Home Football Croatia Edge Out England To Reach First Ever World Cup Final

Croatia Edge Out England To Reach First Ever World Cup Final

Croatia managed to defeat England over 120 minutes to seal their spot against France in the World Cup final.

England managed to get off to a dream start just under five minutes in when Spurs man Kieran Trippier managed to convert an absolutely beautiful free-kick just outside the box, leaving the Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic completely stranded.

For the rest of the half, England kept the pressure on, forcing a few half-chances. To be honest, had they been a tad bit more clinical in the final third we could have been looking at a much wider gap between the sides.

Croatia, for the most part, did manage to find themselves in good positions before the break but in general, they just seemed to lack the composure to manufacture anything significant.

The second-half saw the Croatians come out with a different sense of urgency, however. Gradually warming into the game, they finally broke through when Ivan Perisic scored just shy of the 70th minute.

From there it was well and truly game on.

England seemed to creep into their shell somewhat as the Croatians continued to advance but after ninety minutes of action, extra-time would be needed to separate these two.

Fatigue certainly seemed to set in for both sides as the first-half of extra-time played out. Both sides found themselves with good opportunities and John Stones, in particular, had his headed effort cleared off the line.

It was truly heart in mouth stuff towards the end of the first fifteen minutes, both sides turned up the pace considerably but once again, neither were able to capitalize.

The second-half, however, saw Mario Mandzukic score the decisive goal in today’s matchup. Slotting past the helpless Jordan Pickford with all the composure you would expect, he gave his side the edge with just ten minutes to play.

And so it finished 2-1. Of course, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the English – who came into this one with so much momentum and spirit behind them but for Croatia, it stood as their first ever final and in truth, it was a well-deserved victory, all things considered.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

 

About Cillian Cunningham

Mixed Martial Arts (and occasional Football) journalist who can be contacted at [email protected]