Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time after an extra-time goal from Mario Mandzukic gave them a 2-1 win over England in their semi-final on Wednesday
Kieran Trippier scored the first goal in the 5th minute through a very well taken free kick and went further to dominate for a larger period of the game as they chased a finals slot, something they last tasted in 1966 incredibly 52 years down the line. Their hopes were dashed by Mandzukic though eleven minutes to the final whistle of extra time.
Ivan Perisic restored parity in the 68th minute after the Croats started asking serious questions to England back three.
Both teams hang on to force another extra thirty minutes to decide who will face France, who themselves won the 1998 trophy on home soil.
Croatia has now bettered a record set twenty years ago when they managed to reach the semi-finals in France. They were eliminated by the home team and now have a perfect chance to revenge on the final come Sunday.
After the match, England boss Gareth Southgate said, “In the first half we were really good, and could have had another. We had chances. There was a spell in the second half when they got the goal and their tails were up, we had to weather the storm.
“Possibly at that moment, we were hanging on a bit. Great credit, in extra time we got back into the game and showed some more composure. The biggest thing is our supporters at the end, and their reaction. That tells you what the players have given, not just tonight but over the period.
“I can’t ask any more. Knockout football is fine margins. When you have spells, you have to make them count. We probably needed that second goal.”
About the Author
Jeet Ghosh is a Football Journalist, living and working in Kolkata with 7 years of experience. He has also worked with Sportzwiki and India.com. Jeet is a sports lover but has special liking for football. He follows the football league’s around the world and is somewhat partial towards Real Madrid.