Croatia 2-1 England: Croatia Advances to World Cup Final for First Time Ever

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Croatia Advances to World Cup Final

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (July 11, 2018) — Croatia doesn’t give up.

The former Yugoslavia-carved country sent all of their knockout round matches to extra time. However, matches against Russia and Demark went to penalties.

The story was only slightly different against England.

The match didn’t go to penalties but did manage to include extra time. However, it was Croatia who would surprise soccer fans with a 2-1 victory against the Three Lions.

As a result, Croatia will appear in its first-ever FIFA World Cup final.

Croatia 2-1 England: Croatia Advances to World Cup Final for First Time Ever

Despite an early fifth minute goal from Kieran Trippier, Croatia continued to battle. England came close to doubling their lead twice in the first half, off the boot of Harry Kane. However, Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subašić made two game-saving blocks.

Subašić finished regular-time action with zero saves. However, Jordan Pickford made three saves for England in regular-time.

Ivan Perisic found the equalizer in the 68th minute for Croatia. He almost took the lead minutes later with a shot that hit off the right post.

Missed opportunities were the name of England’s game in the second half. The match featured a strong half from England and then a strong half for Croatia. A tale of two halves finished with a final score of 1-1.

Then, extra time — the third-straight extra time match for Croatia — began.

Extra Time

Neither side was able to find the back of the net in the first half of extra time.

However, Pickford made an athletic stop, using his leg, against Mario Mandžukić. Mandžukić took the worse end of the collision with the Three Lions goalkeeper.

Minutes later, Mandžukić continued in the match — and made the most of it.

Scoring his 32nd goal for the Croatian National Team, Mandžukić scored the game-winning goal in the 109th minute.

After a few more attempts from England — and one save from Subašić — the dream of “bringing it home” for England faltered. England’s best opportunity came from a set piece in the 118th minute.

However, a goal kick was awarded to Subašić and Croatia.

What’s Next: The Final

In their first-ever World Cup final, Croatia will take on France.

France defeated Belgium by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday. The lone goal for Les Bleus was scored by centerback Samuel Umtiti, who features at the club level for FC Barcelona.

Umtiti’s goal was the third of his international career.

The final for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held on Sunday, July 15, in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Kick off is slated for 11 a.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Belgium and England will face off in the Third Place match on Saturday, July 14 in St. Petersburg. Kick off is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.

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Rachael McKriger is a sports journalist covering the U.S. Women's National Team, NWSL and Seattle Sounders FC for Last Word on Soccer. A 2018 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, McKriger is the Central Region writer for the Women's Premier Soccer League, as well as a site editor for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. McKriger covers Steel City FC and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now. She is currently attending Point Park University for her Master's degree in Media Communication.

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