Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final

Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final

England's last World Cup semi-final captain Terry Butcher talks to the Daily Express.

England has looked strong at set pieces - eight of their 11 goals have come from set plays, including three penalties - and will have noticed that Croatia conceded from a free-kick in extra-time against Russian Federation.

Then Mandzukic scored, giving Croatia the lead for the first time in the match, and there was no way back for England.

They were briefly silenced when Croatia equalised through Ivan Perisic in the middle of the second half.

England got off to a ideal start, taking the lead only five minutes into the match thanks to a spectacular free-kick from wing-back Kieran Trippier.

England could have gone 2-1 up nine minute into extra time but Vrsaljko leaped to head away John Stones' header.

"'Football's coming home' is a song I couldn't even listen to for 20 years, frankly, so for me it has a slightly different feel", Southgate said Tuesday on the eve of England's World Cup semifinal match against Croatia.

Dejan Lovren insists his poor performance against Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur in October has no relevance ahead of Croatia's World Cup semifinal with England on Wednesday.

"In the first half, give them credit they did play relatively well, in the second half bottle jobs".

Kane spurred on by England's World Cup class of '66
FORMER England defender Martin Keown has urged Gareth Southgate's men to play without fear tonight and backed them to book a place in the World Cup final. "Every chance.

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

Before this game, Jordan Henderson hadn't been on the losing side in any of his last 30 England matches (W23 D7), the longest unbeaten run of any England player in history.

Although England as a unit look to be mentally stronger, Croatia have been quite physical and a few missed chances, particularly from Kane, who looks a little out of sorts, could come back to haunt them as the game goes on. Mandzukic had Croatia's best chance at the end of the first additional period, but Pickford blocked his shot from close range.

Perisic almost scored a second goal just minutes later, as he latched onto the ball following a defensive lapse before striking the post with his shot.

Croatia were stunned, and Ivan Rakitic, usually so accomplished, was especially off his game.

But instead of flagging, they seemed to gain in energy and avoided a third shootout when Mandzukic struck with a well-taken low shot in the 109th minute. England on the other hand defeated Colombia on penalties in the last 16, but recorded a convincing 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-finals. Kieran Trippier has given England a 1-0 lead with a fifth-minute free kick in the World Cup semifinal against Croatia.

England began the first half in truly dominant fashion.

Although they saw more of the ball, Dalic's side initially struggled to offer a significant improvement after half-time and England had a penalty shout turned down just after the hour - Domagoj Vida getting a slight touch on the ball before sending Sterling tumbling.

The best chance for a second goal, however, was wasted by an unmarked Jesse Lingard when he curled wide when a goal looked certain.

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