Monday, 19 November, 2018

Croatia reach final as England throw it away

Lovren Presser GETTYDejan Lovren responds to questions from the media ahead of tomorrow's semi-final against England
Adrian Cunningham | 12 July, 2018, 14:31

Gareth Southgate's side negotiated their way to the semi-final of the competition but were unable to overcome opponents who had played extra-time in both their previous matches.

England wing-back Kieran Trippier had opened the scoring from a brilliant free kick in just the fifth minute, curling the ball over the Croatia wall and into the top right-hand corner. They now have the chance to avenge that loss and become the ninth nation to win a World Cup final.

Croatia have never been to a World Cup final, though they reached the semi-finals in 1998 with a team featuring the likes of Slavan Bilic and Davor Suker.

Harry Kane ran the Croatia global ragged, twice getting the better of him to set Tottenham up 2-0 within the opening 15 minutes, eventually prompting Reds manager Jurgen Klopp to haul him off. Only this win against England did not go to penalties but Zlatko Dalic's men can look back at some impressive performances, most notably the 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stage, and draw inspiration from it.

"I am a big fan of Harry Kane and I think he is going to be a superstar, but he just looked a big sluggish", he stated.

'We had hoped (for this) and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything, ' said Ivan Kecerin, 41.

Live Stream, TV Schedule for Tuesday's Semi-Final Game
England too left Italy 28 years ago feeling that the team featuring Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne could have gone all the way. Despite a valiant effort, the team will come home without the Jules Rimet trophy after losing the semi final 2-1 to Croatia .

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic celebrates at the end of the World Cup semifinal match against England at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.

Mario Mandzukic scores the extra-time victor in the 109th minute to break English hearts.

Meanwhile, England captain Kane struggled to hide his pain, as he admitted his team-mates failed to make the most of their chances to extend their adventure in Russian Federation.

"Of course it's going to be a really hard task over the next 24 hours to get everyone mentally back to where we want them for a game like that. You can hear the fans singing out there after the defeat it's a proud feeling you know and all we can do is try and build on it". It hurts, it hurts a lot and will do for a while. "We got further than anyone else could thought we would have".

Mario Mandzukic's strike in extra-time sealed it as Croatia played an additional 30 minutes for the third time in a row.

Liverpool's Lovren is set to come up against Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane when Croatia and England meet on Wednesday.