Until the 88th minute, the script for this match read: Two evenly-matched teams battling for semi-final place. Croatia had come back from 1-0 down against Denmark in the round of 16, before advancing on penalties.
- Denis Cheryshev scored four goals for Russian Federation at the 2018 World Cup - only England striker Harry Kane has scored more (six).
How they got there Croatia after winning Group D with a 100 per cent record have had to grit their way through the knockout stages with penalty shoot-out wins over Denmark and hosts Russian Federation.
"We gave everything we could".
Croatia wore their away kit against Russian Federation on Saturday and in the last-16 stage against Denmark - a game they also won via penalties. From the first second I put together this team, I knew where it was heading.
Incredibly, this fairytale run comes 20 years on from their memorable first World Cup campaign, when Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and co. finished third at the 1998 tournament in France. They started the tournament with little hope and there were genuine fears that they could go out in the group stage.
What kind of recovery Croatia can muster over the next three days may ultimately determine if it has a chance of taking out England and reaching the World Cup final for the first time when the sides meet in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Moscow.
Russian Denis Vasilyev says "This was the best match I've seen in my entire life, but Croatia was a bit stronger". Sweden did the same against Romania in the 1994 quarter-final, where Kennet Andersson also equalised in the 115th minute, before going on to win on penalties.
President Vladimir Putin did not attend the game, but watched remotely, saying the players were heroes despite the defeat and the country was proud of them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by Interfax.
"That was a great success for Croatia as a nation, and we are on the right track to repeat that feat".
"Another drama for us", said Real Madrid midfielder Modric.
England boss Gareth Southgate added: "Hendo was feeling tightness in his hamstring, which was why we made the change". We all knew what was next.
Croatia will play England in the semi-final on Wednesday and some Russian officials are calling on Federation Internationale de Football Association to take the toughest measures possible against the Balkan country.