Croatia Ends England's World Cup Dream With Extra Time Goal
on Jul 12, 2018 09:23 AM EDT
Croatia survived a gutsy effort from England as they beat the latter 2-1 on Wednesday to advance into the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
Forward Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic found the back of the net for the Croatian side who will appear in their first World Cup final against France this Sunday. With the victory, Croatia also made history by becoming the first team to win three straight games of more than 90 minutes. On the other hand, England will take on Belgium in the bronze medal match.
Croatia is among the smallest countries in the tournament with a general population of 4.171 million. The Croatians are the smallest team to reach the World Cup final since Uruguay in 1950. Prior to making it through the finals, the Croatians finished in third place during the 1998 World Cup which was held in France.
Dream Start For England
England asserted their offensive presence early as Dele Alli managed to win a free kick for the Three Lions. Kieran Trippier put the English side on the scoreboard when he converted a brilliant free kick in the fifth-minute to give England a 1-0 lead. The goal was also the first score for Trippier in an England uniform.
Manchester City star Raheem Sterling had a window of opportunity to double England's lead three minutes later but Danijel Subasic successfully denied his attempt. The Three Lions had several wasted opportunities midway through the opening half as Jesse Lingard failed to hit his teammates on a cutback chance. Lingard had another chance to score in the 36th-minute but his attempt on goal just went wide.
Croatia Rebounds In The Second Half
After failing to find the target in the first half, the Croatians started to push the tempo by trying to set up opportunities for Florentina forward Ante Rebic. Croatia breathe a sigh of relief when Perisic tied things up at 1-apiece after hitting a goal in the 68th-minute.
Three minutes later, Perisic had a chance to give Croatia the lead. However, his shot from the far post was eventually saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. England had a chance to prevent extra time but Harry Kane's header in the 92nd-minute did not hit the target.
Following a scoreless first half in extra time, the Croatians attempted a quick shot in the 107th-minute but Marcelo Brozovic's first-touch volley was off target. Nonetheless, Mandzukic provided the dramatics for Croatia as he scored the game-winning goal in the 109th-minute to snuff the life out of England.