Finally, England and Croatia have chance to banish semi blues

Tanya Simon
July 12, 2018

The Inter Milan winger played a key role in the small Balkan nation reaching a first major final, scoring the equaliser and then setting up Mario Mandzukic for the 2-1 extra-time victor over England in their semi-final.

After a dramatic win on penalties against hosts Russia, Croatia has repeated the success of the 1998 team which reached the semi-finals in the country's first World Cup as an independent nation.

Croatia's current World Cup squad contains only one English-based player, but several others have made a mark on England's domestic leagues in recent times.

Croatia now advances to face France in the finals on Sunday. "We will go into this final to win it, as we have still not gotten over the final".

He said: "I never, never, never, ever mention my own history". The 19-year-old striker scored twice in five minutes just past the hour mark as Deschamps' men stormed back from behind to seal victory in a memorable seven-goal thriller.

After a night of drama, England found a way to stay in the World Cup.

"Croatia in World Cup finals!".

England vs Croatia Start Time & Odds
Once again they found themselves behind as Kieran Trippier's fifth-minute free-kick had put England ahead. This is the youngest English side in years and I think they'll do very well against Croatia ".

"It's the third time I've cried in the last two weeks - Denmark, Russia, now this", he said. This shows character and is what makes me proud.

"You all just said to them, "Just do what you can", but now even you are hoping that it can come home, yeah?"

Fred and his Brazil team looked the best outfit by far, dominating games and moving the ball fluidly, their strength in depth adding to the menace they bring.

"The difference sadly is a set play in a very close and tight game", lamented Belgium boss Roberto Martinez. They worked in '98 and we worked today, we reached out target to get to the final. Croatia entered the 30 minutes with a passionate drive inspired by the equalizer, enabling a strong offensive start.

'We dominated in extra-time and were the better team, we should have finished the job before penalties - but maybe it is written in the stars that we had to go through the extra drama'.

Whether Russian football will revert to its pre-World Cup domestic issues of racism and fan violence once the tournament is over remains to be seen.

Modric, along with Mario Mandzukic, are the 32-year-olds who have propelled Croatia to its first major soccer final. 'To be fair, we've had some good sportsmen like [Goran] Ivanisevic in tennis, he won Wimbledon, basketball is huge and we were good.

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