Croatia beats England to qualify for their first World Cup final

Brunilde Fioravanti
Luglio 12, 2018

The 1-1 score held as the match went into extra time.

It also meant that England, for all their controlling play and short passes in midfield, had the option of whipping the ball into the corners for Sterling to chase after.

England, who were hoping to reach their first World Cup final since their golden year of 1966, will play Belgium in Saturday's third-place match.

After going 1-0 down to England in the last four after just five minutes, it seemed their remarkable run would be ended.

It was his first goal for his country, England's 12th of the tournament and ninth from a set-piece, but they should have added more from open play as they revelled in the space they were being given in the first half.

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

"There's a lot we could have done better".

"We've got to keep getting over those hurdles and I know we talked about the success of the younger teams but this is a much harder, much bigger level for the players and the belief is building as things are happening".

Croatia were always considered dark horses for the World Cup, and they lived up to that tag by reaching the final in Russian Federation.

"We were good. We controlled the game, but there's always tension with us, we always concede this early goal and have shocks", Vrsaljko said.

"It hurts. I don't know what else to say".

In the 1998 semi-final, two Lilian Thuram goals won the match for France and that was the furthest the Vatreni had gone in the World Cup.

However, they have taken a gruelling route to the final and the French will be warm favourites.

England have been knocked out of the World Cup after Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandžukić's goals denied the opener from Kerian Trippier.

What is not in doubt is their quality. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems.

Liverpool legend John Aldridge slated Dejan Lovren ahead of Croatia's World Cup semifinal victory over England.

As well as scoring, Perisic also hit the post for the second straight game and set up Mandzukic's victor, heading a poor clearance toward the Juventus striker to score.

Brutal. Why Rakitic and the rest of the Croatian team were so annoyed by England fans' social media activity before the game is anyone's guess.

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on July 11, 2018.

"I can´t ask for more from the players". The Croatians and their fans will all be back on Sunday for the final, their first ever.

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