February 18, 2019

Croatia in World Cup final for 1st time, beats England 2-1

12 July 2018, 02:51 | Devin Moran

Richard Buxton: Croatia coach Dalic could regret his comments

Fans react to England goal

They reached the last four stage for the last time in Italy back in 1990.

Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic scored the victor in the 109th minute, sweeping home a left-foot shot after England had allowed him too much space in the penalty box.

England had got off to a flying start when Trippier curled a superb free kick into the top corner in the opening minutes.

I'm sure there's more of this going on in Zagreb now that Croatia's victory has been confirmed.

Harry Kane's penalty against Colombia took England's tally to nine and goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli in Saturday's quarter-final win against Sweden saw them emulate Sir Alf Ramsey's famous squad.

'As we reflect, there will be positives but it's hard tonight. "There's a lot we could have done better".

England has shown that fielding a team young enough to forget the mistakes of the past can be incredibly useful in building confidence - especially when that team is led by a former player from those years of mediocrity.

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

The players meet again on Wednesday when Croatia and England clash and, with a place in the World Cup final at stake, there is no better time and chance for Lovren to finally redeem himself. With the French awaiting them in the final, and surely watching the match, the teams will want to put on a show.

Croatia's supporters celebrate the second goal as they watch on a giant screen the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semifinal football match between Croatia and England, at the main square in Zagreb on July 11, 2018.

Much of England's attacking prowess has depended on Sterling's sizzling pace, which has also helped them to pose considerable threat on the counter.

What is not in doubt is their quality.

Croatia nearly gave England a gift of a second when Subasic chipped a pass to Ivan Stranic, who took a nonchalant first touch straight to Sterling.

Croatia: Subasic 6, Vrsaljko 8, Vida 7, Lovren 8, Strinic 7, Rakitic 8, Modric 8, Rebic 7, Brozovic 7, Perisic 7, Mandzukic 8.

Reassured by positive reports from the tournament and inspired by the unexpected progress of their team, some England fans have raced to Russian Federation in recent days, with extra match tickets released by organisers Fifa and additional seats provided on Moscow-bound flights from Britain.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric also pulled the strings cleverly in midfield and when the disappointment fades for England they might take consolation from the fact they were beaten by a technically gifted side.

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

In the second half, Croatia came back into the game and equalised when Sime Vrsaljko whipped in a brilliant cross and Ivan Perisic got his foot above Kyle Walker's head to beat Jordan Pickford.

"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional effect of that", he said.

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