World Cup 2018: Russia fans' heartbreak as hosts exit

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image sourceReuters
image captionA 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 sourceEPA
image captionThese fans watched the match at an open-air screening in St Petersburg
image sourceEPA
image captionTension was in the air as the match went to penalties
image sourceGetty Images
image captionThe final minutes were difficult viewing for Russia fans
image sourceAFP
image captionRussian midfielder Daler Kuzyaev looked on dejectedly after his team were knocked out
image sourceAFP
image captionHis 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 sourceAFP
image captionOf course Croatian fans, like these in the capital Zaghreb, were jubilant
image sourceAFP
image captionTheir team will now face England in the semi-finals on Wednesday

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