England coming home after semi-final defeat


England coming home after semi-final defeat

In the 90th minute, England was granted a free kick just yards from Croatia's penalty box, but Trippier's shot to Kane's head failed to make it to the back of the net.

Mario Mandzukic got the victor in injury time to put Croatia, with previously a tournament-best semifinal in 1998 to its name, one game away from winning it all.

With their own bitter memories of past semi-final defeats in the soccer tournament, England and Croatia will be competing for a spot in Sunday's final against France.

However, with Croatia having to play extra-time against Russian Federation and the energy in the opposition, I can see England scraping a narrow victory in a tight game.

Then they were beaten on penalties by West Germany.

England manager Gareth Southgate says he is not about to change his team's approach for Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against Croatia, saying he wants the "same again" from his young side.

With no injuries to worry about, Southgate submitted an identical team to that which began the last-16 game against Colombia and the quarter-final against Sweden.

Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, where the match is being played, has a capacity of 80,000, so a few thousand England supporters will find themselves heavily outnumbered by Croatian fans as well as Russians who are expected to be in the majority.

England are out of the Fifa World Cup after Croatia fought back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 in extra time in a dramatic semifinal in Moscow.

England, appearing in its first semifinal since 1990, had looked on course for its first final since 1966, as it led through Kieran Trippier's fifth-minute free kick and totally dominated the opening half.

England could not have imagined a better start.

Croatia were stunned, and Ivan Rakitic, usually so accomplished, was especially off his game.

Croatia hung on and it was to their huge credit that they turned the tide after the break in what developed into an epic encounter.

Perisic came close again and Mandzukic had a shot saved by Pickford as Croatia pressed for the victor but it wasn't to come and the game headed into extra-time. Without them, it is unlikely that either side would have progressed to this stage of the tournament.

England would have been devastated after Mandzukic's late goal. Mandzukic had Croatia's best chance at the end of the first additional period, but Pickford blocked his shot from close range.

It was a wonder the Juventus forward did not break a limb as Pickford crunched into him.

For every victor there has to be a loser and while England fell short on the day and will be thoroughly disappointed, these young Three Lions galvanised a country and won back a fan base that had been jaded by years of underachievement. They brought two Israeli cancer patients with them, 18-year-old Mika Lipsker and 13-year-old Alon Izraev.

In this picture, England's coach Gareth Southgate gestures during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018.