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

Croatia tops England in extra time to reach World Cup final

Croatia tops England in extra time to reach World Cup final

England manager Gareth Southgate is not about to change his team's approach for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) World Cup semi-final against Croatia, saying he wants the "same again" from his young side. Therefore, Vedran Corluka could replace the Atletico Madrid star.

England are dreaming of a first World Cup final since 1966 but first they must come through Wednesday's semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium against Croatia in what looks like their toughest test yet in Russian Federation. "So we won't win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago, we've got to win because we play better".

"It's the best opportunity that England's ever had, and probably might ever have", England defender Kyle Walker was quoted as saying by the FIFA's official website.

"I think he is a player who is really appreciated by the team.We are really pleased with his contribution, his work ethic without the ball has been incredible for us".

"The enthusiasm they have for these players, not only because of the way they've played but how they've conducted themselves".

Croatia took over the match after the equalizer and England rarely produced any scoring threats the rest of the way as the midfield of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic had the Three Lions running in circles. They reached the last four stage for the last time in Italy back in 1990.

The thigh injury sustained by Alli against Tunisia in England's opening game has lingered on and affected his fitness, but even before this tournament, he had flattered to deceive on the worldwide stage.

But place in the World Cup final against France was not to be.

Croatia vs England Semifinals Live Updates And Latest Match Action
England will contest their first FIFA World Cup semi-final for 28 years on Wednesday when they take on Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Croatia struck back after the break. His absence would likely hand a start to Vedran Corluka in the center of defense alongside Lovren, shifting Vida to right-back. Mandzukic will lead Croatia's attack.

It was a fantastic curling effort from 25 yards from the Tottenham Hotspur full-back, and England's first goal direct from a free-kick at the World Cup since David Beckham against Ecuador in 2006.

"We weren't talking about the final".

"We've got to keep getting over those hurdles and I know we talked about the success of the younger teams but this is a much harder, much bigger level for the players and the belief is building as things are happening".

The break refreshed the Croatians and they started the second half with greater energy and objective and, at that stage, Southgate missed the chance to make the change that would enable England to regain control of midfield.

It would have been the nation's first final since they won in 1966 but an extra time goal from Mario Mandzukic left dreams shattered.

"They have not experienced that before playing with England and it also shows that it can be a memorable experience playing for their country". The Juventus forward ran in behind England defence and fired past Jordan Pickford.

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