Three things we learned from Croatias semi-final win over England

Brenda Watkins
July 12, 2018

Jubilant Croatian fans honked their vehicle horns and let off fireworks after their soccer team came from behind to beat England 2-1 in extra-time on Wednesday to clinch a place in the World Cup final against France.

It was heartbreak and disappointment from an England perspective but at the same time the nation remains proud of what Gareth Southgate's side have accomplished.

Mario Mandzukic wheels away after scoring the winning goal in Wednesday's semifinal between Croatia and England.

Dele Alli made a decisive contribution in this game, but after being fouled in the second minute for Trippier's free-kick opener for England, the Tottenham midfielder struggled to make any further impact.

Modric, whose team initially went 1-0 down to England thanks to a sublime free kick by Kieran Trippier in the fifth minute, accused the English press of showing a lack of respect to Croatia.

"Croatia were magical in finishing the English", they said.

Southgate said: "The biggest thing is you could see [from the reaction of] the supporters, you can tell what the players have given and I can't ask anymore". But Kane said the team could "hold our heads held high" as they "went further than anybody thought".

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About 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored, defender Sime Vrsaljko headed a shot on target off the goal line to keep the score tied.

Croatia's dream continues into Sunday's final against France.

- England have now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four in a row. Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match and is the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal.

Trippier struck the ball with his right foot and it rose above leaping Dejan Lovren and Mandzukic to the left of the desperate dive of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, who turned his head and watched the ball land in the upper corner.

"We probably needed that second goal earlier in the game".

But Croatia rallied after the break and forced extra-time through Ivan Perisic's flying finish, eventually wrapping up victory through Mario Mandzukic in the second half of the additional period, taking them to the first final in their history.

It was his first goal for his country, England's 12th of the tournament and ninth from a set-piece, but they should have added more from open play as they revelled in the space they were being given in the first half.

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