Croatia 2-1 England (AET) : Cool Croatia stun England in extra time to book first-ever final berth
News Croatia 2-1 England (AET) : Cool Croatia stun England in extra time to book first-ever final berth 11 Jul, 2018 20:37 Get short URL © Darren Staples / Reuters Croatia sensationally cemented their first-ever World Cup final with a dramatic 2-1 extra time win over a gallant England side at Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital on Wednesday.
A match that became a long battle between two teams displaying warrior spirit began with a Kieran Trippier free-kick within the first five minutes. That goal was cancelled out by a second half Ivan Perisic equalizer to ensure the sides were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
In the end a goal from striker Mario Mandzukic in the second half of extra time provided the agonizing difference that booked Croatia a first-ever World Cup final place, in which they will meet a formidable-looking ‘Les Bleus’ at the same stadium on Sunday.
© Damir Sagolj / Reuters Given the weight of the game, which would bring a first ever final for Croatia and a first final in over 50 years for England should they win, there would be some expected early nerves for either side in the Russian capital.
England, however, who have been praised for their youthful side showing little to no fear during the biggest football showpiece on earth, showed no such early worries and attacked from the off.
After just a few minutes, Jesse Lingard showed immense flair in pirouetting over the ball before passing to Dele Alli, who was bundled over by Croatia captain Luka Modric around 20 yards out. Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir had no doubts in ordering a free-kick.
Up stepped a Kieran Trippier, so confident and steady he had been in all England’s games up until that point. That sureness never wavered and the 27-year-old curled beautifully into the top right-hand corner to leave Danijel Subasic, whom many have singled out as the best goalkeeper in the tournament so far, no chance although the Croatian stopper was at full stretch.
The goal was England’s 12th at the World Cup – more than by any other England side at a major tournament. First blood to the Three Lions.
The set piece goal may have come as a shock to most, as it did not involve the head of Harry Maguire or John Stones, and nor was it a penalty. But minutes later and Maguire, England’s center back of the moment, got his head to two corners in quick succession, first from Ashley Young from the left and then Tipper from the right to restore some normality.
Dejan Lovren showed frustration when he brought down Kane near the center circle. Moments later a weak Subasic clearance dropped to Raheem Sterling who played through captain Harry Kane, but he was well offside. The flag went up but the England skipper dragged his effort wide anyway.
Croatia did have their moments, and at the other end that innocuous wizard Luka Modric tried a run down the right flank, but his ball in cannoned out to Ante Rebic, whose powerful left-foot strike was gathered easily by Jordan Pickford.
England, however, would not be contained and Dele Alli laid the ball off to Jesse Lingard, whose placed right-footed shot went well wide. The Croatians did find their groove in parts in the first half, but they were few and far between. A poor Pickford clearance was forwarded to Rakitic, who showed glorious balance and poise to bring the ball under control, but Kyle Walker stood strong to nick the ball from the Barcelona man.
Moments later Walker was on hand to head away a free-kick, but the ball found its way to skipper Modric. Cue midfielder Jordan Henderson to step in and ease the Real Madrid playmaker off the ball. Although Croatia had a touch more of the ball in the first half with 52 percent of possession, it seemed England had contained their opponent’s two most influential players going into the break.
After the restart and the song ‘England’s going to win’ could be heard continuously from England’s traveling band. Forward Mario Mandzukic was the first to receive a yellow card, then Kyle Walker was booked for a mini fracas with Rebic shortly after he cleared when Croatia broke through four against four, the danger eventually petered out.
© Carl Recine / Reuters England continued to attack down the flanks; Trippier volleyed across the box to Kane for him to dive in, but the ball was cleared. In defense, when England broke down Croatia attacks, they were quick to cleverly play the ball forward giving them time to regroup and take pressure off the defense, Jordan Henderson doing well in the center of the park to keep control of possession.
One England player unusually the target of criticism often is Raheem Sterling. The forward went down in the Croatia area but arose to try and poke the ball across goal, but no penalty was appealed for or given.
Modric broke down the right but his ball into the area was cleared only as far as Ivan Perisic who shot from around 14 yards. Pickford was quick to dive but the ball was blocked, and then cleared out. Panic for England averted.
The old football cliche ‘getting a goal from nothing’ reared its head. A ball in from the right flank by Sime Vrsaljko had Kyle Walker stooping to head to safety, but an onrushing Ivan Perisic arrived at the back to poke the ball home with a high left boot to net his second in six World Cup games and with it make it all square again.
After the goal, England began with much more urgency and formulated clever attacks from the back. A combination of passes from Henderson and then Sterling set Lingard free but the through ball was over-hit and Subasic collected.
Croatia on the other hand sensed blood. Perisic made space for the shot form wide on the left-hand side of the area which agonizingly hit the far post and the rebound found its way into Pickford’s hands. Moments later and Alli and Young’s attempts to play the ball out lost possession, a Croatian corner was cleared but found its way to Rakitic, who powered well over.
England did have their chances, Raheem Sterling pushed forward but his low ball whipped in across the box flashed across the goal. At the back, their normally formidable defensive line showed signs of tiredness which led to Pickford being exposed more than he would have liked, but the England keeper still remained confident.
A Kieran Trippier free-kick from just in the final third on the right flank was headed down and into the ground by Harry Kane, but was well wide. That was the last action of the 90, and extra time beckoned for the second time for England and the third successive time for Croatia at the tournament.
The match destined to be a survival of the fittest, which precipitated changes. One of those was substitute Danny Rose, who brilliantly created space to lay off to fellow sub Eric Dier to shoot but his effort went well over. From the resulting corner, John Stones’ header was agonizingly cleared off the line by Vrsaljko.
Rashford then cynically brought down the full back on the right flank to give Croatia a free-kick in a dangerous area, although the attack was dealt with despite some danger. England still looked comfortable at the back and still willing to bring the ball forward.
At end of first half of extra time Perisic was set free on the left, his ball in found Kramaric but his shot was cleared. Then English hearts were in mouths when Mandzukic was set free in the area, but his touch goalwards deflected off Pickford at full stretch, although the ensuing and unavoidable collision forced the striker to stay down for treatment.
© Darren Staples / Reuters The striker recovered in time to latch onto a flick-on header from Perisic in the second half of extra time, which was guided straight into his path as the defense seemed to be caught ball-watching. The Juventus man snuck behind the backline and made no mistake in tucking the ball away past Pickford to make the score 2-1 Croatia with 109 minutes played.
England did continue to push forward, but their frustration boiled over in extra time added time when Dele Alli had a coming together with Rakitic. Marcus Rashford’s free-kick provided the last glimmer of hope for England, but when the ball was cleared the referee’s whistle soon followed and the fate of both sides was sealed.
Croatia, who have not won one of their three knockout matches in normal time, for the third time came from behind to win and book their place in the final of the tournament. For England, football is not coming home, but their fearless young side made sure a part of it was briefly returned to their nation.
News ‘We restored some pride in the shirt’: England captain Kane after devastating World Cup semi loss 12 Jul, 2018 01:11 Get short URL Grigory Dukor / Reuters England captain Harry Kane says he believes his side “restored pride in the shirt” after the team’s gallant march to the World Cup semi-final, which ended in a 2-1 defeat to Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
A Mario Mandzukic goal in the 109th minute sealed an extra time victory for Croatia after an early Kieran Trippier free kick was canceled out in the second half by Ivan Perisic during normal time.
“We gave it everything, I know we’re gonna look back and say we could have done this and what but at the end of the day it was small margins in a big game and it didn’t go our way today,” said striker Kane, currently the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.
Kane had lead England to their first World Cup semi-final since the Italia ’90 tournament 28 years ago, and in doing so scored a record amount of goals. Trippier’s set piece on five minutes was England’s 12th at Russia 2018, more than any other Three Lions side.
England will now play Belgium on July 10th in the third place playoff match, a game that could see Kane extend his personal goal tally, but is not the game he would have initially wanted to have played in.
“It’s not something I’m really thinking about at the moment to be honest, it’s not the game we wanted to be in,” Kane admitted.
View image on Twitter Harry Kane ✔ @HKane It hurts a lot. It will hurt for a while. We can be proud and we’ll be back. Thanks for all your support. # ThreeLions # ENG # WorldCup 12:47 AM – Jul 12, 2018 106K 20.2K people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy “It is what it is, we’ll try and play that game with as much pride and try and finish on a high, but we’re still gonna be hurting of course in that game, in three or four days time we’re still gonna be thinking about this one and what could have been, you know.
READ MORE: Croatia 2-1 England (AET): Cool Croatia stun England in extra time to book first-ever final berth
“Yeah of course [I want to play]. I think everyone will want to play but the gaffer will make a decision but yeah we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved and we know we’ve restored some pride in the shirt back home as well.
“So we can hold our heads up high but of course we know it’s an opportunity that on another day we could have done even more,” he added.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane paid tribute to Croatia, led by Real Madrid’s Luka Madrid in the center midfield, and conceded that the “small margins” that make such a big difference didn’t go his side’s way on the night.
View image on Twitter England ✔ @England To everyone who supported us.
To everyone who believed this time was different.
To everyone who wasn’t afraid to dream.
To everyone who knows this is only the beginning.
Thank you. We hope we made you proud. # threelions 11:59 PM – Jul 11, 2018 225K 81.8K people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy “We had a good spell we went one nil up and we had a couple of chances we’re we could have got another. Second half, fair play to Croatia they came out and put the pressure on and we were under the cosh for a little while,” the 24-year-old skipper said.
“But we handled it well, but unfortunately we conceded at the wrong time, after that I thought we again picked it up again and done well.
“But it’s small margins, in extra time we get a corner cleared off the line. These are the things that you need to go your way in the big games and unfortunately for us it didn’t.”
In Gareth Southgate, England have a manager who has brought new vigor to the national team setup, and who has managed to transform a side who crashed out to minnows Iceland at Euro 2016 into World Cup semifinalists.
Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters Kane revealed the plan is to “build on foundations” set in place by the 47-year-old manager, who is still a rookie on the international stage.
“The gaffer had a little word and said we should all be proud of ourselves. Nothing he is going to say is going to make us feel any better,” Kane said.
“To be proud and hold our head up high we’ve come a long way, especially from two years ago. You can hear the fans singing out there after the defeat it’s a proud feeling you know and all we can do is try and build on it.”
“We’ve built a good foundation after the last couple of years with the manager and it’s important that we carry that on, we’ve shown that we can do well in these tournaments and the aim now is not to wait another 20-odd years to get in another big semi-final, to come again and try and achieve our dream.”
News England defender Rose to fly family to Russia for World Cup after racism fears allayed Get short URL © Maksim Konstantinov / Global Look Press England defender Danny Rose will fly members of his family to Moscow to watch the team’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia, reversing previous advice the player had given for them not to visit Russia due to racism fears.
Ahead of the tournament, Rose had told family members not to travel to Russia over concerns they would suffer racist abuse, a decision which he later said had upset his father, Nigel Rose.
Rose previously suffered racist abuse while playing for England U-21s in Serbia six years ago, and had reportedly been concerned that he and family members would face similar treatment in Russia.
However, those fears have not materialized as the World Cup has been free of the mass violence and racism predicted by many in the UK press.
The England defender had indicated during the early stages of the tournament that he would be willing to reverse the decision, and according to the Times , Nigel Rose and other members of the family will now fly out to Moscow to watch the Three Lions’ World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.
Rose, 28, has seen limited game time in Russia, with Ashley Young being preferred in the left wingback role.
The Tottenham defender did however start England’s last group game against Belgium, and could feature from the bench against Croatia, as he did against Colombia in the last 16 match.
News ‘Football’s coming home? You have to focus!’ Pundits go head-to-head in hilarious debate (VIDEO) 11 Jul, 2018 23:40 Get short URL Roy Keane (L), Ian Wright (R). © Steven Paston / Michael Regan / Reuters Football pundits and former international players Roy Keane and Ian Wright went head-to-head in an amusing live on-air debate, after England’s exit to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.
Two fiery players during their own playing days as prominent figures of arch rivals Manchester United (Keane) and Arsenal (Wright) in the 1990s, the duo seem to have carried on their rivalry into the TV studio in what social media users have dubbed “one of the TV moments of the year”.
Ever the stony-faced pragmatist, the Irishman and former United captain Keane accused ex-England striker Wright of getting caught losing focus on the immediate games of the World Cup.
“The whole yesterday and today they were talking about the final the final the final,” Keane began. “And I know Ian made the point a few weeks ago a little bit tongue in cheek. But you have to focus on just one game.”
England had been gripped by World Cup fever following the team’s march to the semi-final stage, with popular English terrace chant ‘Football’s coming home’ making a revival among fans.
Keane continued: “Everyone’s talking about the final and football’s coming home,” before Wright interjected with his own verbal volley.
“We weren’t talking about the final. We were just having a laugh with you,” Wright said in his famous London accent. “The things is we were just trying to like…we were happy and you weren’t happy for us being happy at that time.”
Wright then launched into his own impression of Keane saying “final” after being egged on by Gary Neville, who was seated between the two, but Keane was adamant Wright was getting carried away with talk of parades and final day celebrations.
As the two continued bickering, Keane again accused Wright of not appreciating the importance of the competition, to which Wright simply retorted “FINAL!” in his mock Keane accent, to make sure he had, literally, the last word.
News Croatia becomes smallest nation to reach World Cup final since 1950 11 Jul, 2018 22:35 Get short URL © Christian Charisius / Global Look Press The World Cup in Russia has thrown up some stunning twists, turns and shocks, so it’s perhaps fitting that its final game will feature the smallest nation to appear in the last stage of the tournament since 1950.
Croatia, with a population of just 4.17 million, booked their place in the July 15 final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium by beating England at the same venue 2-1 after extra time on Wednesday night.
The Croatians become the smallest nation to contest the World Cup final since Uruguay, who won the tournament in 1950 when the nation had a population of around 2.4 million.
On that occasion, the Uruguayans defeated a heavily-fancied Brazil team 2-1 at the Maracana in the final second-stage group game, which effectively served as the tournament’s final.
It was the plucky South Americans’ second World Cup title, with the first coming on home soil in the inaugural edition in 1930.
Over the years, other relatively small nations to have punched above their weight by reaching the final include Sweden, Hungary and the Netherlands – all of whom fell at the final hurdle.
Croatia will be hoping to avoid that fate when they take on France in Moscow on Sunday.
They booked their place in the final by seeing off England 2-1 after extra time, making light of the fact that the Three Lions hail from a land with a population of around 53 million.
The Croatians overcame an even bigger demographic difference in the quarter-final, beating Russia – a nation of around 145 million – on penalties.
The Croatians went into Russia as the 20th-ranked team in the world, but in particular their midfield talents of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic meant they were fancied by many as dark horses for a decent run.
That’s proved to be the case, although they have relied on large part on grit and determination to see them through the knockout stages, beating Denmark and Russia on penalties before seeing off England in extra time.
They will meet a French team which eased past Belgium 1-0 in their semi-finals, and which boasts a population difference of around 62 million people more than Croatia.
The Balkan nation has made light of such differences so far, and will fancy their chances of doing so again on Sunday.
News England didn’t finish game off in first half, paid the price – Mourinho on loss to Croatia (VIDEO) RT EXCLUSIVE 11 Jul, 2018 22:05 Get short URL / RT Jose Mourinho says that England must be “proud” of their World Cup run, but criticized the Three Lions for not taking the chance to pull away, before losing control of the game.
“If I was a bit naïve, if I didn’t have the experience I have in football, I would have come in at half time and said the job is done. But it was not done,” said Mourinho, RT’s World Cup expert, referring to the 1-0 score at the time and the number of chances presented to the English attackers in the opening half.
But Mourinho predicted that the second half would be more precarious.
“When the game was easy for England, the second goal didn’t come, and when Croatia scored their equalizer, they received a big dose of confidence, and the game changed completely. By the end, Croatia deserved it – by the end you could see it from the number of shots, from the ball possession numbers, which changed dramatically,” said the Portuguese manager.
Mourinho singled out poor free kick decisions among the factors that stopped England from wresting back control, even after they needed to score after Mario Mandzukic’s go-ahead goal.
The Manchester United manager predicted that most of the team would remain intact and encouraged Gareth Southgate to stay at the helm, but believes the scars from the game in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium will not fade easily
“They were so close it hurts more. When you lose in a semi-final and the team is better than you go home relaxed thinking the best team won. The worst thing in football is when you lose and you don’t deserve to, or if you were very close.”
News ‘Utterly choked’: England mourns another heartbreaking World Cup exit 11 Jul, 2018 21:32 Get short URL England’s Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford look dejected after the match REUTERS/Grigory Dukor England’s hunt for a place in a World Cup Final has been delayed by another four years at least as an extra-time strike from Mario Mandzukic marked a famous day for Croatian football in Moscow.
Fans of the Three Lions across the globe are coming to terms with another semi-final exit from football’s most prestigious tournament. Gareth Southgate’s side, who acquitted themselves admirably throughout, ultimately failed in their quest to go one better than Sir Bobby Robson’s charges in 1990.
A small mercy, if there is any to be taken for England fans, is that they at least avoided the anxiety of another penalty shootout, something which can leave a mental scar over an entire generation.
The reaction online has been largely one of pride for England fans, though the heartbreak of going so close to making history seems like it may take more than a while to subside.
Gary Lineker ✔ @GaryLineker Utterly choked, but this young side gave absolutely everything. It’s a huge step forward and they’ll only get better in the future. They can hold their heads high, they did our country proud. Congratulations to Croatia. 11:49 PM – Jul 11, 2018 147K 26.7K people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Danny Dyer ✔ @MrDDyer Oh… so it’s not coming home then… bollocks…. # threelions # worldcup 11:44 PM – Jul 11, 2018 16.1K 2,635 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Laurie Penny ✔ @PennyRed The fans who were crying on this train are now bravely patting each other’s hands and listing various people who aren’t to blame. ‘Don’t blame Harry. Don’t blame Gareth. It’s nobody’s fault’. I swear, I don’t care much about football but this *does* make me proud of us. # ENGCRO 11:54 PM – Jul 11, 2018 1,586 240 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy The FA ✔ @FA It might not be the result we wanted, but you’ve made a whole nation proud. Hold your heads high, you deserve it England ✔ @England The # WorldCup dream ends for this brave # ThreeLions squad.
Congratulations to Croatia on reaching the final. 11:43 PM – Jul 11, 2018 1,235 409 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Chamatkar Sandhu ✔ @SandhuMMA What started out as a joke and a bit of fun due to a complete lack of faith in our national team turned into a something special.
The # ItsComingHome movement and this England team’s World Cup performance has been THE sports story of the year for me. So damn proud.
11:40 PM – Jul 11, 2018 151 55 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Stan Collymore ✔ @StanCollymore Proud to be an Englishman.
Well done boys! 11:45 PM – Jul 11, 2018 3,070 523 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy World Cup @FIFAWCGoals During the Croatian celebrations Rakitic crashed into the cameraman & apologised & made sure he was fine! The cameraman certainly saw the funny side # ENGCRO 11:56 PM – Jul 11, 2018 1,842 606 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Jeremy Corbyn ✔ @jeremycorbyn A heartbreaking way to go out but won’t forget what a great tournament it’s been for @ England . @ GarethSouthgate and his team have brought the country together and delivered our best World Cup result since 1990.
They should be extremely proud. We certainly are. # ENGCRO # WorldCup 11:40 PM – Jul 11, 2018 18.7K 4,947 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy https://www.rt.com