Croatia captain Luka Modric said his side showed character on Saturday to get through “another drama”, after edging to a second straight shootout win to knock out Russia and set up a World Cup semi-final with England.

Zlatko Dalic’s men thought they had won the game when centre-back Domagoj Vida put them in front in extra time, only for Russia’s Mario Fernandes to head home and snatch a thrilling 2-2 draw.

“Another drama for us,” said Real Madrid midfielder Modric. “We didn’t play well in the first half, we didn’t control the game as we wanted. “From the start of the second half we played much better, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish the game.”

Croatia had also needed spot-kicks to get past a dogged Denmark in the last-16, but Modric insisted they would not be fatigued for the last-four clash against England at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday. “We showed the character again,” he added. “We are in the semi-finals, we will enjoy the game. We have enough time to rest and prepare well.”

It is only the second time that Croatia have reached the World Cup semi-finals since becoming an independent nation, having finished third in 1998. When they face England, both sides will already know whether France or Belgium have reached the final.

Luck was against us, says Russia coach Cherchesov

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov lamented that luck had turned against the World Cup hosts after they lost on penalties to Croatia. Cherchesov’s team beat Spain in a shootout in the last 16 but fell short in Sochi after extra-time ended with the sides deadlocked at 2-2. They lost the shootout 4-3.

“Luck was against us,” Cherchesov said. “My guys feel like conscript soldiers whose term of service was over just when they were preparing to go into battle. They still want to fight that war.”

Cherchesov walked into the room still visibly dazed after the dramatic ending. He asked a reporter to repeat the first question, saying after a long pause: “I am still not myself.”

Russia were the lowest-ranked team in the tournament and expectations were not high. But Cherchesov said he knew “from the first second that I put this team together how far we could go. People not only started to believe in us, but the whole nation loves us now,” he said.