England’s World Cup dreams came to a crushing end after Croatia rallied to prevent Gareth Southgate’s men reaching the country’s first final in 52 years.
Football will not be coming home at the end of an extraordinary summer after the Three Lions’ hopes of replicating the heroes of 1966 were extinguished in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium semi-final.
Kieran Trippier’s exceptional early free-kick had England dreaming of facing France on Sunday, but Croatia will line-up in their first World Cup final after Ivan Perisic levelled and Mario Mandzukic struck to secure a 2-1 extra-time win.
Utterly choked, but this young side gave absolutely everything. It’s a huge step forward and they’ll only get better in the future. They can hold their heads high, they did our country proud. Congratulations to Croatia.
Perisic’s header in extra-time, which seemed to be a non-threatening ball into the England penalty area, turned into the match-winning assist as England’s defence froze to allow Mandzukic to sneak in behind and win the game for Croatia.
The Tottenham full-back once again shone in this England set-up and his goal gave the Three Lions hope of reaching their first World Cup final since 1966. His own game ended in a similar fashion to England’s tournament as he limped off injured in the closing period of extra-time while his team-mates tried – and ultimately failed – to get back into the game.
Trippier’s free-kick was not only his maiden England goal but was his first goal of any kind since he scored for Tottenham against Watford on February 6, 2016 – 886 days ago.
FORMATIONS // #CROENG
Croatia: Danijel Subasic 6, Sime Vrsaljko 7, Dejan Lovren 7, Domagoj Vida 7, Ivan Strinic 7, Marcelo Brozovic 6, Ivan Rakitic 6, Luka Modric 7, Ivan Perisic 8, Ante Rebic 8, Mario Mandzukic 7.
Subs: Josip Pivaric (for Strinic, 95) 6, Andrej Kramaric (for Rebic, 101) 5, Vedran Corluka (for Mandzukic, 115) 5, Milan Badelj (for Modric, 119,) 5.
England: Jordan Pickford 6, Kyle Walker 6, John Stones 6, Harry Maguire 6, Kieran Trippier 7, Jordan Henderson 7, Ashley Young 5, Jesse Lingard 6, Dele Alli 6, Raheem Sterling 6, Harry Kane 6.
Subs: Marcus Rashford (for Sterling, 74) 6, Danny Rose (for Young, 90) 5, Eric Dier (for Henderson, 97) 5, Jamie Vardy (for Walker, 112) 5.
The 2018 FIFA #WorldCupFinal:
🇫🇷 @FrenchTeam vs @HNS_CFF 🇭🇷#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/r7EwuZXLpw
France v Croatia, World Cup final, July 15.
Belgium v England, World Cup third-place play-off, July 14.