Croatia 2 (IvanPerisic , Mario Mandzukic) :England 1 (Kieran Trippier) Croatia created history for its football . A country of 4 million people made proud by their football warriors. For the first time they moved into the final of finals. The dream run of the young enterprising England team finally came to an end losing to a steady matured Croatia. England failed to hold on the momentum from the early lead Croatia equalized in the second half after regaining composure . The full time score was 1-1 requiring extra time. Croatia scored the winning goal early in the second period of extra time earning them the first ever final of finals in the world Cup. They will meet France which already reached there beating Belgium in the other semi final. A team other than the 8 previous winner winners of the world cup will be up against France to decide whether there can be a 9th World Cup winner or France makes its second . Well done Croatia . But we must give due credit to Young English team which played so well for reaching this response. Now they would meet their group mate to decide third and fourth place .
Well it is never over till it is over England taking early lead through a magical free kick smartly taken by Trippier 5th minute into the match looked like defending it.Kieran Trippier gave England a dream start in the Luzhniki Stadium, curling in a free-kick past the despairing dive of DanijelSubasic in just the fifth minute.IvanPerisic levelled for Croatia in the 68th minute, nipping ahead of Kyle Walker to steer home SimeVrsaljko’scross past a diving Jordan Pickford
A delightful free kick taken by K Trippier on the 5th minute of match put England on the lead. Kieran Trippier just stepped up and took it like a professional .It was a magical free kick, a high and right — and Subasic never had a chance. Gaining the momentum early on England kept on pressing and some half chances came their way. Croatia appeared to loose the composure for most of the first half and till the middle of the second half. They were waiting and waiting. Suddenly something happened somewhere Croatia got some sparks and started surging into English defence. 68th minutes into the match Virsajko lobbed in a better cross from the right, and Perisic ran around both Trippier and Walker to head home making 1-1. Moments later Perisic just failed to take his team in front. England was on its heels again. Perisic was let free on the left and he pinged Pickford’s far post with a low shot. The rebound came toMandzukic, but he could only drive it right into Pickford’s arms. The exchanges were even till the last minutes of full time and injury added time at 1-1 . Croatia for the third match in succession went into extra time after winning their last two matches against Denmark and Russia in Tie breaker penalty shoot out . Young England was relatively fresh not requiring any such experience.However , for the young England it was keeping up the focus .
Croatia keeping pressure on England dominated first half of extra time. Went very close to scoring. The desperate English Goal Keeper could save with his knees . First period also ended 1-1 .
Matured Croatia went scored the winner through Manual Mandzukic 109th minutes of the match making it 2-1 . It was not possible to England to recover .Perisisc was the dynamo behind Croatian for recovering from early deficit. He himself scored the equalizer . He also fed his front men with crosses , chips and defence splitting passes .
Head To Head:
The last meeting of the two teams at a major tournament was in Euro 2004, where England ran out 4-2 winners. Scorers that day were Wayne Rooney, who grabbed a brace, Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard. Other than this meeting, all the other games between the sides have been in qualifying games or friendlies.Of the seven clashes, four have been won by England, two by Croatia and there has been just one draw.
Road To Semi Final:
Croatia surprised many beating rocking Argentina in the group match 3-0 . They looked a pretty good team in the qualification as they won all three group matches. But they had to huff and puff in prequater against Denmark and quarter final against Russia winning both in Tie Breaker penalty shoot out .
England on the other hand looked a very organised professional unit . This England team is young and energetic . England has a long term vision with the team for European Championship and Qatar World Cup 2022 . But they played extremely well so far and appears now to be a serious challengers for world cup 2018. England had some difficulties in beating Tunisia 2-1 but played superbly against Panama recording the biggest win of the tournament 6-1 . Strategically playing most of the players in their last match against Belgium they lost 0-1. .By that they could avoid meeting Brazil in the quarter and France in the semi final. England did not have much trouble in cruising over Columbia and Sweden.
The eventful World Cup 2018 added another surprise . Just imagine it is not Germany, Brazil, Argentina , Spain ,Portugal, Belgium or England. It is Croatia which will play in the final of finals of World Cup 2018 .The small country Croatia surprised many qualifying into group of 16 above favourite Argentina . They created huge noise early winning 3-0 against Messi inspired Argentina. Then they won two matches on tie breakers against Denmark and host Russia .The semi final went to extra time . Now the final would decide whether world would welcome a new King. What a dream it would come true for a country of 4.1 million people! getting independence in 1991 .
BDST: 0310 HRS, JULY 12, 2018