Croatia Beats England In Extra Time To Qualify For First World Cup Final

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Croatia qualify for their first World Cup final after defeating England 2-1 in Luzhniki Stadium,Moscow in extra time to set up a meeting with France on Sunday.

Goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic were all the Croats needed to edge past the 1966 World Cup Champions.

While England were playing in their third FIFA World Cup semi-final, this was Croatia’s second.

The game had started so well for the Three Lions. Less than five minutes were on the clock when Kieran Trippier curled a delicious free-kick past the helpless Danijel Subasic.

Croatia struck back after the break. After continually increasing the pressure on the Three Lions, Sime Vrsaljko’s pinpoint cross was met by Ivan Perisic, who snuck in to level from close range.

Less than five minutes later, Perisic found himself in space in the English penalty area, but his effort struck the post, and the follow-up was gratefully held by Jordan Pickford.

The Inter Milan man’s effort off the woodwork was the closest either side came to taking the lead before the 90 minutes were up, meaning England faced a second period of extra time at Russia 2018 – with Croatia undertaking a third consecutive additional 30 minutes.

Vatreni did not need penalties this time though. Mandzukic ghosted in behind the English defence, who momentarily lost concentration, and the Juventus man hammered home a historic strike to send his country into their maiden World Cup Final.

THE STATS

England have now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four they have reached (Euro 1968 v Yugoslavia, World Cup 1990 v Germany, Euro 1996 v Germany and World Cup 2018 v Croatia).

Croatia have qualified for their first ever World Cup final in their fifth appearance at the World Cup finals.

England have lost three competitive games against Croatia (3) since the turn of the Millennium, more than any against any other nation.

Mario Mandzukic’s winning goal was the latest goal ever conceded by England in a World Cup match (108 minutes, three seconds).

Kieran Trippier became the first player to score a direct free-kick for England at the World Cup since David Beckham in 2006 (against Ecuador).

Ivan Perisic has been involved in 10 goals at major tournaments for Croatia (6 goals, 4 assists), the joint-most, level with Davor Suker (9 goals, 1 assist).

Trippier’s goal after 4 minutes and 44 seconds was the fastest goal scored in a World Cup semi-final since 1958 (Vava after two minutes for Brazil v France).

Croatia became the first team to play extra time in three consecutive World Cup matches since England in 1990.

England scored nine goals from set pieces at the 2018 World Cup – the most by a team in a single World Cup tournament since 1966.

Four of the five 2018 World Cup matches to go to extra time have involved either England or Croatia (the other was Spain v Russia).

 

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