Croatia stun England in extra time to book first-ever final berth

Annette Crawford
July 12, 2018

The encounter in Moscow headed to extra time but Mario Mandzukic's 109th minute strike ended England's hopes of a first World Cup final since 1966.

There's no telling how long that suspicion will last.

At least, England looked like they were poised to get back to their first World Cup final in 50 years and give the players a chance to bring the trophy home to one of the most soccer-crazed countries on the planet.

Liverpool and Tottenham stars will face off for Croatia and England. But Ivan Perisic gave them an unlikely lifeline in the 68th minute and Zlatko Dalic's team dominated from there.

Private jets and charter planes were hired, the gloriously ornate corridors and giant escalators of this city's famous Metro system were suddenly filled with familiar songs and England's white shirts. And it nearly happened early in the extra session when John Stones rose to meet a corner kick, only for Vrsaljko to clear the goal-bound header off the line.

The team's unexpected advance through the competition has coincided with weeks of uninterrupted sunshine across the country - equally rare in rain-sodden England.

A $100 bet on England would net you a $200 profit if they were to win in regulation, but keep in mind that England just played an extra 30 minutes and has a day's less rest.


It continues with the development of this side, with the promotion of young players claiming major prizes for England's junior teams, and a push towards Euro 2020 and a possible semi-final and final at Wembley. Croatia deserved the victory.

- What's Croatia's problem with Luka Modric? For England, the end still felt premature. I don't think realistically any of us did.

Look, this England team will be around for a while.

"We salute you": It's pretty much a love letter from the Mail's sport section to Southgate and his team. These Lions have more technical ability and less ego than any English team in memory, and that includes the side that lost a semi on penalties to West Germany in 1990.

"Heroes" There's plenty of sympathy in defeat from The Mirror, which offsets the image of Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli crouched on the turf at the final whistle with the message, "We're proud of you all".

If they win, they head to the final against France. Since this is his last World Cup, given his age, I'm very glad he's among the last four at the World Cup, but all the other players are putting in that effort.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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