Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time goal sent Croatia into Sunday’s final as Zlatko Dalic’s men came from behind to beat England in Moscow.
Croatia are through to the first World Cup final, and their first major tournament final, after beating England in extra-time in Moscow on Wednesday night.
England were first out of the blocks when Dele Alli was fouled by Luka Modric. Kieran Trippier whipped the free-kick over the wall and into the back of the net before Croatia could get out of neutral.
There were five minutes gone and Croatia were fighting up uphill battle after two games that had gone to penalties before the clash against England.
They stuck to their gameplan and when everyone was calling for changes, Zlatko Dalic didn’t flinch. Inexplicably, England backed off and let Croatia grow into the game.
For the entire second half, Croatia were running through England and knocking on the door. They eventually got the breakthrough when Vrsaljko crossed to Perisic and he poked home to level matter.
The game ebbed and flowed from that point and always seemed destined for extra-time. When we did get an extra 30 minutes, it was Mario Mandzukic, who ended things in the second half when he pounced on a loose ball and stroked beyond Jordan Pickford.
England had no choice but to throw caution to the wind but it was too little too late. Croatia shut up shop and were not going to let their chance to play in a World Cup final.
England have impressed massively in their approach this World Cup but ultimately fall short with the youngest side in the tournament. There will be bright days ahead for Southgate’s crew but it’s Croatia who move on now to the decider on Sunday against France.