England paid dearly for underestimating Croatia - Abiodun Obafemi

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The Olympic gold medalist is unsatisfied with the Three Lions display, arguing that they missed a final spot for underrating the Croats

England’s dreams of winning their second World Cup title were dashed by Croatia and the 1996 Olympic gold medalist Abiodun Obafemi claims they were responsible for their 2-1 semi-final loss.

The Three Lions were on the brink of reaching their first World Cup final since 1966 thanks to Kieran Trippier's first-half free-kick but Ivan Perisic’s second-half effort plus Mario Mandzukic’s extra time finish halt the quest of Gareth Southgate's men.

And the former Nigeria defender believes Zlatko Dalic’s men were in superb form and fully deserved to advance to their first World Cup final at the expense of England.

“Croatia were very superb against England and deserved to be in the final of the World Cup,” Obafemi told Goal.

“Though they didn't play according to my expectations in the first half. Maybe they were playing to instructions and very conservative in the first half.

“I think based on their experience so far, Croatia put in more energy in the second half and earmarked ten for the extra-time which really worked for them, seeing the way they scored their winning goal. I believed they outrightly deserved to be in the final.

On what they did not do enough, the 44-year-old feels Southgate’s side underrated Vatreni, stressing that they failed to take their opportunities when they had it.

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“The England I saw against Croatia were not the team I was expecting to see.  They did not play to their full potential and seem to be satisfied with their only goal,” he continued.

“With the calibre of players they paraded, I was expecting them to go for the second and third goal because those chances were there for them. I think that they (England) underestimated Croatia and they were just satisfied sitting back, holding the ball and lose it carelessly.

“They played as if a goal was enough and that their tactics were working until Croatia got their equaliser. They paid dearly for underrating them. Overall, I think both teams have done well and surpassed all expectations, regardless of how the game ended and how they finish in the competition, they both deserved some accolades."

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