Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final


Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final

The Three Lions suffered an extra-time 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in Moscow, after a roller-coaster game which saw England take an early lead through Kieran Trippier, only for a second-half equaliser from Ivan Perisic to take the game to extra time and set up Mario Mandzukic's late victor.

But moments after the restart in extra-time, tragedy struck as Mario Mandzukic punished a momentary lapse in concentration to score the match-winning goal.

It was heartbreak for England, but joy for those who backed Croatia at a high of [40.0] to win in extra-time in the Method of Victory market.

"England had history in their hands and a first World Cup final since 1966 in their sights as the clock ticked past 10pm in Moscow - only to let it all slip away and so leave this historic city with familiar feelings of despair and disappointment", laments Phil McNulty of the BBC. "They have to use this experience for benefit and I know that what´s happened over the last few weeks will make them a stronger team". I thought they played well and made it hard for us.

"England have reason to cry because they were so close to [reaching the World Cup final], but they have also have reason to be optimistic", Manchester United boss Mourinho told RT.

Croatia's legs at the start seemed to carry the weight of so many minutes in the knockout stage, and a pressing England went up quickly.

"I said this tournament would be won by teams with character who execute on the pitch as their coach shows them. We have had a fantastic journey, further than we thought", he added. And I think we need to take full credit for that because we've changed that.

"All these words from them we take, we were reading, and we were saying, 'Ok, today we will see who will be exhausted.' They should be more humble and respect more opponents". "For them to still be singing when we're seeing friends and families, chanting our names and singing the manager's name, is completely different". They now have the chance to avenge that loss and become the ninth nation to win a World Cup final.

England can soothe itself with realistic hopes of World Cup success in the near future.

Captain Harry Kane, who leads the race for the tournament's golden boot with six goals, commented on how England have managed to get fans back on their side.

Local fans are now gearing up for the final match against France on Sunday.

England had got off to a flying start when Trippier curled a superb free kick into the top corner in the opening minutes.