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Russian striker Smolov says happy to be part of national team at 2018 FIFA World Cup

July 08, 3:28 UTC+3 SOCHI

Smolov was the first on the penalty line for the national team, but his shot was saved by Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic

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Russia's Fyodor Smolov reacts after losing the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match against Croatia at Fisht Stadium. Croatia won the game on penalties 4-3.

Russia's Fyodor Smolov reacts after losing the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match against Croatia at Fisht Stadium. Croatia won the game on penalties 4-3.

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

SOCHI, July 8. /TASS/. Russian national football team’s striker Fyodor Smolov said he was proud to be playing for the national squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup adding that he was bearing full responsibility for failing to execute his opening penalty shot against Croatia.

The Croatian national football team entered the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup knocking out hosts Russia in the quarterfinals match on Saturday night in Sochi with the 4-3 penalty shootout win following 2-2 draw in the regular and 30-minute overtime period.

Smolov was the first on the penalty line for the national team, but his shot was saved by Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

"I want to thank all of the people in my country as I was sincerely happy to be a part of this team," the 28-year-old forward told journalists after the match.

"Unfortunately, this mishap was with me and I bear the full responsibility," Smolov said commenting on the penalty shot, which he failed to execute.

"I would like to thank a lot all of the boys (in the team) and the coaching staff, as I will never forget how impressive this championship was," he said.

Earlier on July 7, Team England also cleared the quarterfinal round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 win over Sweden at the stadium in Samara. England is now set to meet Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11.

After a pair of the quarterfinal matches played on July 6, team France enjoyed a confident defeat of 2-0 over Uruguay in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, while Belgium went for 2-1 win over the legendary Brazilian team in the city of Kazan.

Russia is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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