And of course for England, it's their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years after a superb showing from Gareth Southgate's troops over in Russian Federation. That was the only year the Croatians advanced past the group stage before this tournament.
The match began when Croatian fans started to re-enact their own version of Iceland's "Viking thunder-clap" - you know, the one where they all clap really slowly and chant in ideal unison.
"Thank you for the honest, genuine emotions you gave us thoughout the World Cup", they wrote.
Twenty years ago, in France, a Croatian team featuring Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and Zvonimir Boban made the last four of the competition only to be beaten by the hosts, and eventual winners, despite taking the lead.
"I regret that some media representatives have interpreted our communication in such a manner", he said. What aided Croatia further was that the Russian goalie became a bit unsighted when Vida headed the ball. "But we have a lot of good players on the bench who showed they can change the rhythm of the game".
Croatia players celebrate winning the penalty shootout.
But moments later, there was applause.
"We have proved we are a football nation".
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.
The headlines in Russian Federation read, "Moscow did not sleep after the match", "Thanks, guys", "Simply great", and "Fighting until the end". The fact that many stars in the contest play in the Premier League, and are very familiar with each other, will add spice to a match that does not need to be hyped.
"This was a good game, and a handsome one".
As the second half got underway Croatian striker Kramarić went for the overhead kick - it was no Ronaldo performance - especially seeing as it went straight to Russian keeper, Igor Akinfeev.
Croatia, with their dreamy midfield, are of course a very hard opponent and have been brilliant all tournament.
"We know we can do better". Even if they don't they may still do so.