Croatia 2 England 1 (aet): Mandzukic strike units up World Cup closing with France

 

Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time strike accomplished a battling turnaround as Croatia beat England 2-1 in Moscow to achieve the World Cup closing for the primary time of their historical past.

England made an electrical begin with Kieran Trippier’s early purpose and for a big interval of the sport regarded good worth to e book their passage to the ultimate for the primary time since 1966, however Croatia one way or the other battled by means of their obvious jadedness and tamed the Three Lions, Mandzukic touchdown the decisive blow.

Gareth Southgate persistently downplayed the euphoria in his staff within the build-up, and for some time England gave each indication they have been going to take cost of their very own future, as Trippier discovered the web with a pleasant free-kick within the fifth minute.

However Croatia rallied and gave England’s again three extra of an examination upon the beginning of the second interval, finally restoring parity – Ivan Perisic offering a intelligent end within the 68th minute.

England managed to hold on to power an additional 30 minutes and initially regarded the extra threatening of the 2 groups as soon as once more within the further interval.

However Croatia stored their focus and Mandzukic struck left-footed within the 109th minute, ending England’s desires for one more 4 years and establishing a closing with France on Sunday, as Zlatko Dalic’s males transfer one other step nearer to a primary World Cup title.

England’s begin was emphatic, as they swiftly put Croatia on the again foot by means of a driving Dele Alli run, which Luka Modric needed to cease on the sting of the realm by fouling the Tottenham star.

And from the ensuing free-kick, Alli’s Spurs team-mate Trippier sumptuously discovered the top-right nook.

Croatia did their confidence little good within the 22nd minute when Danijel Subasic’s poor kick went straight to Raheem Sterling, who discovered Harry Kane, however he in the end shot large after straying offside.

There was promise for England once more quickly afterwards, although Kane struck the publish from shut vary and was adjudged – seemingly incorrectly – to be offside following Alli’s incisive move.

Though they noticed extra of the ball, Dalic’s aspect initially struggled to supply a major enchancment after half-time and England had a penalty shout turned down simply after the hour – Domagoj Vida getting a slight contact on the ball earlier than sending Sterling tumbling.

Lastly issues got here collectively for Croatia on the different finish quickly after, as Perisic met Sime Vrsaljko’s deep cross with a flying left-footed end.

They usually almost went forward with their subsequent assault – Perisic slamming towards the right-hand publish earlier than Ante Rebic put the rebound into Jordan Pickford’s palms.

A late Croatia onslaught was unable to finish the turnaround and England stepped issues up once more in extra-time, nearly retaking the lead when John Stones had a header cleared off the road by Vrsaljko within the 98th minute.

Pickford was equally heroic on the different finish, denying Mandzukic at point-blank vary after the striker met Perisic’s cross.

However Mandzukic got here out on prime quickly after the break, latching on to Perisic’s headed move and sending a left-footed effort throughout Pickford to seek out the bottom-right nook, securing Croatia a return to the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday for the ultimate.

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