England's inexperience shows as World Cup dream is dashed

12 July, 2018, 03:58 | Author: Dominic Spencer
  • Richard Buxton: Croatia coach Dalic could regret his comments

England are looking to create history when they take on Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation on Wednesday and make the final for the first time since 1966 - the last time they won the cup.

A goal in the second half from Ivan Perisic forced extra time, and Mandzukic's strike destroyed England's dream run short, as a team that surpassed expectations and has a bright future failed to really play well after the break.

Outside of those two tournaments, England's best total was eight for the Lineker-led 1990 squad and also in 1954 when Nat Lofthouse struck three times.

"The general all-round perception was that this is a new-look England who have changed their ways of punting long balls upfield but when we pressed them it turned out that they haven't", Croatia full back Sime Vrsaljko said.

"We are deservedly in the final", Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said.

Croatia will know that history is against them when it comes to games against England, as they have won just two of the seven meetings between the pair. We can win knockout games, and we can get to semifinals, but the next step is to go one further. "God willing, we will be world champions".

The match then went to extra-time, and Mandzukic gave his team the lead 19 minutes in, running onto a headed pass from earlier goalscorer Perisic and smashing a low drive past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and goal as England lost their shape and composure, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick.


"But we enjoy to play against big teams, as we showed against Argentina, and have nothing to lose". A second goal would likely have done it. Kane had the best shot at it, finding himself through on goal, firing at Subasic, then knocking a second effort against the post. 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. Perisic was mightily unlucky not to add to his tally when his angled shot beat Pickford but cannoned off the post.

It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and goal as England lost its shape and composure, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick.

They cruised through the group stage. We should have killed the game even before extra-time.

"This is a miracle". It has meant Ivan Rakitic finishing teams with the final penalty kick twice.

"We deserved to reach the final".

"It's tough, we're gutted", said England's captain and the tournament's current top-scorer Harry Kane.

"We created some good chances when we were 1-0 up, maybe we dropped a little too deep but we didn't get enough pressure on the ball". "There's a lot we could have done better". Henderson, the preferred anchor in Gareth Southgate's side, will attempt to negate his impact.

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