Football

Croatia 2-1 England: Player ratings

Croatia advanced to their first-ever World Cup final after they defeated England 2-1 in extra-time on Wednesday evening.

Gareth Southgate named un-changed side that defeated Sweden in the previous round, while Sime Vrsaljko did pass a fitness test for Croatia after picking up a knock against Russia.

England got off to the perfect start when Trippier curled home a superb free-kick from the edge of the box to hand his side the lead.

The Croatians struggled to get their attacking game going, with the Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Perisic failing to make an impact early on.

The lead should have been doubled on 30 minutes when Harry Kane was played through on goal, but the tournament’s top scorer was denied Daniel Subasic.

Southgate’s enjoyed most of the possession for the remainder of the half, although they were unable to carve another opening, despite the threat of Raheem Sterling.

Croatia started to find their rhythm going forward after the hour-mark, with England starting to show signs of cracks while under pressure.

The pressure paid off for the Croatians in the 68th minute as Ivan Perisic equalised with a clever flick from six-yards out that left Jordan Pickford with no chance.

Perisic almost sent Croatia ahead three minutes later as he slalomed his way into the box but his left-footed strike crashed against the upright.

The match was swinging from end to end in the last ten minutes as both sides were looking to snatch the winner in regulation time.

In the end neither side could get the winner, forcing the clash into extra-time for a third successive game for Croatia.

John Stones nearly gave the English the lead eight minutes into extra time with a header inside the box but his effort was cleared off the line by Sime Vrsaljiko.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford kept England in the match on the stroke of halftime in extra-time with a crucial save to deny Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic from point-blank range.

Pickford could not do anything about Mandzukic’s close range strike 11 minutes before time that handed Croatia the lead.

The Croats managed to see out the closing stages of the game to book their spot in their first-ever World Cup final.

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