Friday, 19 October, 2018


Mandzukic sends Croatia to first World Cup final

Utterly choked’ England mourns another heartbreaking World Cup exit 99ye England's Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford look dejected after the matc
Hannah Rogers | 12 July, 2018, 17:02

Kieran Trippier's maiden global goal fired England ahead early in Moscow, but Ivan Perisic levelled in the second half before Mandzukic sent Croatia through to a showdown against France on Sunday.

It's the first time that Croatia - a nation of just 4 million people - have reached the final of the World Cup, and to say their players were elated was like saying Gareth Southgate kind of likes waistcoats.

"It is what it is, we'll try and play that game with as much pride and try and finish on a high, but we're still gonna be hurting of course in that game, in three or four days time we're still gonna be thinking about this one and what could have been, you know".

This is a tough team to beat, however, and France will have to overcome Croatia's technical ability as well as their remarkable resolve.

For England, who captured so many hearts with their run to the semifinals, there will be the same disappointment that has haunted them at big tournaments across the world for 52 years. and counting. Croatia had been desperately poor but started to get a foothold in the game as the match rolled past the hour mark and Luka Modric's influence grew.

Croatia's dream continues into Sunday's final against France.

Croatia's Domagoj Vida celebrates with a child after the World Cup Semi-Final match against England in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2018.

It all looked peachy for the Poms early, when right-back Kieran Trippier put in a sizzling free kick from close range - his first ever goal at worldwide level.

Croatia, who were beaten in extra-time by Portugal at Euro 2016, became just the second team to go to extra-time in three consecutive World Cup games.

Despite concerns over a tight hamstring, Jordan Henderson keeps his place in the heart of midfield, along with Alli, and tournament top scorer Harry Kane will be supported by Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard up front.

Indeed, after getting to the tournament's final four, after reversing a disgusting penalty shootout history, in its round-of-16 win over Colombia, there's a sense of optimism in England about this young, talented and appealing team.

Southgate claimed England "broke through barriers" during their World Cup campaign in Russian Federation.

Rakitic switched the ball from left flank to right, where Vrsaljko crossed.

Telesport's Juraj Vrdoljak compared Croatia's second-half comeback to an "adrenaline-driven man lifting a truck to save his child". In the 109th minute, Perisic struck again.

Vrsaljko cleared a John Stones header off the line midway through the first extra period.

The thigh injury sustained by Alli against Tunisia in England's opening game has lingered on and affected his fitness, but even before this tournament, he had flattered to deceive on the worldwide stage.

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