Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Croatia vs. England semi-final history

Croatia vs. England semi-final history

England have had a World Cup beyond their expectations, but they really could and should have gone even further.

Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute and Croatia shocked England, rallying for 2-1 victory Wednesday.

Ivan Perisic worked tirelessly throughout the 120 minutes, and his goal sparked a Croatian comeback.

And they almost took the lead four minutes later after sloppy England defending allowed Perisic to nip in before his shot hit the post.

After Kieran Trippier's fifth minute free-kick goal, it seemed England's fairy tale was bound to continue but yet another spirited fightback from Croatia, saw them rally to victory and bring the Three Lions' World Cup run to a screeching halt.

Defender Vrsaljko was also instrumental, clearing a shot off the line in the first half of extra time as well as setting up Perisic's equaliser. Croatia had been desperately poor but started to get a foothold in the game as the match rolled past the hour mark and Luka Modric's influence grew.

And yet, that's where England ultimately lost the game and missed their chance to make a first World Cup final since 1966.

England continued to look strong at the start of the second half and Kane almost got on the end of a terrific cross on the volley by Trippier.

In front of more than 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, Bobby Charlton put them ahead with a rebound shot from a clearance in the first half and added another after the break to go 2-0 up against Portugal, led by 1965 Ballon d'Or victor Eusebio.

Perisic leaped to meet Sime Vrsaljko's curling cross with his left foot and hit it past Jordan Pickford in the 68th minute.

As Keane built up steam, Wright interrupts to insist he never declared England were going to win the World Cup. In the injury time before the half, Mario Mandžukić should've had one, but Pickford managed to kick it clear and the teams headed into the second half of extra time neck-and-neck.

Perisic should have added another three minutes later when ragged defending presented him with a great shooting chance but he cannoned the ball against a post.

It's the third consecutive game the Croatians have taken a game to extra time. Croatia looked a little vulnerable in the second half against Denmark and then conceded a set-piece against Russian Federation. England won a penalty shootout against Colombia in the round of 16, but beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

Croatia is showing the world that their 1998 golden generation - a side that also went to the World Cup semifinal - was not an aberration and that the country can produce top-level soccer talent to compete with the world's best.

They had won just one knockout match at a major tournament in 16 years before coming to Russian Federation, a 1-0 victory against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Trippier scored with England's first shot of the game, curling the direct free kick over the wall and into the top-right of the goal.

England and West Germany were goalless at halftime at Turin's Stadio delle Alpi.

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