Croatia beats England to qualify for their first World Cup final

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England had led through Kieran Trippier's free-kick but Ivan Perisic levelled the scores as Croatia dominated after half time.

Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia after 70 minutes to force extra-time, and a goal from Mario Mandzukic at 109 minutes ended the Three Lions' hopes. Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 2-1 decision in the second half of extra time.

England manager Gareth Southgate addressed his players and staff at their base in Repino on Thursday following their crushing World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia. If Croatia played good football they might just get that.

With his first global goal, just over a year after his England debut, the 27-year-old Trippier joined David Beckham as the only English players since 1966 to score on free kicks at the World Cup.

The quarter-final against Sweden saw England triumph with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden, setting up Wednesday's semi-final against Croatia.

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Croatia have been taken to penalties twice in the knockout stages and again had to endure extra time against England.

- The opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play.

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Sam, a local from Southampton said it best: "We are playing very well in this World Cup and although it is going to be hard I am confident that we will reach the final, I have been dreaming all my life with this moment". "It's been a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone else thought we would have", he added.

But just when it looked as if they would become the first team to appear in three shootouts at a single World Cup, Mandzukic struck with a well-taken low shot.

"The all-round perception was that this is a new-look England who have changed their ways of punting long-balls upfield", Vrsaljko said.

World Cup Daily: Croatia's dream goes on while England wake up.

The win sent tens of thousands of French people pouring onto the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris in scenes of joy last seen when France won the World Cup two decades ago.

With such a youthful squad taking part in Russian Federation, there is clearly a hope that Wednesday's semi-final defeat won't be the last time that this group of players contest the latter stages of a major tournament.

France can be crowned world champions for the second time in their history on Sunday and now lead the Euro 2020 betting at 4/1 (5.0).

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