Croatian footballers mobbed the photographers' pit after beating England last night

Croatian footballers mobbed the photographers' pit after beating England last night

Gareth Southgate's team dominated the first half, and they had Croatia on the ropes for lengthy periods after Trippier's fifth-minute free kick had given England the lead.

England boss Gareth Southgate - on the day that was dubbed Waistcoat Wednesday in his honour back home - named an unchanged side to face Croatia, while Zlatko Dalić surprisingly made just one change from the side that beat Russian Federation on penalties in the quarter-final, bringing in midfield Marcelo Brozović for striker Andrej Kramarić. The Croatians rallied from behind to win 2-1 in extra time thanks to a goal from Mario Mandzukic.

England and Belgium clash at the Krestovsky Stadium Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, one day before the World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday.

And from the resulting free-kick, Alli's Spurs team-mate Trippier sumptuously found the top-right corner.

But it was Croatia who struck in the 109th minute when Perisic won a header on the edge of the box and the ball dropped for Mandzukic whose firm low finish beat Pickford. I thought they played well and made it hard for us.

And they almost went ahead with their next attack - Perisic slamming against the right-hand post before Ante Rebic put the rebound into Jordan Pickford's hands.

With England unable to clear the ball away from its goal, Perisic went airborne and flicked a backwards header toward his suddenly open teammate, forward Mario Mandzukic.


Pickford was similarly heroic at the other end, denying Mandzukic at point-blank range after the striker met Perisic's cross.

Croatia will take on France in the final on Sunday.

It was England's best performance at a major tournament since Southgate was part of the team that reached the semi-finals at Euro '96.

Harry Kane looks set to claim the Golden Boot as the World Cup's leading scorer, but the Tottenham star rarely looked like adding to his six goals against Croatia.

Trippier nearly became a hero by scoring the opening goal with a sublime free-kick before his night turned sour with the late Croatia goals and suffering a groin injury.

- Kieran Trippier's goal after four minutes and 44 seconds was the fastest goal scored in a World Cup semi-final since 1958.

Croatia will be the smallest nation to play the final match of a World Cup since Uruguay won the 1950 tournament when they face France on Sunday, after recovering through a second-half Ivan Perisic volley and Mario Mandzukic's victor deep into extra time.

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