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‘Russia leaves the World Cup with pride and dignity’: Fans reflect on a strong showing by the hosts

Sunday - 08/07/2018 03:57

Dreams of a Russian World Cup victory are over after they were eliminated in a heartbreaking penalty shootout against Croatia in Sochi but football fans have been full of praise for the hosts, even in defeat.


 
© Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
© Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

It couldn’t have been much closer. In the end it was Ivan Rakitic’s penalty which brought a conclusion to a World Cup semi final which was already more than two hours old.

READ MORE: Croatia 2-2 (4-3 pens) Russia: Croatia through to semis with pulsating penalties win over hosts

The Barcelona man’s strike, rolled cooly in the bottom left corner of Igor Akinfeev’s goal, set up a World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England, the two quarter-final victors on Saturday.

For Russia, they will look back with extreme pride on their World Cup performance.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s team were the lowest ranked nation in advance of the tournament but their performances on the field suggested anything but and, thanks to the industry of star performers like Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev and the evergreen Sergey Ignasevich, the depart the tournament they hosted with the praise of football fans across the world.


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