They were the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, only there because they were the host country, and they won two of their three groups games, and then shocked everyone when they knocked Spain out of the competition to move on to the quarter finals.
Denis Cheryshev scored a brilliant opener in the first half but just eight minutes later former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramarić headed the Croatians level.
The quarterfinal at Sochi was tied 1-1 after regulation and 2-2 after extra time, forcing both Croatia and host Russian Federation to a shootout for the second consecutive game.
Croatia will next play England in the semifinals on Wednesday in Moscow. The score went up to 2-1 and stayed unaltered deep into the second half of the overtime period, when Croatia's defender Josip Pivaric was flashed a yellow card for tipping the ball with a hand.
Latest team news ahead of quarter-final today
It was his solitary goal against Switzerland that ensured Sweden enter the quarterfinal stage and set up a date with England. The former Manchester United and PSG striker Ibrahimovic is not expected to make an appearance in Saransk on Saturday.
Mario Fernandes's heroics were ultimately for naught, but at the time they lifted the World Cup host nation from the brink of elimination.
Croatia appeared to have the tie in the bag after Vida's extra-time goal until Fernandes rose to head in a free kick and send both teams to their second penalty shootout of the tournament.
"One of the most important tasks for our team is to contain Modric, because he is a leading player in the Croatian team".
Both goalkeepers made early saves in the shootout, with an injured Danijel Subasic stopping the opening shot from Fedor Smolov.