Croatia reach World Cup final as England pain goes on

Peter Crouch celebrates after pulling England level

Peter Crouch celebrates after pulling England level

The Croatian Football Federation are still to serve the second game of a two-match punishment imposed by UEFA in 2015.

Not only did he equalise with a fearless piece of finishing, he took full advantage of Walker's poor headed clearance to flick a header on for Mandzukic to swoop in and send Croatia to the final.

A peak audience of 1.05 million in Wales tuned in for England's World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia.

Kevin Trippier curled in a free kick for England in the fifth minute. What a time to score!

Looking back to last night's game, Dalic retained his belief that in spite of the "fast and slick and young England side" Croatia faced, his team 'had experience they could not match'.

But Croatia summoned the strength to come back in the second half, equalising through Ivan Perisic before Mario Mandzukic got the victor in the 109th minute.

In The Red Lion, supporters continued to chant "It's coming home".

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To go from being derided as a bit useless to being in the final of both the Champions League and World Cup final in the space of a month is pretty good going, and that's exactly what's happened for Dejan Lovren.

While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded.

Perisic should have added another when given a great shooting chance but he cannoned the ball against a post as England's defence began to lose shape.

The extra-time defeat will hurt for a long time, England striker Harry Kane said.

But it was Croatia who struck the killer blow when Perisic won a header on the edge of the box, England lost concentration and the ball dropped for Mandzukic, whose firm low finish beat Jordan Pickford. Some of these big matches, you just have to go through them and live them to know how to react in the right moments in the right way.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric also pulled the strings cleverly in midfield and when the disappointment fades for England they might take consolation from the fact they were beaten by a technically gifted side. "Now, we might look back and think "if only".

'It's time to hold our heads high as a nation and be proud of each other. "We can mix our sadness that they fell short with a genuine hope that this summer of love under a manager who has surpassed all expectations was more than just a quick fling".

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