into the bottom-left corner to keep Croatia's dreams of a first World Cup final alive.

Iva Majoli of Zagreb says "It was awesome, of course".

"Play my Croatia, when I see you my heart is on fire!", a popular song, was heard in squares and streets throughout the country.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who travelled to Russia on a chartered flight along with several Croatian football fans, was seated alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as the game progressed.

Croatia had also needed spot-kicks to get past a dogged Denmark in the last-16, but Modric insisted they would not be exhausted for the last-four clash against England at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

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