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World Cup 2018: Mandzukic strike ends

MOSCOW: For the first time in their history, Croatia reached the final of the World Cup as the beat England in extra time.

England got off to a flyer when Tottenham Hotspur right back Kieran Trippier curled a beautiful free-kick into the Croatian net in the 5th minute. In what was to be a tense encounter with both teams fighting for their legacies, one for reclaimed glory and the other to new history. For the Croatians it was their third consecutive match following wins against Denmark and Russia in the Round of 16 and the Quarter Final that went beyond the normal 90 minutes but, much to the relief of some of the Croatians this ended before it could reach the penalty shoot out.

Croatia pushed back strongly but heroics from Everton and England number 1 Jordan Pickford kept them waiting before Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic scored a wonder goal in the 68th minute which certainly ignited the stadium hosting over 65000 fans. While England struggled to make chances, the Croatians were coasting through the England defence with out any success before a lapse in concentration from the England defence allowed Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic to slide the ball past the goal-keeper in the 109th minute. Matters got worse for England when several minutes later Kieran Trippier their goal scorer was forced off due to an injury and could not be replaced as England had used their allowed 4 substitutions. 

England now face Belgium in a few days for the 3rd position match where as Croatia will be looking ahead to the French challenge that stands in their way of football royalty.

  • Fifa World Cup 2018
  • Croatia
  • England
  • Mandzukic
  • Semi-final