"This was not a lovely game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final", added Dalic, who broke down in tears after Croatia confirmed a first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1998.
Labelling it the "crucial match of this generation", it noted that "Russia is a superpower for Croatia in everything except in football". Wrote one, "Putin is looking into Croatia's next elections and how he can help".
The never-say-die attitude Russian Federation displayed in its win over Spain manifested itself again with an equalizer in the second half of extra time, however. Russian Federation has so far played against only one extremely attacking team like Croatia and lost 3:0 to Uruguay.
"We should have finished the job before penalties but maybe it's written in the stars we have to go through the extra drama", said Luka Modric, whose penalty bounced off Akinfeev's hand and the post before entering the other side of the net.
But Rakitic jumped to the defence of his midfield co-star after the match.
"Holding the ball up, tirelessly stretching defenses into submission and making intelligent runs either onto throughballs or to open up space for Croatia's craftsmen are all caveats to Mandzukic's game".
Zlatko Dalic's men needed a penalty shootout victory of their own against Denmark in the last round after Luka Modric missed a spot kick in normal time.
Forbes even wrote 5 things to know before the encounter, giving Croatia the advantage.
"[Putin] watched, he was rooting for the team". Alongside them is Inter Milan's Ivan Perišić and upfront the warrior-like Mario Mandžukić.
Headers from Harry Maguire, from yet another set piece, and Dele Alli took England through to the semi but they had to wait to find out who they'd face. Croatia shouldn't be scared of either and will see this as a great chance to better 1998. They were the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, only there because they were the host country, and they won two of their three groups games, and then shocked everyone when they knocked Spain out of the competition to move on to the quarter finals.