World Cup: England Beats Sweden, Croatia Takes Russia to Advance to Semifinals

England and Croatia are headed to the World Cup semifinals after Saturday victories.

Cheers went up around the home of lawn tennis as news filtered through to Wimbledon that Dele Alli had given England a 2-0 lead over Sweden in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Ushers letting fans in and out of Court 18 momentarily vacated their gates for a triumphant embrace, as England's "it's coming home" chant echoed — politely — around the grounds.

The World Cup wasn't screened for spectators at the All England Club while the Grand Slam tennis tournament was in progress, but updates were spread by fans watching or listening to the match on their cell phones.

There were no such issues for the tennis players. Liam Broady tweeted from the Wimbledon Players' Lounge to show that the soccer had taken priority on the screens in there.

Among the Centre Court spectators who didn't leave to watch the soccer was English soccer legend Bobby Charlton. A guest in the Royal Box, the 1966 World Cup winner resisted the temptation to vacate his seat.

England won 2-0 to return to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990, and another win there will put the English into the final for the first time since winning the title in '66.

Although Russia made it further at this year's World Cup than most anyone expected, it was Croatia that advanced to the semifinals with a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday following a 2-2 draw.

The overachieving hosts, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at No. 70, were trying to make it to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the Soviet Union finished fourth at the 1966 tournament in England.

"I left everything on the field and unfortunately we were unlucky," Russia midfielder Roman Zobnin said. "We gave everything we could."

The Croats hadn't advanced this far at the World Cup since 1998, when the country made its first appearance.

Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow. The English team defeated Sweden 2-0.

With the crowd silenced following an extra-time goal from Croatia defender Domagoj Vida in the 101st minute, Russia defender Mario Fernandes scored to send the match to yet another penalty shootout.

Fernandes, who was born in Brazil but rejected a chance to play for that country's national team, sent his penalty kick wide of the net in the shootout, giving Croatia the advantage.

Both goalkeepers made early saves in the shootout, with an injured Danijel Subasic stopping the opening shot from Fedor Smolov. Igor Akinfeev later blocked an attempt from Mateo Kovacic.

At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot — only the second player to miss in any of the four shootouts at this year's World Cup.

The teams then traded two scores each before Ivan Rakitic calmly scored the winning penalty.

Denis Cheryshev gave Russia the lead with a shot into the upper corner in the 31st minute. Croatia equalized with Andrej Kramaric's header near halftime.

It was the second straight time both teams played in a shootout. Russia beat Spain 4-3 and Croatia defeated Denmark 3-2 in the round of 16.

Argentina in 1990 had been the last team to win consecutive World Cup shootouts. It defeated Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals and Italy in the semifinals that year, which also made Italy the last host nation to lose on penalties before Saturday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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