Moscow : Croatia reached their first ever World Cup Final last night when they defeated England in a pulsating semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium here in Russia.
The Croats came back from a goal behind and won the game, 2-1 in extra-time, dashing England’s hopes of sealing a place in the title clash for the first time since 1966.
For England,Kieran Trippier’s free kick couldn’t have been more incisive as his right-footed curler flew straight into the top corner of the Croatian net with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic a mere spectator.
From there on, England controlled the opening half. Harry Maguire had two heading opportunities from set-pieces but failed to make the most of them.
For Croatia, Ivan Perisic equalised with a 68th-minute volley in the second half. Mandzukic latched onto Perisic’s header in the 109th minute and rifled it past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, sparking wild celebrations in the corner.
Croatia will now face France in the summit clash here on Sunday. The third-place play-off match between England and Belgium will be played on Saturday at Saint Petersburg.