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The result of Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia was always going to be historic.

For England, it was the chance to return to the final for the first time since its legendary 1966 victory; for Croatia, it was a chance at its first World Cup final ever.

Ultimately, Croatia made it through, recovering from a brutal first half to forge a path to victory 2-1 in extra time.

England began the first half in truly dominant fashion. A free kick in the fifth minute near Croatia’s box gave Kieran Trippier an early goal — an arcing shot that soared over Croatia’s wall, so good Croatian goalie Danijel Subasic could only shrug.

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In the subsequent minutes, England earned multiple penalties, but failed to transform its famed set pieces into subsequent goals. Croatia’s form improved as the half drew on, but after more failed attempts on goal both sides, the teams went into half-time 1-0 to England.

In the second half, everything changed. Croatia’s Perisic scored a goal in the 68th minute — a high kick that England’s spectacular Jordan Pickford was unable to block — and the momentum shifted completely. Suddenly, Croatia was dominant, crowding England’s box again and again, with the English squad scrambling to prevent Croatia taking the lead. Pickford, suddenly, was fored to take a far more active role in the game.

In the 90th minute, England was granted a free kick just yards from Croatia’s penalty box, but Trippier’s shot to Kane’s head failed to make it to the back of the net. Croatia pushed back in the dying moments of the second half, but Perisic’s attempt failed to land Croatia the last-minute win it so desperately wanted.

In the ninth minute of extra time, a corner gave England’s Stones a glorious header on …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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