Croatia defeat England to advance to World cup finals
Jul 12, 2018-
Croatia are going to their first World Cup final as they defeat England 2-1 in the semi-final match in Russia on on Wednesday.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute, slotting in from Ivan Perisic's flick-on into the area.
Perisic's volley sent the match into extra time after Kieran Trippier had given England a fifth-minute lead with a sublime free-kick.
Croatia will face France on Sunday in the World Cup final. About 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored, defender Sime Vrsaljko headed a shot on target off the goal line to keep the score tied.
Kieran Trippier had given England the lead by scoring from a free kick in the fifth minute. But Ivan Perisic equalized in the 68th after getting his foot to the ball before England defender Kyle Walker could head it away.
Unfancied before the competition, Gareth Southgate's young side defied expectations by reaching the semi-finals, but were undone by an experienced Croatia side.
England, playing in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, got the perfect start through Trippier's brilliant free-kick and Croatia were finding it extremely difficult to deal with England's high-tempo game.
England had been trying to reach its first World Cup final since winning its only title in 1966.
Harry Kane could have doubled the lead but was denied by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and Jesse Lingard placed a shot wide from a good position.
Croatia grew into the game in the second half and equalised through Perisic, and the Inter Milan winger hit the post with a low drive shortly after.
In extra time John Stones saw a header cleared off the line, while Pickford made a brilliant save from Mandzukic's close range effort - but the Everton man could do nothing about the winner.
England will now play Belgium in Saturday's third/fourth place play-off in St Petersburg.
Published: 12-07-2018 03:00