World Cup: Croatia beat England 2-1 in extra time to reach first final
Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final — their first ever appearance in one — after beating England 2-1 in extra time in Moscow thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal.
England enjoyed a lot of possession in the early exchanges and stunned Croatia with a goal inside five minutes. A lovely touch from Jesse Lingard set up Dele Alli, who was fouled by Luka Modric just outside the box in a central position. Kieran Trippier stepped up and curled a glorious effort into the top corner to net his first international goal.
With England on the front foot, Raheem Sterling almost latched onto a pass from Jordan Henderson but Croatia goalkeeper DanijelSubasic raced out to claim the ball. The Manchester City winger’s pace was being targeted on the counter and SimeVrsaljko was lucky to intercept a long ball with nobody else near them.
England’s prowess from set pieces almost came to the fore again as Harry Macguire met a corner but headed just wide of the post.
Croatia regained their composure and began to put a string of passes together. Ivan Perisic’s long range shot whistled past the post after taking a deflection off the heel of Kyle Walker and Ante Rebic found some space but saw his effort brilliantly blocked by a diving John Stones.
Ivan Strinic’s error, after a poor clearance from Subasic, almost let in Sterling but he opted to pass to an offside Harry Kane rather than shoot and the assistant’s flag went up. Sterling then won a free kick from Lovren and Ashley Young swung in the cross, but Subasic did well to punch clear with a host of white shirts waiting behind him.
On 30 minutes, Kane missed a glorious chance. Some excellent interplay on the edge of the area saw Alli pass to Lingard before the United forward slid Kane in. The England captain’s shot was weak and Subasic made the save before Kane tried to slot the rebound home from a narrow angle but hit the post and the ball rebounded over the bar off the goalkeeper — though the assistant’s late flag suggested it would have been ruled out for offside anyway.