Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Rakitic overcame 39-degree fever to star for Croatia against England

Rakitic overcame 39-degree fever to star for Croatia against England

But Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute, sweeping the ball low past Pickford after Perisic's header back into the area caught the England defense on the hop.

"But we handled it well, but unfortunately we conceded at the wrong time, after that I thought we again picked it up again and done well".

"We created some good chances when we were 1-0 up, maybe we dropped a little too deep but we didn't get enough pressure on the ball".

Josip Pivaric of Croatia celebrates his Fifa World Cup semifinal win over England. It's enjoyable, we all love to play the game and fans love to support it. He knows what to say at the right time.

Croatia now have the chance to win their first World Cup final when they face France in the final at 3am on Monday, NZ Time.

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England's last appearance at this stage was in 1990 when they lost in a penalty shootout to West Germany in Turin. Win or lose, both teams will play two more games in the tournament.

A late Croatia onslaught was unable to complete the turnaround and England stepped things up again in extra-time, nearly retaking the lead when John Stones had a header cleared off the line by Vrsaljko in the 98th minute.

However, they have taken a gruelling route to the final and the French will be warm favourites.

England players were shattered at the result.

"England of course have a reason to cry but they also have a reason to be optimistic", the Portuguese told Russia Today.

GOALS: Trippier 5′, Perisic 68′, Mandzukic 109′.

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Croatia took over the match after the equalizer and England rarely produced any scoring threats the rest of the way as the midfield of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic had the Three Lions running in circles.

About 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored, defender Sime Vrsaljko headed a shot on target off the goal line to keep the score tied.

Midfielder Modric said the team had been motivated by people saying they would be "tired" after their previous two matches went to penalty shootouts.

Croatia will face France in Sunday's final (4pm) as they look for their first taste of glory on the worldwide stage.

Although Walker described the players as "absolutely gutted" to miss out on a place in the World Cup final, he said they could take great encouragement from the emotional scenes at the end of Wednesday night's defeat against Croatia, when England fans showed their respect for the team's performances in Russian Federation by staying behind to applaud the players and singing their names.

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Beckham and Sir Geoff Hurst, though, defended Sterling's displays after the quarter-final win against Sweden. And this could benefit England if Sterling makes the most of the space presented to him.

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