An inspired late goal by Mario Mandzukic was all it took for Croatia to beat England and reach their first World Cup finals in a keenly contested game played Wednesday at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.
Croatia who were winning their 6th straight game in the tournament became the 13th different country to reach the finals of world’s biggest football showpiece after coming back from an early Kieran Trippier wonder strike in the sixth minute off a freekick from a Dele Alli foul at the edge of their box.
But the English would lose the plot as the game wore on to gift the Croatians an equaliser which would serve as the tonic for the team from the Balkans to regain control and go on to win in the second period of extra time.
At the end, it was the experience of the Croatians that counted as Ivan Perisic’s 68th-minute equaliser proved the crucial lifesaver for Zlatko Dalic’s men.
The victory now pitches Croatia against France in Sunday’s final, while the Three Lions will clash with Belgium the second in the tournament for the third place match on Saturday.