Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By

Croatia beats England to qualify for their first World Cup final

Croatia beats England to qualify for their first World Cup final

The challenge of stopping the best midfielder on the planet in a World Cup semi-final.

Kieran Trippier put the Three Lions ahead but goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic sealed Croatia's place in Sunday's final against France.

Croatia, in their first semi since 1998, levelled through Ivan Perisic after 68 minutes and then looked the more risky side.

Croatia's Ivan Perisic scores to make it 1-1.

England broke their record for goals at a single World Cup as Kieran Trippier opened the scoring in their semi-final defeat to Croatia.

England initially regrouped well in extra time with Marcus Rashford introducing some pace and Croatia were grateful for Vrsaljko's goalline clearance of a John Stones header.

England take on Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

Mandzukic helps out Zlatko Dalic-coached Croatia as their first defender and they will need his tireless running and his aerial positioning to beat an English team which relies a lot on set-pieces and attacking football.

England paid the price for those misses when Perisic showed great determination to get in front of Kyle Walker to meet a Sime Vrsaljko cross and though his boot was high and he threw an anxious glance at the referee, Walker was stooping and there were few complaints.


"That's right, I'm picking England to win another penalty shoot-out".

Against Denmark and Russian Federation in the earlier rounds, Croatia were also forced to go through the ordeal of penalties before advancing, but the fact remains that they will face France having played 90 minutes more than Didier Deschamps' team due to their accumulated extra-time workload. The ball bounced twice, Mandzukic ran onto it and one-timed a low, left-footed shot to Pickford's left.

Harry Kane shot weakly at Danijel Subasic when through, then forced the rebound against a post and Raheem Sterling was a constant thorn in the Croatia defence, though again his final ball was too often astray. You take it one game at a time. The France '98 semi-finalists will be looking to one of the players of the tournament, Luka Modric, to guide them one step further in Russian Federation.

England made it through the semi-finals with a penalty kick win over Colombia in the last 16 and a 2-0 win over Sweden last time out in the quarter-finals.

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.

They had won just one knockout match at a major tournament in 16 years before coming to Russian Federation, a 1-0 victory against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Trippier's free-kick was not only his maiden England goal but was his first goal of any kind since he scored for Tottenham against Watford on February 6, 2016 - 886 days ago.

Just three minutes had gone when England won a free-kick in a unsafe position nearly 25 yards from goal.

Croatia's legs at the start seemed to carry the weight of so many minutes in the knockout stage, and a pressing England went up quickly. This time, the Croatians have only recorded a few shots at Jordan Pickford's goal from outside the penalty area, majority off target.

Like this: