Culture&Arts

Croatia, England aim to create history

Croatia, England aim to create history

Defender Sime Vrsaljko kept the score even in extra time by heading a shot off the goal line about 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored for Croatia, which is the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal match. He was everywhere in the second half as Croatia searched for the equalizer, whether it was serving balls into the box or scoring the first Croatia goal or hitting the ball on Mandzukic's second.

With Croatia playing in its third consecutive extra time match, the team somehow dug deep and found the energy needed to fight off the Three Lions, who looked more exhausted and fell asleep on the winning goal. In case, Croatia go with three-man midfield, one of Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic may get a place.

On ITV following the game, Croatia captain Luka Modric had some choice words for the English media, saying that they should be "more humble and respect their opponents more".

When the World Cup began, most believed that the semi-finals would be composed of the following four teams: Spain, Germany, France and Brazil.

Football fans across the country were devastated following England's dramatic defeat against Croatia, as they battled their way through their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

They could not have got off to a better start, with Kieran Trippier curling a brilliant free kick into the top corner after just five minutes.

This group, however, have gone one better and will get the chance to avenge the defeat of 20 years ago when they face the French on Sunday back at the same Luzhniki Stadium.

More news: Roger Federer not concerned about start of World Cup game

But despite dominating much of the first half, England were unable to extend to lead, with Jesse Lingard missing a great chance to make it 2-0 after shooting wide. When you have spells, you have to make them count.

This was the biggest challenge of Jordan Henderson's career.

While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded. The opportunity will there for them to win that game, but they were not good enough.

Trippier's curling fifth-minute free-kick was his first global goal, a prominent example of the quality of his delivery that has given rise to the "Bury Beckham" moniker because he was born in Bury near Manchester.

Harry Kane's goal-scoring has been a little overrated at this World Cup- the Tottenham striker has scored three penalties, two tap-ins and one inadvertent deflection.

Perisic, who switched between left and right flanks on several occasions during the game, was a constant threat with his pace, direct running and finishing. Croatia looked a little vulnerable in the second half against Denmark and then conceded a set-piece against Russian Federation. Two minutes later and it was Rebic again in the action but he just failed to connect to a cross from Perisic on the left.

"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional outcome of that", he said.


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