World Cup Chat: Fireworks expected in France v Belgium semi - so who wins? And what about England?

France are set to face off against Belgium in the first semi-final at the Football World Cup tomorrow in Russia with England looking to keep their dream run alive at the tournament when they take on Croatia on Thursday.

TVNZ football oracle Chris Chang breaks down the upcoming FIFA World Cup semi-final clashes with 1 NEWS' Victor Waters and Jack Mabire.

Chris Chang leads TVNZ's football buffs in breaking down the upcoming FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Source: 1 NEWS


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World Cup Chat: France, Belgium, England and Croatia book semi-final spots in Russia

After a thrilling weekend of World Cup quarter-final action, we have our final four in Russia.

TVNZ football oracle Chris Chang breaks down the weekend's action, and looks forward to the upcoming matches. 

Chris Chang leads TVNZ's football buffs in breaking down the results of the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals. Source: 1 NEWS


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Croatia beat Russia in thrilling penalty shootout to seal spot in World Cup semi-final

Welcome to 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of the 2018 Football World Cup from Russia.

9:00am

Right then, the quarter-finals are done and dusted. France will face Belgium, while England and Croatia will also battle it out for a spot in the final.

That'll be all from us today, we'll be back later in the week for continued coverage when the semi-finals begin.

8:50am: Penalties - Croatia win 4-3

Kuzyayaev steps up, and he scores.

Ivan Rakitic up for Croatia, if he scores - they win. He scores! Russia are gone as Croatia will face England in the semi-final!

8:49am: Penalties - Russia 2 (4) Croatia 3 (4)

Ignashevich next up for Russia. He scores.

Vida for Croatia, and he scores now. Russia have to score the next penalty or they're out.

8:48am: Penalties - Russia 1 (3) Croatia 2 (3)

Fernandes up for Russia, but he puts it wide!

Croatia can go ahead once again here, Modric steps up. Somehow it creeps in. Akinfeev gets a hand onto the post, but the ball squeezes in.

8:46am: Penalties - Russia 1 (2) Croatia 1 (2)

Dzagoev up next for Russia, and he scores!

Kovacic strides forward for Croatia, and Akinfeev saves this time! All square once again!

8:44am: Penalties - Russia 0 (1) Croatia 1 (1)

Make that Russia to take first. No side have won taking first in this World Cup so far...

Smolov is up first, up against Subasic - and the keeper saves! First blood to Croatia! 

Brozovic up first for Croatia, he'll face Akinfeev - and he buries it! Croatia lead!

8:41am: Penalties

Croatia have won the toss, it looks like they'll take the first kick, in front of their own fans.

8:39am: Penalties 

Each of these sides progressed to the quarter-finals from shootouts, now one of them has to lose to decide who goes into the semis. Croatia's keeper Subasic was the hero against Denmark, however he's battling what looks like a very painful hamstring injury this time around.

8:37am: End of extra time - Russia 2 Croatia 2

That's the end of extra time. We're going to the penalty spot to decide this one!

8:34am: 119 mins - Russia 2 Croatia 2

Neither side really sending anyone forward right now. Zobnin gets the ball from outside the area and shoots with power, but Subasic is right behind it to make the save.

8:30am: 115 mins - Russia 2 Croatia 2

GOAL!!! Pivarac handballs, Russia with a free kick right on the edge of the area. Dzagoev stands over it. Everyone forward for Russia, Dzagoev curls one in and Fernandes heads it home!

Sochi goes up once more and we're all square once again!

8:27am: 112 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 2

Russia win a corner, Dzagoev takes. Subasic punches as far as Kuzyaev, who belts in the volley - and Subasic hangs onto it! Heroic performance from the Croatian keeper.

8:25am: 110 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 2

Russia throwing everyone forward, Croatia camped back inside their own half. Gazinsky is booked for Russia to give away a free-kick. Subasic bombs it forwards.

Kovacic goes up and clashes with Kutepov as Croatia win another free kick. Modric swings it in but it's cleared to Rakitic who crosses into the box, but Akinfeev grabs it out of the air.

8:21am: 106 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 2

The second half of extra time begins. Can Russia get an equaliser? Can Croatia hold to reach the semi-finals?

8:18am: Halftime in extra time - Russia 1 Croatia 2

Free kick to Russia before the first break in extra time. Dzagoev takes and swings it into the box. Subasic takes but gets absolutely clattered. He's down injured again, but the whistle goes for halftime.

8:14am: 105 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 2

Free kick to Russia just inside the Croatian half. Dzagoev takes but Croatia send it out for a corner. Dzagoev takes again and Kovacic sends it out for another corner. Dzagoev with a corner from the other side now. 

Erokhin heads wide.

8:11am: 101 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 2

GOAL!!! Modric takes the corner for Croatia and they turn it goalwards! Vida the hero as the defender somehow squeezes past Akinfeev!

Croatia take the lead in extra-time, can they hold on?

8:08am: 99 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Modric surges forward for Croatia, but Russia bring him down and don't give away a foul? Just like in the first half, they look content with long balls and counter attacks so far in extra time.

For the record, Subasic has stayed on the pitch with his injury.

8:00am: 91 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

We're away in extra time, and straight away Russia have a corner, Golovin to take. The ball falls to no one though as Croatia get rid of the danger.

7:55am: End of normal time - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Croatia now desperate to keep the ball in the Russian area, leaving Subasic out of the firing line. Smolov runs down the right before shooting at Subasic, who palms the ball away.

Russia win a throw and go long, but Croatia intercept and look to go forward. Rakitic is bought down and Croatia go quickly. Vrsaljko crosses in but Russia clear and try to put Subasic in danger.

The whistle goes for the end of the second half. We're going to extra time.

7:50am: 90 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Well now. Subasic in Croatia's goal has gone down with what appears to be a hamstring tear. As of right now, Croatia can't make any more substitutions, meaning they'll have to play an outfielder in goal until we possibly go to extra time, where they're allowed one more change. There'll be five minutes of added time at the end of the second half. 

Subasic looks in a lot of pain, but he's going to tough it out for the remainder of regulation time.

7:47am: 88 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Modric whips in a Croatian corner, but Vida can't keep his header down. Goalscorer Kramaric is taken off, Kovacic comes on as a sub.

7:45am: 86 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Russia have a free kick wide on the left. Golovin swings his cross in but Croatia clear the ball and look to counter, until Modric is dispossessed in Russia's half.

7:36am: 77 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Croatia win a corner after some interplay between Mandzukic, Modrid and Vrsaljko sees the defender's shot blocked. Modric takes and finds the head of Mandzukic, but his header is over the bar again.

7:32am: 72 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Chance wasted for Russia. They work the ball into the box through Smolovm before he passes to Fernandes at right back. He crosses in for Yerokhin, but the header is over the bar.

7:27am: 68 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Cheryshev is taken off for Russia, bringing on an extra striker in Fyodor Smolov. They're going for the win it would seem.

7:19am: 61 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Croatia go close as Perisic hits the post! A scramble at the back fro Russia sees Kramaric find Perisic unmarked. The winger gets his shot away, but it clips the inside of the post and bounces clear.

7:09am: 51 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Chance for Croatia as Kudrysashov misses a cross, with the ball falling to Perisic. He looks to cut onto his right and shoot but can't get the ball out of his feet. Russia clear the ball.

7:04am: 46 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Russia get the second half started. Will we see another penalty shootout?

7:03am

Croatia are the first side out of the tunnel. Russia take a moment to regroup before they return to the field.

6:48am: HALFTIME - Russia 1 Croatia 1

Two minutes of time to be added on at the end of the first half. Croatia send a long ball down the right from a free kick. Russia look to start an attack, but Croatia play back to Subasic in goal. Modric finds Perisic who tries to go forwards, but the whistle goes to bring the first half to an end.

6:41am: 41 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 1

GOAL!!! Croatia do get their equaliser! Mandzukic is played down the left flank by Perisic, before he crosses back inside to Kramaric - who heads home from close range.

6:38am: 38 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 0

Croatia now desperate to equalise. Kramaric dribbles down the right, but Samedov wins the ball back. Russia look to counter, but Strinic snuffs out the danger by giving away a foul, he's booked too.

6:31am: 31 mins - Russia 1 Croatia 0

GOAL!!! Russia score and Sochi erupts! What a screamer from Denis Cheryshev! He plays a one-two with Dzyuba well outside the box, before hitting an absolute worldie that Subasic doesn't even move towards.

The ball crashes into the back of the net and the hosts take the lead against the run of play.

6:30am: 30 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Chance for Croatia! Vrsaljko crosses into the box for Perisic, but the header goes wide. Russia immediately look to counter from the goal kick, but Strinic gives away a foul on the right.

Free kick for Russia. Cheryshev takes, but curls straight to Subasic in goal.

6:25am: 25 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0 

Russia appear determined to sit back as deep as they can, looking to hit Croatia on the counter. The Croatians seem fine with that plan, with Modric and Rakitic taking control of the midfield battle early on. Still scoreless in Sochi.

6:17am: 17 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Free kick to Croatia right on the edge of the Russian area. Modric and Rakitic stand over it, before the captain is sent away. Rakitic to take, but the ball curls over the crossbar.

6:15am: 15 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Russia look to launch a counter attack through Dzyuba, he crosses in from Golovin who looks back infield for Samedov, but Lovren is there to snuff out the attack.

6:07am: 7 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Chance for Croatia now, Rebic muscles his way into the area and shoots, but Akinfeev sends it behind for a corner. Modric to take, he goes deep and Lovren meets it, the header falls to Rebic who sends it over the bar.

6:06am: 6 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Another chance for Russia! Dzyuba hammers a shot against Lovren and the ball goes out for a corner. Golovin takes but Croatia defend well.

6:02am: 2 mins - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Chance for Russia! Dzyuba is played through and is on his way towards goal, but Vrsaljko does well to get there and cut out any danger, the referee raises the flag for offside against Russia though.

6:00am: KICKOFF - Russia 0 Croatia 0

Croatia get the last quarter-final moving, but Russia win the ball and look to attack straight away.

5:58am

An epic rendition of the Russian national anthem bellows out around the Sochi Olympic Stadium. The hosts are really fired up for this one!

5:53am

Russia and Croatia emerge from the tunnel. Huge support for the hosts, they came into the tournament as the lowest ranked side. Can they reach the semi-finals? Not if Croatia have anything to say about it...

5:38am

Here are the two teams:

Russia (4-2-3-1): 1. Igor Akinfeev (gk & c), 2. Mario Fernandes, 3. Ilya Kutepov, 4. Sergei Ignashevich, 13. Fyodor Kudryashov, 7. Daler Kuzyaev, 11. Roman Zobnin, 19. Alexander Samedov, 17. Aleksandr Golovin, 6. Denis Cheryshev, 22. Artyom Dzyuba.

Croatia (4-2-3-1): 23. Danijel Subasic (gk), 2. Sime Vrsaljko, 6. Dejan Lovren, 21. Domagoj Vida, 3. Ivan Strinic, 10. Luka Modric (c), 7. Ivan Rakitic, 18. Ante Rebic, 9. Andrej Kramaric, 4. Ivan Perisic, 17. Mario Mandzukic.

5:30am

France, Belgium and England have all sealed their spots in the semi-finals of this year's World Cup, and now Croatia or hosts Russia will have their chance to do the same in Sochi.

Neither side would have expected a spot in the final four at the start of this year's tournament, although both have proven they deserve to be here, Russia defeating Spain on penalties, while Crotatia did the same to Denmark.

The winner of this clash will face off with England for a spot in the World Cup final, as the Three Lions booked their tickets to the semis with a 2-0 win over Sweden earlier today.

We'll have the confirmed starting XIs for you shortly.


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