Croatia beats England to qualify for their first World Cup final

Arnold Nichols
July 13, 2018

Kieran Trippier had given England the lead by scoring from a free kick in the fifth minute.

"Until they scored [the equaliser] we were always under cosh", Kane said.

The much younger, faster and less worn out looking England side continued to cause Croatia problems going forward and also doubled their lead but a great Danijel Subasic save kept it at 1-0.

Suddenly the massed ranks of red-and-white-clad Croatia fans behind Pickford's goal started to believe and shortly afterwards Perisic hit the post but England somehow clung on to take the game into extra-time.

Devastated England fans after Croatia scored the winning goal.

"Of course it´s going to be a really hard task over the next 24 hours to get everyone mentally back to where we want them for a game like that".

It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and goal as England lost their shape and composure, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick. "So it's hats off to us but unluckily we couldn't bring it home for them but hopefully there's time in the future".

After the match, England captain Harry Kane said the defeat would "hurt for a long time", although he reiterated that England had exceeded expectations by making it to the semi-final.

"I'm still not entirely convinced by him and would suggest he is still an accident waiting to happen if the right buttons are pushed and enough pressure is applied". Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match and is the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems.

The majority of the players can play the next World Cup.

Croatia will face France in Sunday's final (4pm) as they look for their first taste of glory on the global stage.

GOALS: Trippier 5′, Perisic 68′, Mandzukic 109′.

Mandzukic's movement was also a constant challenge for England's back three and John Stones, in particular, did not look as composed as he has done in previous games.

'English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia and that was a huge mistake, ' Real Madrid's Modric told ITV.

Winger Ivan Perisic levelled scores on the 67th minute after a great cross from defender Sime Vrsaljko. They now have the chance to avenge that loss and become the ninth nation to win a World Cup final.

Croatia will play against France in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

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