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England's World Cup Final Hopes Ended, Croatia To Face France

2018 FIFA World Cup, semi-finals

Result: Croatia 2-1 England

Date: 11 July 2018

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium

Croatia advanced to their first-ever World Cup final after they defeated England 2-1 in extra-time on Wednesday evening.

Gareth Southgate named un-changed Three Lions side from the one that defeated Sweden in the quarter-finals, while Sime Vrsaljko passed a late fitness test for Croatia after picking up a knock in their last-eight win over host nation Russia.

England got off to the perfect start this week when Trippier curled home a superb free-kick from the edge of the box to hand his side the lead after just five minutes.

The Croatians struggled to get their attacking game going, with the trio of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Perisic failing to make an impact early on.

The lead should have been doubled on 30 minutes when Harry Kane was played through on goal, but the tournament's top scorer was denied by Danijel Subasic.

Southgate's men enjoyed most of the possession for the remainder of the half, although they were unable to carve another clear opening, despite the threat of Raheem Sterling.

Croatia started to find their rhythm going forward after the hour mark, with England starting to show cracks while defending.

The pressure eventually paid off for the Croatians in the 68th minute as Ivan Perisic nipped in ahead of Kyle Walker to flick home from just six yards out, leaving Jordan Pickford no chance.

Perisic almost sent Croatia ahead three minutes later as he slalomed his way into the box but his left-footed strike crashed against the upright, while Rebic scuffed the rebound straight to a grateful Pickford.

The match was swinging from end to end in the final 10 minutes as both sides went looking to snatch the winner in regulation time.

With neither side able to find another breakthrough before full-time, the clash was forced into extra-time, for a third successive game for Croatia.

John Stones nearly gave the English the lead eight minutes into extra time with a header inside the box but his effort was cleared off the line by Sime Vrsaljiko.

Pickford then kept England in the match on the stroke of half-time in extra-time with a crucial save to deny Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic from point-blank range.

However, Pickford could do nothing to keep out Mandzukicclose-range strike 11 minutes before time, which ultimately handed Croatia the win.

The result means Croatia book their first-ever in a World Cup final, where they will face France on Sunday (17h00 kick-off, while England face Belgium for bronze on Saturday (16h00).


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