Mandzukic sends England home empty handed in World Cup semifinal extra time

Croatia will compete in their first ever World Cup final after beating England 2-1 in extra time of the semifinal.

Croatia's players celebrate with the fans after their win in the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.  Picture: AFP

Star striker Mario Mandzukic scored deep into extra time to earn Croatia a hard fought 2-1 win over England in the World Cup semi-final to set up an exciting final against France in Moscow on Sunday.

England were the first to get on the scoresheet when they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the penalty box after Luka Modric fouled Delle Ali. Up stepped the Tottenham Hotspurs fullback Kieran Trippier and curled a beautiful ball past a sprawling Daniel Subasic to give England an early lead.

Gareth Southgate’s men dominated the first half proceedings as they went into the half time break a goal to the good.

Croatia come out in the second half a much better outfit and it didn’t take too long for them to find the equalizer. Ante Rebic’s delightful ball into the box was met by the foot of Ivan Perisic who steered it neatly past Jordan Pickford and into the back of the net.

The Three Lions had never won a World Cup semifinal outside of England, with the only time they reached a final was in 1966 on home soil.

Perisic’s goal sent proceedings into extra time as both sides couldn’t find a winner after the full-time whistle.

It was the third time in this World Cup campaign that Croatia would go into extra time while it was England’s second visit to the 120 minute mark.

The Juventus striker was the quickest to react in the box after a headed ball bobbled into his path and he finished with aplomb to send Croatia through to the final against France.