Moscow: Stakes were high as Croatia and England locked horns at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for the spot in the World Cup Final with France. England were playing in a semifinal after 28 years and Croatia after 20 years.
The match lived up to the fans expectations as England’s Trippier curled in an accurate ‘Beckham style’ free kick in the opening minutes of the game to give England a crucial 1-0 lead.
Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane missed two vital opportunities as they were called offside by the linesmen in the first half. Croatia had their chances as well but were not able to capitalise on them.
In the second half, both teams looked to dominate the game with end to end attacking gameplay. A few heated moments were also witnessed as Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and England’s Walker got yellow cards.
But it was Croatia that broke the deadlock in 69 th minute when Ivan Perisic equalised by catching a high ball cross from the right wing with his foot just in front of the goal.
Ivan Rakitic would have given the lead to Croatia but his attempt was denied by the goal post and the rebound shot was captured by Pickford. End to end football was witnessed in the next few minutes as both teams looked to take the ever crucial lead.
Even after multiple attacks from both sides, normal time ended with a 1-1 scoreline pushing the game into the extra time.
Extra time brought some exciting football as both teams played their hearts out. But in the 109 th minute, Mario Mandzukic scored the most important goal of his life and for Croatia as they looked certain to enter the Final with France.
Game ended with Croatia creating history by beating England 2-1 and enter the Final against France on Sunday.