Croatia came from one goal down to beat England 2-1 in extra time and book a date with France in the World Cup final on Sunday.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the box.
Mario Mandzukic storms Croatia to their maiden final
England, making their first semifinal appearance since 1990, made a brilliant start to the game through Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick after only five minutes. However, Ivan Perisic’s 68th-minute equalizer sent the match into extra time.
After taking the early lead, England continued to dominate while Croatia failed to find their rhythm early on. Croatia took 19 minutes to register their first attempt.
On the other hand, England nearly got the reward for their dominant display. The Three Lions should have doubled their lead on the half-hour mark. However, Danijel Subasic denied Harry Kane from a Jesse Lingard through pass after which the England captain struck the rebound against the post.
Croatia soon woke up from their slumber, as England needed a last-gasp block from John Stones to cut out an Ante Rebic’s cross. Jesse Lingard then missed a glorious chance to double England’s lead when he fired wide from the edge of the box. The first-half ended with England holding the one-goal advantage.
And as England allowed their opportunity to slip from their grasp, Croatia grew in confidence. Croatia started as the better of the two sides after the break and soon reaped the reward. In the 68th minute, Perisic stole in ahead of Kyle Walker for a brilliant finish.
England soon found themselves on the backfoot, as Croatia attacked them consistently. Perisic hit one on the post while Jordan Pickford denied Mandzukic to push the game into extra-time. But all the efforts went in vain, as the Juventus star smashed the winner with 11 minutes of extra time left.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the game:
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.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 11, 2018
When he was 6, his grandfather was shot dead.
His family became refugees, in a warzone.
He grew up to the sound of grenades exploding.
Coaches said he was too weak and too shy to play football.
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) July 11, 2018
— ?Azande? (@Azande_Nakhane) July 11, 2018
#CROENG it's not coming home, it's going somewhere better. England have been humbled by a nation with a bigger heart. Now fuck off
— srdele (@srdele) July 11, 2018
Luka Modric has literally run more than anyone at this World Cup. Covered 63.03km to date in Russia and hasn't once rolled around the pitch like a number of others… #CROENG
— Joshua Thomas ⚽ (@Joshua_Thomas97) July 11, 2018
England: “It’s coming home!!”
— Gatita (@macaronibebe) July 11, 2018
Well done Croatia. You were better than us. And your president is better looking
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 11, 2018
Zinger from Modric last night "People were talking … English journalists, TV pundits. They underestimated Croatia and that was huge mistake. They should be more humble and respect their opponents more. We showed we were not tired – we dominated game mentally and physically."
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) July 12, 2018