Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time strike completed an impressive turnaround as Croatia beat England 2-1 in Moscow to reach the World Cup final for the first time in their history.
England made an electric start with Kieran Trippier’s early goal and for a large period of the game looked good value to book their passage to the final for the first time since 1966, but Croatia somehow battled through their apparent jadedness to tame the Three Lions, Mandzukic landing the decisive blow.
— David Botwick-Ries (@dbotwickries) July 11, 2018
Gareth Southgate consistently downplayed the euphoria in his team in the build-up, and for a while England gave every indication they were going to take charge of their own destiny, as Trippier found the net with a delightful free-kick in the fifth minute.
— InterYaSkriniar (@InterYaSkriniar) July 11, 2018
But Croatia rallied and gave England’s back three more of an examination upon the start of the second period, eventually restoring parity – Ivan Perisic providing a clever finish in the 68th minute.
England managed to hang on to force an extra 30 minutes and initially looked the more threatening of the two teams once again in the first additional period.
— 𝓓𝓮𝓼𝓹𝓸𝓲𝓷𝓪 (@KlNGNEUER) July 11, 2018
But Croatia kept their focus and Mandzukic struck in the 109th minute, ending England’s dreams for another four years and setting up a final with France, as Zlatko Dalic’s men move another step closer to a first World Cup title.