Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Croatia into the World Cup Final!

Croatia into the World Cup Final!

Gareth Southgate will keep the faith with his first-choice XI for tonight's crucial World Cup semi-final against Croatia. However, they grew in confidence following Perisic's equaliser and it was England who began to look increasingly worn out.

"We deserved the victory", said match-winner Mandzukic.

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.

But just when it looked as if they would become the first team to appear in three shootouts at a single World Cup, Mandzukic struck with a well-taken low shot. Croatia started to enjoy their best period of the match, dictating play and controlling possession.

Winger Ivan Perisic levelled scores on the 67th minute after a great cross from defender Sime Vrsaljko.

The Croatians and their fans will all be back on Sunday for the final, their first ever.

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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.

Devastated England fans after Croatia scored the winning goal.

England captain Harry Kane was heartbroken after the loss but admitted that England had paid the price for being too passive in the second half after a bright opening 40 minutes. "So it's hats off to us but unluckily we couldn't bring it home for them but hopefully there's time in the future".

He added: "Let me tell you, whether we win or lose the game, my life will not change", he said. It's been a fantastic journey.

"We gave it everything, I know we're gonna look back and say we could have done this and what but at the end of the day it was small margins in a big game and it didn't go our way today", said striker Kane, now the tournament's top scorer with six goals.

"I'm still not entirely convinced by him and would suggest he is still an accident waiting to happen if the right buttons are pushed and enough pressure is applied". "But now it's got a good foundation, so we just need to build on that and make sure we build an empire from it".

The Three Lions can be proud of their performance at this summer's World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

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