World Cup wrap, Day 24: England and Croatia set up semi-final clash

The Three Lions eased past Sweden to reach the last four, while hosts Russia was eliminated

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Story of the day

Host nation Russia is out of the World Cup after Croatia's penalty shoot-out victory in Sochi sent Zlatko Dalic's side through to the semi-finals.

Denis Cheryshev broke the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark, exchanging passes with Artem Dzyuba before bending home a fine finish from 25 yards. Croatia was back on level terms eight minutes later, though, Andrej Kramaric heading Mario Mandzukic's cross into the net.

Domagoj Vida's header in the first period of extra time put Croatia 2-1 up with 20 minutes left to play, but Mario Fernandes' header restored parity once more. This was the first quarter-final to be decided by spot-kicks, with misses from Fedor Smolov and Fernandes proving decisive.


Today in 30 seconds

England joins Croatia in the last four, the Three Lions reaching the semi-finals for the first time since the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored headers either side of half-time to get the better of Sweden, which had done tremendously well to reach this stage of the competition.

Saturday's two victors will now face off at the Luzhniki Stadium - the venue which will also host the final - in what looks set to be an entertaining encounter on Wednesday. 

Play of the day

Cheryshev has been one of Russia's brightest players this tournament and the winger again showed his quality with a brilliant opening goal against Croatia.

Collecting the ball from a knockdown, Cheryshev played a one-two with Dzyuba, took a touch and then curled a fantastic strike into the top corner to give the hosts the lead. It wasn't enough for it to progress, but the Villarreal man won't forget that moment in a hurry.

Man of the moment

Four days after his save denied Carlos Bacca in the penalty shoot-out with Colombia and earned England its place in the quarter-finals, Jordan Pickford was again instrumental in Gareth Southgate's side's 2-0 success against Sweden.

Pickford, whose position as No.1 goalkeeper was up for debate before the start of the tournament, made a number of excellent stops to help England register its first clean sheet in Russia.

The wacky and weird

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Former England captain David Beckham will be especially happy that his nation emerged victorious over Sweden, with LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubly wounded after he lost a bet between the pair.

Beckham would have had to buy his former PSG team-mate anything he wanted from Ikea if the Swedes had run out winners, but Ibrahimovic will now be forced to wear an England shirt for a Three Lions match at Wembley, before eating fish and chips - a traditional British dish - at half-time.

What's next?

Two days off (what will we do with ourselves?!), before the first semi-final on Tuesday.

2 p.m. ET France vs. Belgium, FS1

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