Europe

World Cup 2018: Russia fans' heartbreak as hosts exit

Russian fan cries at the end of the team's quarter-final match against Croatia, 7 July 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A Russian fan cries at the end of the team's quarter-final match against Croatia

World Cup hosts Russia are now out of the tournament after losing on penalties to Croatia.

Russian fans' excitement as their team scored a last-minute goal to equalise turned to sadness and disbelief as Croatia went on to beat Russia 4-3 on penalties.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption These fans watched the match at an open-air screening in St Petersburg
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Tension was in the air as the match went to penalties
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The final minutes were difficult viewing for Russia fans
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Russian midfielder Daler Kuzyaev looked on dejectedly after his team were knocked out
Image copyright AFP
Image caption His sadness was shared by this lone Russia fan at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi

But the fans also celebrated how far their team - the lowest-ranking side to qualify for this year's World Cup - had come, with crowds dancing and chanting "Russia" in the streets.

President Vladimir Putin described the players as heroes and said that the country was proud of them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax new agency. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thanked the team on his Facebook account.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Of course Croatian fans, like these in the capital Zaghreb, were jubilant
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Their team will now face England in the semi-finals on Wednesday

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