Monday, 18 February, 2019

England vs. Croatia: Southgate Urges Team To Create History

Fans react to England goal Richard Buxton: Croatia coach Dalic could regret his comments
Adrian Cunningham | 12 July, 2018, 03:55

These goals came well after England got off to a hot start, as a free kick in the fifth minute from Kieran Trippier gave his team a quick 1-0 lead.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford goes to ground as Sime Vrsaljko of Croatia runs by celebrating victory in their Fifa World Cup semifinal in Moscow.

But Croatia found energy after the break when the game opened up, making England's missed first-half opportunities seem all-the-more significant.

"There was a spell in the second half when they got the goal and their tails were up, we had to weather the storm".

Henderson takes "a lot of good things from the past in terms of 66 and what they achieved then" but is not getting ahead of himself given the threat posed by Croatia.

But Croatia, having won on penalties against Denmark and Russian Federation in the last two rounds, saw the game out, dousing the World Cup dream of Gareth Southgate's team that had gone from the improbable to the possible over the last month in Russian Federation. "It is a game that is very evenly matched, we know what we want to do and we have to focus on our preparation and make sure that we control the controllables as we have attempted to do for every game", the manager said.

"It hurts. I don't know what else to say".

Croatia's strength of character will serve them well in the World Cup final against France, their coach and players said after they came from behind for the third straight knockout match to beat England on Wednesday. The Juventus forward is a big-game player and he showed that this evening, not just scoring the victor, but setting the tone for what was a remarkable comeback from Croatia.

England have had a World Cup beyond their expectations, but they really could and should have gone even further.

Defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer falls to Kevin Anderson in quarterfinals
South Africa's Kevin Anderson celebrates after winning his quarter final match against Switzerland's Roger Federer . Star Sports Select 2 and Star Sports Select 1 will provide live television coverage of the matches in India.

Suddenly, Croatia was dominant, crowding England's box again and again, with the English squad scrambling to prevent Croatia taking the lead. There will be legitimate questions about how much they have left in the tank.

Strinic has been one of Croatia's most consistent performers during the World Cup on the left side of Zlatko Dalic's back four.

Mandzukic's movement was also a constant challenge for England's back three and John Stones, in particular, did not look as composed as he has done in previous games.

Mario Mandzukic became Croatia's hero when he put Croatia in front with 11 minutes to go after a great through ball from Pivaric.

Spain, the 2010 champions, were the last first-time finalists in what is now the 21st edition of the competition.

"Let me tell you, whether we win or lose the game, my life will not change", he said.

Once the bell rang signalling the end of the match, England's players collapsed to the floor in devestation, following the end of the country's World Cup dream.

The Eastern European sides' results so far at the World Cup mean that they are now unbeaten in their last six internationals, winning four and drawing two of their games.