Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final

Croatia rallies past England to reach World Cup final

There were a range of feelings across Scotland on Wednesday night, before, during and after England's 2-1 extra-time defeat to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.

With England making it to the World Cup semifinal for the first time since 1990, the fans started believing that the trophy will be "coming home".

"It hurts now but when we look back, there are positives we can take and experiences we can learn from". But if anything, the grueling lead-up to the clash against England solidified Croatia's mental toughness, which served the Croats well on Wednesday.

While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems. England has scored 9 goals from set-pieces. "So tonight we weren't quite there, but the team will be stronger for that".

The thinking was that if all players had left the field of play, the opposing team would be allowed to kick-off with only the goalkeeper left to defend the goal. They became the aggressors, pushing the attack and threatening several times when England's defense seemed to relax. In extra-time nobody wanted to be substituted. In the 109th minute, Perisic struck again.

It turned out to be the winning score. The country still has not made it to the final since 1966, the only time that England won the tournament.

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Neither team came to Russian Federation being heralded as favourites but they have produced performances throughout the competition which have shown they were underestimated by the pundits.

"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face. It's been a fantastic journey.

The Three Lions' journey to the penultimate stage of the tournament has seen victories over Panama and Tunisia in Group G, as well as wins over Colombia and Sweden in the knockout stages.

"If I was in charge of the FA there would be no doubt that I would keep Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland in their jobs and give them the chance to take the team to the next Euros and the next World Cup".

Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Eric Dier of England are dejected following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between England and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

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