World Cup 2018: Quarterfinal Scores, Results, Highlights and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

England's Harry Maguire, right, celebrates with England's Jesse Lingard after scoring his side's first goal during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader )
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

The second semifinal at the 2018 World Cup is officially set, as England and Croatia won their quarterfinal matches Saturday in Russia.

England was the first side to punch its ticket to the semis Saturday, as it outclassed Sweden in a one-sided match that was never in doubt.

Croatia had a far more difficult time, but it was able to advance on penalty kicks for the second consecutive match and eliminated host Russia in the process.

With England and Croatia now joining France and Belgium in the semifinals, here is a closer look at how Saturday's quarterfinal matches played out at the 2018 World Cup.


Saturday Scores

England 2, Sweden 0

Croatia 2, Russia 2 (4-3 penalties)


England 2, Sweden 0

For the first time since 1990, England is through to a World Cup semifinal by virtue of Saturday's 2-0 win over Sweden.

The battle-tested Swedes were in search of another upset after winning arguably the toughest group in the tournament, but they were unable to generate a consistent attack throughout the match.

England jumped ahead in the 30th minute when defender Harry Maguire headed home a corner from Ashley Young for a 1-0 lead:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Set pieces, set pieces, set pieces... Harry Maguire heads home the opening goal of the match to put England up 1-0! https://t.co/uGph264mnY

Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen had no chance to stop the perfectly placed header, and the Three Lions were off to the races from there.

England netted a much-needed insurance marker in the 59th minute when Jesse Lingard lifted a dangerous ball into the box, and midfielder Dele Alli buried a header into the back of the net:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Dele Alli gets in on the scoring (and the dancing) 🙌 https://t.co/VR4aMpNjVU

Sweden had only 43 percent of the possession in the match, and although it had three shots on goal, Jordan Pickford turned away all of them.

Pickford was selected as the Man of the Match, and he discussed the importance of the save he made in the 47th minute to preserve England's 1-0 lead at the time:

FIFA World Cup 🏆 @FIFAWorldCup

🗣 | A fine performance from @JPickford1 earns the @England goalkeeper the @Budweiser #ManoftheMatch for #SWEENG! Here's his post-match interview https://t.co/PTxJdwFyOH

The argument can be made that England hasn't faced an especially tough road to reach the semifinals, as it beat Panama and Tunisia in the group stage while losing 1-0 to Belgium.

England then needed penalty kicks to knock out a Colombian side that wasn't in its best form before eliminating Sweden on Saturday.

The Three Lions can only face the teams placed in front of them, however, and BBC's Tom English gave England credit for taking care of business:

Tom English @BBCTomEnglish

Well done, England. Cool heads and a fully deserved win. Not their fault that Sweden never really turned up. Doesn’t matter a damn. They’re in the semi-final. Heady days for them. Headachey days for others.

Now, for just the third time in their history and the first time in 28 years, England will play in a World Cup semifinal.

Prior to 1990, England's only other trip to the World Cup semis came in 1966 when it went all the way and won its first and only World Cup.

The winner of the other semi between France and Belgium is considered the favorite to win the World Cup, but England has arguably its best chance to re-establish itself as the top team in the world since 1966.


Croatia 2, Russia 2 (4-3 PK)

Few matches at the 2018 World Cup had as much drama or back-and-forth action than Saturday's quarterfinal between Croatia and Russia.

The match fittingly went to penalty kicks after both sides needed penalties in order to reach the quarters.

After Croatia missed just one penalty as opposed to Russia's two, midfielder Ivan Rakitic had a chance to be the hero, and he delivered:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

HE DOES IT AGAIN! For the second game in a row, Rakitic wins the penalty shootout for Croatia. https://t.co/H3aH1Em3DP

Just like Rakitic had done in the previous round against Denmark, he delivered a confident and crisp penalty that kept Croatia's World Cup hopes alive.

While Croatia was the favored side, the fact that it was able to beat the host nation in front of a large Russian contingent was no small feat.

Author Jon Acuff put the accomplishment further into perspective:

Jon Acuff @JonAcuff

Croatia, a country with 4 million people, just beat Russia, a country with 144 million people. The World Cup is amazing.

Russia didn't come away with the win, but it arguably produced the biggest highlight of the tournament in the first half.

Denis Cheryshev opened the scoring for Russia in the 31st minute with an absolute cracker from well outside the box that Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic had no chance to stop:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MY GOODNESS, Denis Cheryshev 😱 https://t.co/GC70eDB7cv

Russia didn't get to celebrate the lead for long, though, because Croatia managed to strike right back just eight minutes later.

The Croatians went from end to end with just a few passes, and Andrej Kramaric tied the score off a perfect feed from Mario Mandzukic:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Kramaric equalizes for Croatia! https://t.co/ANkbNb8haH

Following a few missed opportunities, Croatia had to settle for a chance to win the match in extra time.

It initially looked as though penalties wouldn't be necessary since defender Domagoj Vida scored on a header off a corner from Luka Modric in the 101st minute to make it 2-1:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Croatia take the lead in extra time! Can Russia make a comeback? https://t.co/VMOk4HlEsu

The never-say-die attitude Russia displayed in its win over Spain manifested itself again with an equalizer in the second half of extra time, however.

Russia took advantage of a handball just outside the box, resulting in Mario Fernandes heading home an Alan Dzagoev free kick:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

RUSSIA EQUALIZE! https://t.co/OdHGvfLyBZ

The Russians had all the momentum on their side at that point, plus Subasic was nursing a sore hamstring suffered near the end of regular time.

That seemed to give Russia the edge entering penalty kicks, but the Croatians proved once again that they know how to deliver in high-pressure situations.

The pressure will be even greater Wednesday when they meet England with a World Cup final berth on the line.

While England hasn't reached the final since 1966, Croatia has never gotten there, and it may finally have the well-rounded team capable of reaching that level.