Gareth Southgate’s English side were arguably the biggest surprise package of this year’s FIFA World Cup. Coming into their semifinal clash against Croatia, the 1966 World Champions were looking to achieve a feat of greatness, as they looked forward to overcoming the resilient challenge possessed by Croatia.
However, that wasn’t the case to be and despite a strong outing in the Luzhinki Stadium, Harry Kane and co suffered a disappointing defeat by the end of 120 minutes.
After two nerve-wracking penalty shootout wins against Denmark and host Russia, Croatia have now reached their first World Cup final following a dramatic 2-1 win over England in the second semi final.
England initially started off the match in a tremendous manner when Keiran Trippier scored a delightful free kick within the first five minutes to give his side the lead and following a dominant first half performance, England headed into the break with a score of 1-0 as they completely outplayed Croatia in the first 45 minutes.
However, the story of the second half was a lot different, as Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic inspired a comeback for his nation scoring the equalizing goal in the 68th minute.
What followed next was an exciting bit of final 20 minutes as both teams headed into Extra Time with the scores level at 1-1.
As the match restarted it seemed like we were apparently heading towards yet another penalty shootout and despite a major, crucial save from Jordan Pickford, it was Croatian number 9 Mario Mandzukic who scored the winning goal via a sublime finish in the 109th minute to take his team to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Positives for Croatia:
Croatia’s bench strength is definitely a big advantage for them and the performance of Ivan Perisic goes on to show how the squad depth of this amazing Croatian side.
Negatives for Croatia:
The performances of Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric were really lackluster and the two men couldn’t perform mostly due to being fatigued.
Positives for England:
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has arguably been England’s main man in midfield throughout this WC campaign and his crucial performance against Croatian captain Luka Modric was rock solid. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling also had a good outing as he got a few crucial touches in the first half of the match and Red Devil Marcus Rashford had a solid impact from the bench as well, unlike his teammate Jesse Lingard.
Negatives for England:
The frontline performances of Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane were indeed very disappointing, as both men failed to create or convert any of their potential chances.