Croatia president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic finds Russia a worthy opponent as the two countries face off in quarterfinals on Saturday.
"I would like to congratulate the Russian team, who also got through to the quarterfinal after a penalty shoot-out. I was watching the game from the Nizhny Novgorod fan zone. I think that our teams deserve to meet each other," Grabar-Kitarovic was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS on Monday.
"I’m proud of the Croatian team, it was a difficult game. The team was under great pressure, but we supported it, and everything turned out successful," the president concluded.
On Sunday, Russia advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Spain 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation time. Croatia, meanwhile, beat Denmark with 3-2 on penalties later in the day.