Croatia reach World Cup final as England pain goes on

Brunilde Fioravanti
Luglio 12, 2018

The sound was eclipsed only by the joy that greeted Mario Mandzukic's extra-time victor and the impromptu fireworks celebration in the wake of the final whistle. He did not give in to the temptation to bring in Eric Dier and place himself alongside Henderson in a deeper, double pivot at the base of midfield to cope with Modric and Ivan Rakitic who have been the most accomplished pairing at this World Cup.

England head coach Gareth Southgate, centre, embraces England's Dele Alli at the end of the semifinal loss to Croatia.

But Ivan Perisic grabbed the equaliser in the 68th minute, getting an outstretched boot to Sime Vrsaljko's cross and guiding the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The Three Lions suffered an extra-time 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in Moscow, after a roller-coaster game which saw England take an early lead through Kieran Trippier, only for a second-half equaliser from Ivan Perisic to take the game to extra time and set up Mario Mandzukic's late victor.

After the match, England's fans stayed behind to praise their team.

He said: "All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying: 'OK, today we will see who will be exhausted.' They should be more humble and respect their opponents more".

"We've left everything out there, you can look at the goals and the chances, but I don't think over the six or seven weeks we've been together we could've given any more".

"We played a high press on their backline". It's been a fantastic journey. I'm sure there was stuff we could have done better, but we worked as hard as we could. "It was a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone thought we could, we've just got to learn from it". But we've fallen just a bit short. It hurts, I don't know what else to say, it hurts.

France reached the final for the third time in their history on Tuesday when a second-half header from Samuel Umtiti gave the 1998 champions a 1-0 victory against Belgium in Saint Petersburg.

Read all of Business Insider's World Cup coverage here.

England boss Gareth Southgate - on the day that was dubbed Waistcoat Wednesday in his honour back home - named an unchanged side to face Croatia, while Zlatko Dalić surprisingly made just one change from the side that beat Russian Federation on penalties in the quarter-final, bringing in midfield Marcelo Brozović for striker Andrej Kramarić.

"Just feel when will it ever be our time?"

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