July 7 (UPI) — Russian midfielder Denis Cheryshev belted a long distance shot, earning a 1-0 lead against Croatia at the World Cup Saturday in Sochi, Russia.
The screamer came in the 31st minute at Fisht Stadium. The 2018 World Cup semifinal was tied 1-1 at halftime.
Russia and Croatia were playing a tight first half before the Golden Boot contender displayed his skills just outside of the box. Cheryshev dribbled through a crowd of defenders, before he played the ball up to Artem Dzyuba. The striker gathered the feed before sliding it back to Cheryshev about 30 yards from the goal. Cheryshev was surrounded by five Croatian defenders on the play, but it didn’t matter much.
He dribbled to his left, getting the ball on his left boot before bending an absolute missile into the near post netting. Danijel Subasic couldn’t do much about the shot. By the time the Croatian keeper turned his head, the ball was already in the back of the net.
Croatia tied the game at 1-1 in the 39th minute. Midfielder Andrej Kramaric finished off a brilliant chip from forward Mario Mandzukic on the play by heading a shot into the far post past Igor Akinfeev.
Cheryshev’s four goals are tied with Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Cristian Ronaldo for the second-most at the tournament. England’s Harry Kane leads all scorers with six goals in Russia.
The winner of Saturday’s skirmish battles England in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Moscow. Russia has never won the World Cup. The country’s best finish came when it was known as the Soviet Union. That year the Soviets finished in fourth place at the 1966 World Cup. Croatia finished in third place at the 1998 World Cup for its best finish in history. That was the only year the Croatians advanced past the group stage before this tournament.