By Johnny Edward:
Croatia qualified for their first ever final after defeating England 2-1 in their semi-final clash of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow on Wednesday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Mario Mandzukic scored in 109th minute of extra time to seal the win for Croatia.
Kieran Trippier opened scoring for the Three Lions with free kick after five minutes.
Ivan Perisic drew Croatia level in the second half.
Croatia will face France in Sunday’s final, while Belgium and England will fight for the third place on Saturday
England troubled Croatia with their pace in the opening minutes of the game with Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard all finding spaces behind the Croats defence.
In the fifth minute, Croatia conceded a free kick at the edge of the box after Luka Modric’s clumsy tackle on Lingard.
Trippier stepped up and curled in his shot past Danijel Subasic.
England had chances to double their lead but Sterling, Lingard and Harry Kane all missed.
Croatia also had opportunity to draw level through Ante Rebic but his shot was fired straight at Jordan Pickford.
Croatia were rattled in defence and that forced them in making too many errors in their defensive line during the latter stages of this first half.
Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had rare chances to draw Croatia level before half time but they wasted their opportunities.
ln the second half, Croatia added more urgency to their game and they started carving out chances to score but Mario Mandzukic, Perisic missed the initial opportunity they had.
Perisic drew Croatia level in the 68th minute after he had hit the post with a shot.
The Juventus striker stabbed in Sime Vrsaljko from the right flank his 20th international goal for Croatia.
With extra time looming Perisic threatened with another attempt at goal.
In extra time, John Stones saw his goal bound header cleared off the line by Rakitic.
Mandzukic scored the winner for Croatia inbthe 109th minute capitalizing on a poor clearance from the English defence.