Croatia beat England in extra-time semifinal thriller

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Kieran Trippier's maiden global goal fired England ahead early in Moscow, but Ivan Perisic levelled in the second half before Mandzukic sent Croatia through to a showdown against France on Sunday.

Stones for England came close in the first period when his header from a corner was headed off the line from Vrsaljko but Mandzukic would have the chance of the first period but Pickford brilliantly saved from close-range after the Juventus striker met Perisic's cross.

Gareth Southgate consistently downplayed the euphoria in his team in the build-up, and for a while England gave every indication they were going to take charge of their own destiny, as Trippier found the net with a delightful free-kick in the fifth minute.

Because for all the love this young and dynamic England team has earned - and earn it they did - in taking a country badly in need of some good news on the global stage on an unforgettable ride over the last month, reaching their first World Cup semifinal in nearly 30 years, there's no guarantee they'll get a better chance to play for a major title.

This was a first semi-final at any event for England since 1996; for Croatia, it was their first foray into the last four since the fabled team of World Cup 1998. Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match.

Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic celebrates (L) and England's Harry Kane looks dejected (R) after the World Cup Semi-Final match against England in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2018.

Dalic added: "We deserved to reach the final".

"We let the centre-halves play".

Its previous two games went to extra time and then emotionally draining penalty shootouts.

Ivan Perisic levelled after 68 minutes and, having got past Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties, Croatia rolled up their sleeves for another extra period.

"It's tough, we're gutted", he said.

"We had some good chances, never put them away, and I feel like if we got that goal before half-time or in the first 15 of the second half we might have had that opportunity to win the game".

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.

In Gareth Southgate, England have a manager who has brought new vigor to the national team setup, and who has managed to transform a side who crashed out to minnows Iceland at Euro 2016 into World Cup semifinalists. Croatia joined an exclusive club of 13 nations that advanced to a World Cup final, doing it in a tournament where powers Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain made early exits. You see all the fans out in the park to see them. "I will get more attention and it won't be easy to go out for meals if I am in certain places but it won't change my view on the world or the things I attempt to do".

"Any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation".