FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals: Croatia sends England home, 2-1

Friday, July 13, 2018

On Wednesday, Croatia defeated England 2–1 in the semi-final of the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup with Mario Mandžukić scoring the winning goal in the additional time. With this victory, Croatia is in their first-ever FIFA World Cup finals, and they are to face France on Sunday.

Croatia had greater ball possession in the match. Croatian midfielder Luka Modrić committed a foul early in the game, and Dele Alli won a freekick for England in the 4th minute. Kieran Trippier scored from the freekick, giving England an early lead in the match. In the 14th minute, Harry Maguire came close to doubling the lead for England, but missed. Ivan Perišić and Ante Rebić tried to equalise soon after, but were unsuccessful. In the 30th minute, English striker Harry Kane was caught offside from Jesse Lingard's through ball. Raheem Sterling and Šime Vrsaljko also tried their luck before the end of the first half. The first half ended with England having a one-goal advantage.

Just three minutes into the second half, Croatia's forward Mario Mandžukić was yellow-carded. In the 54th minute, English defender Kyle Walker was also booked. Just after the one-hour mark, Ivan Rakitić missed a chance to level for Croatia. In the 68th minute, Croatia got the equalising goal as Perišić scored from Šime Vrsaljko's assist. England made a substitution in the 74th minute when Marcus Rashford came on for Sterling. The second half ended with both sides tied, 1–1.

At the beginning of the additional time, England made another change; Ashley Young was taken off for Danny Rose. Ivan Strinić was injured and Croatia made a substitution in the 95th minute, replacing him with Josip Pivarić. The referee booked Rebić in the 96th minute and he was later replaced by Andrej Kramarić in the 101st minute. Mario Mandžukić came to Croatia's rescue in the 109th minute, scoring from close range from Perišić's assist, which Jordan Pickford could not prevent from going to the back of the English net. Jamie Vardy came on for Walker in the 112th minute. Mandžukić injured himself and Vedran Ćorluka came on for him in the 115th minute. Croatia prevented England from getting an equaliser as the match ended 2–1 and Croatia advanced to their first-ever FIFA football World Cup final.

After the match, England's coach Gareth Southgate said, "At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat. I don't think realistically we expected to be here, but once you're here and played as well as we did, you want to take those opportunities in life. The dressing room is a difficult place at the moment." He also added, saying, "You have to suffer the result first sometimes. I'm hugely proud of what we've done — I couldn't have asked for any more. They've broken through a number of barriers in the past weeks."

Croatian coach Zlatko Dalić said, "Nobody wanted to give in when I was preparing the first eleven, nobody wanted to say I was not ready in extra time, no one wanted to be subbed and this shows character and what makes me proud. Nobody gave up."

Croatia is to play France on Sunday in Moscow for the World Cup title.

July 11, 2018
2100 MSK (UTC+300)
Croatia 2–1 (a.e.t.) England Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Attendance: 78,011
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey)
Ivan Perišić Scored after 68 minutes 68'
Mario Mandžukić Scored after 109 minutes 109'
Mario Mandžukić Booked after 48 minutes 48'
Ante Rebić Booked after 96 minutes 96'
Ivan Strinić Substituted off after 95 minutes 95'
Josip Pivarić Substituted on after 95 minutes 95'
Ante Rebić Substituted off after 101 minutes 101'
Andrej Kramarić Substituted on after 101 minutes 101'
Mario Mandžukić Substituted off after 115 minutes 115'
Vedran Ćorluka Substituted on after 115 minutes 115'
Luka Modrić Substituted off after 119 minutes 119'
Milan Badelj Substituted on after 119 minutes 119'
1–1 (FT) Kieran Trippier Scored after 5 minutes 5'
Kyle Walker Booked after 54 minutes 54'
Raheem Sterling Substituted off after 74 minutes 74'
Marcus Rashford Substituted on after 74 minutes 74'
Ashley Young Substituted off after 90–91 minutes 90–91'
Danny Rose Substituted on after 90–91 minutes 90–91'
Jordan Henderson Substituted off after 97 minutes 97'
Eric Dier Substituted on after 97 minutes 97'
Kyle Walker Substituted off after 112 minutes 112'
Jamie Vardy Substituted on after 112 minutes 112'