Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Three things we learned from Croatias semi-final win over England

Mario Mandzukic Mandzukic extra-time strike stuns England sends Croatia to first World Cup final
Julia Gonzales | 12 July, 2018, 14:28

Of course, the referee called the play back and made them retake the kick-off.

In the 90th minute, England was granted a free kick just yards from Croatia's penalty box, but Trippier's shot to Kane's head failed to make it to the back of the net. They now have the chance to avenge that loss and become the ninth nation to win a World Cup final.

With the bonus of an extra day's rest and Croatia having been taken to extra-time for the third time in succession, France will be far the fresher of the two sides in Sunday's final.

World Cup Daily: Croatia's dream goes on while England wake up.

Harry Kane ran the Croatia worldwide ragged, twice getting the better of him to set Tottenham up 2-0 within the opening 15 minutes, eventually prompting Reds manager Jurgen Klopp to haul him off.

Keane was also critical of England skipper Harry Kane, as he suggested the Spurs striker looked off the pace as he laboured through most of the second half and extra time. "The chances fell to him in the first half, but he wasn't quite good enough".

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After a goalless first 15 minutes of extra-time, and penalties looking like a big possibility, it was Croatia that ended England's dream of World Cup glory when Mario Mandzukic crept it at the far post to fire home what would ultimately be the victor. "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".

Perisic came close again and Mandzukic had a shot saved by Pickford as Croatia pressed for the victor but it wasn't to come and the game headed into extra-time.

"Of course it's going to be a really hard task over the next 24 hours to get everyone mentally back to where we want them for a game like that". I don't think realistically we expected to be here, but once you're here and played as well as we did, you want to take those opportunities in life, ' the England boss said. We have gone further than most people thought we should and we have to try and learn from it.

"There are a lot of ifs and buts now". Croatia have hardened warriors whose understanding of big matches at times came to the fore. That is why this hurts so much.

Modric starred as Croatia came from behind to knock England out at the semi-final stage. "We wanted to give the fans a final, but we have to dust ourselves down and go again in a couple of years".

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