By 90Min
July 07, 2018

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic believes Croatia's destiny is in their hands as they bid to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1998.

The Croats will play Russia in the last of the quarter-finals with a hostile reception awaiting Rakitic and co, with the hosts having been the surprise package of the tournament so far having defeated Spain on penalties in the last 16.

DIMITAR DILKOFF/GettyImages

Speaking ahead of the game, Rakitic insisted his side aren’t taking Russia lightly, despite their tag as overwhelming favourites.

"The most important thing is that we have reached the quarterfinals and we have to think about ourselves,” Rakitic said (via HNS-CFF)

“It will be a special feeling to play against the host, as it was against Brazil four years ago. in the attack but in defending and throwing the ball to each other, then it's easier.

“We know all the Russian players; we are informed about all the details. They are a serious representation and they deserve to be where they are, but now it's up to us to be where we want.”

The Barcelona playmaker also talked up the vital roles his compatriots Mario Mandzukic and Luka Modric play for the national team, citing their importance to their mental fortitude.

"Mario Mandzukic is a very important player for Croatia, especially because of his approach - he is the first to go to the attack and defend, at any moment we can rely on him, he is always ready and gives himself a try.

GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

"Our captain Luka Modric deserves to follow him, he has incredible strength and confidence. Our support against Denmark only proves how brave we are together."

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