England edged out in World Cup semi-final after agonising defeat by Croatia

The five main talking points after the agony of England's World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia...

Wednesday 11 Jul 2018
England's World Cup dream came to an end in the semi-final as Croatia beat them 2-1 after extra time

Lions' Pride

England’s World Cup dream was brought to an end in Moscow, as extra-time heartache struck in the Luzhniki Stadium where Croatia struck late to seal a 2-1 win and a place in Sunday’s Final with France. The Three Lions, who now face Belgium on Saturday to decide third place, will return home with pride after a summer adventure which has lifted the whole nation with their approach, application and attitude. Manager Gareth Southgate urged his players before the start of the tournament to write their own history in Russia, and that’s exactly what they have done by reaching England's first semi-final in 28 years as well as a first penalty shootout victory in the last-16 clash with Colombia. And with one of the youngest squads in the competition and only five players in the group having experienced a World Cup before, there’s plenty to look forward to as this group grows and develops further in the future.

Croatia 2-1 England
  • FIFA 2018 World Cup
  • Semi-final
  • Wednesday 11 July 2018
  • Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
  • Live on ITV

Tripp hits the mark

Kieran Trippier has been one of England’s key men in the World Cup, both in open play and from set-pieces. He came close against both Tunisia and Panama in the group stages from free-kicks and was the coolest man in Moscow last week when he despatched a crucial spot-kick in the shootout win over Colombia. And he scored his first goal for England in fine style after just five minutes to give the Three Lions an early lead here. After Dele had been clumsily tripped by Luka Modric 25 yards from goal, his Spurs team-mate took the honours and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner and beyond the helpless Danijel Subasic. 

Trippier steps up to open the scoring with just five minutes on the clock

Second chances

England had opportunities to double their advantage before the break too. Harry Kane beat the offside trap to latch onto a pass from Dele in the box only for Subasic to make a good save. The ball came back to him, but from a tight angle his low shot struck the post, then Subasic's leg before diverting over the bar. Kane and Alli then combined again, this time to tee up Jesse Lingard whose shot was just wide of the post as the Three Lions looked to make the most of their early control of the game.

Croatian comeback

After a first half when England could consider themselves unfortunate not to have been more than a goal to the good, Croatia emerged for the second half with renewed vigour. And after a concerted build-up of possession and pressure, they drew level in the 68th minute when Sime Vrsaljko’s right-wing cross was met by the boot of Ivan Perisic to guide a volley past Jordan Pickford. And the powerful winger almost put his nation ahead moments later when his angled, low shot bounced back off the post before Ante Rebic’s follow-up was straight at Pickford.

Mario Mandzukic strikes home Croatia's winning goal in extra time

Extra time agony

With the game level after 90 minutes, an extra 30 minutes were needed and England came closest in the first half when John Stones’ header from a Trippier corner was cleared off the line by the excellent Vrsaljko. At the other end, Pickford made a stunning save with a point-blank block to deny Mario Mandzukic from Perisic’s cross. Croatia found the killer goal in the early stages of the second period though, when Perisic guided a hopeful back-header into the area, which Mandzukic was onto in a flash to wrap his foot around it and pick out the bottom corner to break English hearts.

England's starting line-up for the 2018 World Cup semi-final

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England: 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton), 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester City), 7 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), 8 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) (c), 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 12 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), 18 Ashley Young (Manchester United), 20 Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)

Substitutes: 19 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) for Sterling 74, 3 Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) for Young 91, 4 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) for Henderson 97

Substitutes not used: 11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), 13 Jack Butland (Stoke City), 14 Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), 15 Gary Cahill (Chelsea), 16 Phil Jones (Manchester United), 17 Fabian Delph (Manchester City), 21 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), 22 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 23 Nick Pope (Burnley)

Manager: Gareth Southgate

Goals: Kieran Trippier 5

Cautions: Kyle Walker 55

By Nicholas Veevers