MOSCOW: Croatia defeated England 2-1, securing the team’s spot in the World Cup final for the first time in history.
Croatia entered the final of the FIFA World Cup for the first time with a late goal from striker Mario Mandzukic helped them overcome a combative England to set-up a title-decider against France.
England, bidding to enter the final for the first time since their World Cup-winning campaign in 1966, couldn’t cope up with a stirring comeback from an experienced Croatian side which conceded just inside five minutes.
England expectedly fielded an unchanged line-up from the one which beat Colombia on penalties and defeated Sweden. England exerted early pressure as Luka Modric brought down Dele Alli on the edge of Croatia’s penalty area, resulting in a free-kick. Full-back Trippier bent home a 20-yard free-kick to the top right corner of Danijel Subasic’s goal.
Meanwhile, Croatia clawed their way back into the matchmaking their way to score one. They were playing well but lacked the final touch and confidence.
Somehow, Mandzukic was fast enough to react to Ivan Perišic's header and shot past Jordan Pickford that send Croatia into their first-ever World Cup final.
Following that, the game slowed down but fans remained unperturbed.
Within few minutes, the referee blew his whistle and England got into the break with a lead as Trippier's free-kick made clear path for their country.
Soon after the second half, Croatia was trying hard since long to score one soon while England were happy so sit back and defend.
To everyone's surprise, Perisic equalised the score with a wonderful header!
The game was nearing to end but neither of the team looked close to break the score.
Nearing half-time of extra-time, it seemed highly unlikely that England was though. When Mandzukic put Croatia in front and broke the spell.
Croatia will now lock horns with France in the World Cup final on July 15.
Image Credit: Hindustan Times