Russian Federation receive rapturous welcome at FIFA Fan Fest

Yekaterina Shtukina  Russian government press service  TASS

Yekaterina Shtukina Russian government press service TASS

Russian Federation has been basking in the spotlight this World Cup, playing to the roaring crowds at home and winning games.

While Russia also started well in Saturday's energy-sapping quarter-final duel against Croatia, they ran out of steam and ended bowing out against the Luka Modric-led side.

"This makes us extremely proud that after 20 years we've reached the semis of the World Cup", the 32-year-old Modric added. Just before midnight local time, Ivan Rakitic's winning penalty ignited yet another celebration that was a mix of excitement and relief. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said the team had played with all the heart and soul. "My mum and sister watched every one of their World Cup games at my place, passionately supporting them, and they have never watched football in their lives!"

Vida was quoted by the Russian newspaper Sport Express as saying that the video was meant to be a personal message.

They were excellent against two poor sides in their first two games before their true level was seemingly exposed by a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay.

Federation Internationale de Football Association are investigating Croatia defender Domagoj Vida after he appeared to make anti-Russian comments following his country's quarter-final win over the World Cup hosts.

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"I left everything on the field and unfortunately we were unlucky", Russian Federation midfielder Roman Zobnin said afterwards.

Subasic didn't need to win the shootout the same way he did against Denmark, when his three saves were the reason the Croatian team advanced. "We were together. You were the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th player", he said and promised that the team would demonstrate better results at the next World Cup in Qatar, although it would be hard without such support. "They are still great guys for us, they are heroes", said Peskov.

In the stadium, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was caught celebrating the national team's win with a little dance next to Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russian fans were not happy with the development, and took to the streets with anti-Croatia chants of their own.

"We know we can do better".

After returning from their Friday quarterfinals in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, respectively, France and Belgium will work out at their Moscow-area training bases Sunday before heading to St. Petersburg to take each other on Tuesday night for a ticket to the final.

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