Croatia 2-1 England
(Perisic 68′, Mandzukic 109’— Trippier 5′)
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Croatia on Wednesday qualified for their first World Cup final after dispatching England in their semifinal.
Mario Mandzukic, making his 88th appearance in a Croatia shirt, scored the deciding goal in the second half of extra time. Ivan Perisic, who set up Mandzukic’s winner, was involved in both of Croatia’s goals.
“This is a miracle. Only great teams can be as brave as we were and fight back from a goal down against teams like England,” Mandzukic said afterwards. “We’ve played our hearts out throughout the tournament. I am happy with my performances so far, but I am here for the team. We were like lions out there tonight and we will be the same in the final.”
The win was Croatia’s third consecutive victory in extra time or from penalties. Croatia defeated Denmark and Russia in penalty shootouts in the previous two knockout rounds.
Power from Perisic
Kieran Trippier gave England the lead after just five minutes when he buried a free kick from just outside the box — England’s sixth set piece goal in the tournament. But Ivan Perisic leveled the score in the second half, tapping in a Sime Vrsaljko cross from the right. The teams headed to extra time level at one all.