Croatia reach final as England throw it away

Gareth Southgate England 2018 FIFA World Cup Croatia

"So for them to go back to their country and take a nation like Croatia to the World Cup final is something awesome".

Perisic went extremely close to giving Croatia the lead a few minutes later but his curling shot struck the bottom of the far post and was cleared by England, who were now hanging on.

But Croatia came out for the second-half on top of the Three Lions, and equalised with a goal from the outstanding Ivan Perisic.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford goes to ground as Sime Vrsaljko of Croatia runs by celebrating victory in their Fifa World Cup semifinal in Moscow. We thought we were just good enough, we thought we could have done that.

It was England's first goal scored directly from a free-kick at the World Cup since Beckham's victor against Ecuador in 2006, and the team's 12th goal of the competition - surpassing the 11 they netted en route to lifting the trophy 1966.

"They should be more humble and respectful".

"It's been great to get to this stage and we know we've done everyone proud but we wanted to go on and win it".

However, they have taken a gruelling route to the final and the French will be warm favourites.

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Despite the much-vaunted attack of teenager Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, France's defense proved the difference as they shut down Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku and they showed they will be hard to beat on Sunday. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems. It is highly unlikely the first trophy in your career is going to be the World Cup.

Jesse Lingard brilliantly found Dele Alli on the edge of the box, and when the Spurs man was fouled it presented a ideal opportunity for either Trippier or Ashley Young to take an early pot at goal.

Kieran Trippier's early free kick gave them the lead, but Ivan Perisic pushed the match into an additional period, in which Mario Mandzukic became the decisive factor. "They underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake".

Vrsaljko, who plays for Atletico Madrid, had struggled to be ready for the match after playing in two previous extra-time matches, but he found the strength to lift his exhausted, battered team to a comeback win.

England and Belgium clash at the Krestovsky Stadium Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, one day before the World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday.

In Moscow, Croatia fans said they were taken aback by their side's win.

England players collapsed on the pitch, distraught as the Croatians and their fans celebrated wildly, .

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