FIFA SEMIFINALS – MATCH 2
It’s Day 2 of the Semifinal edition in Russia as the Luzhniki Stadium gears up for the second semifinal clash between Croatia and England. This promises to be an exciting encounter as England would be looking out for a breakthrough into the finals since 1966. Croatia has never entered the World Cup finals, the last time they came close to being there was in 1998 against France where they lost 2-1.
This would be the eighth clash between these two teams where England has had the upper hand winning 4 of these encounters, whereas Croatia have won 2 of them, the remainders ending withdraws. This would definitely be the match to look out as both the teams would be looking out to enter the Grand Stage of the finals.
The match kicked off with England pulling the strings from the start, within the first five minutes into the game, England scored the opening goal. The No. 12 midfielder Kevin Trippier scored a brilliant free-kick from the distance of 20 yards and the Croatians are definitely stunned by this. This is his very first goal by a direct freekick since David Beckham scored one in the 2006 World Cup against Ecuador. Croatia doesn’t seem to be sitting tight as they make attempts for an equalizer. In the 32nd minute, Ante Rebic tried scoring but missed out by a couple of inches from the goal post. By the end of the first half England look to be in a commanding position as they have the lead.
Unfortunately, that streak was about to be broken by the Croatians as they make a voracious comeback in the second half. In the 68th minute of the game, Ivan Perisic cuts off Kyle Walker with a beautiful assist from Šime Vrsaljko and off the reach of Pickford to score a fantastic equalizer, the Croatians are back in the game. Perisic has now scored 4 goals in this World Cup and that’s saying something. The game went throughout the second half as both teams look for the kill with neither getting any. The second half ended with a goal apiece from both the teams and the game would be going for the extra time.
The game begins with 2 substitutions from Croatia and a substitution from England as the teams battle it out for the lead. And finally, the Croatians have the last laugh as they score the leading goal putting the English jeopardy. Mario Mandzukic fires off a stunning header off an assist from Perisic himself. Pickford is unable to save the doom of his team and hands the Croatians the reason to celebrate. With the sound of the final whistle, there are tears everywhere, tears of shock as England bow out yet again, tears of joy from the Croatians as they storm into the finals for the first time ever. It’s a moment of joy for the Croatians as they will look to bury the ghosts of 1998 when they were beaten by the French in the semis. The final will be played on the 15th of July, 2018 and it will be the one to look out for.