England’s Dreams Shattered By Croatia In A Tight Semi-Final At The Luzhniki Stadium

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New Delhi:Croatian resolve put paid to England’s dreams in a tight semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium as ZlatkoDalic’s side came back from a goal down and rode on an extra-time winner from Mario Mandzukic to beat Gareth Southgate’s men 2-1 to book their place in the final of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in their history.

In a game that drew the highest ever English attendance in the tournament so far, Southgate’s team got off to a dream start.Pressing high up the pitch, Dele Alli was brought down by Luka Modric just outside the penalty box in the fourth minute of the game.

Kieran Trippier’s free kick couldn’t have been more incisive as his right-footed curler flew straight into the top corner of the Croatian net with goalkeeper DanijelSubasic a mere spectator.From there on, England controlled the opening half. Harry Maguire had two heading opportunities from set-pieces but failed to make the most of them.

Raheem Sterling, playing as the furthest player up the pitch for England, with skipper Harry Kane just behind, started causing a few problems at the back for Croatia.DejanLovren almost had an early bath in the game but escaped two possible bookable offences after fouls on Kane and Sterling.

With Dele Alli providing cover for Jordan Henderson in midfield and the tireless Jesse Lingard dropping back when out of possession, Luka Modric wasn’t having much of a say from his deep playmaking role.

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