Mario Mandzukic´s extra-time strike helped Croatia to edge past England 2-1 to book their first ever World Cup finals spot today at Moscow.
England made a brilliant start of the match earning a free kick and Kieran Trippier curled it at the top of the right side of the net to hand The Three Lions the lead in the 5th minute of the game.
The Three Lions were dominating throughout the first session as they kept the pressure mounting on Croatia. Towards the half, an hour mark Harry Kane was denied twice by Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic from a tight angle inside the box.
England´s lost the rhythm towards the end of a final minute of the first half and Croatia took advantage of it but could not produce the result.
Croatia came back strong in the second half and dominated the most of the proceeding and found the equalizer in the 68th minute through Ivan Perisic who raised his left leg to reach up to the ball before his marker, Walker, and diverted the ball towards the home past Jordan Pickford.
Perisic´s effort, two minutes later came off the post that could have put the Croatian ahead of England. Pickford was called into action once again in the 82nd minute who denied Marcelo Brozovic effort from the close range. The match headed to extra time.
In the 9th minute of the first half of extra time, Stones´ header on Trippier´s cross was headed away by Vrsaljko from in front of the goal.
Busy Pickford once again made a brilliant save to deny Mandzukic who was quick to react on Perisic´ header inside the box to tap the ball towards the net but Pickford was alert to through himself and denied.
However, spirited Croatian were not ready to give it and scored the crucial victory goal eleven minutes before the end of extra time. Perisic wins the header that falls inside the box and Mandzukick quickly smashes a powerful shot to beat The Three Lions.
Croatia will now take on France in the finals of the 2018 World Cup to be played on Sunday 15th July.
Croatia came from a goal down to book the place in the 2018 World Cup Final against France...
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