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Croatia v England Live Commentary, 12/7/18

2 - 1
I. Perišić (68)
M. Mandžukić (109)
K. Trippier (5)
Stadion Luzhniki
(FT 1 - 1)


Thanks for joining our commentary this evening. Until next time, goodbye.
It should be an enthralling battle between France and Croatia in the final. England have played above expectations in the World Cup, but will have to settle for a third-place playoff showdown against Belgium.
It was looking good for England when Kieran Trippier curled a free-kick into the top corner in the fifth minute of the contest. However, they failed to capitalise on their chances in the first period and were made to pay as Croatia controlled the second half. Ivan Perisic deservedly notched an equaliser and came close to a second when he struck the post. John Stones almost turned the match back in the favour of the Three Lions, but his header was cleared off the line. A lapse at the back allowed Mandzukic to score early into the second period of extra-time to send Croatia through.
Mario Mandzukic's strike in the second half of extra-time allows Croatia to advance to the World Cup final for the first time in their history. It was a close contest, but Zlatko Dalic's men displayed the clinical edge in the final third to secure their final berth where they will take on France.
120' + 4' Croatia clear their lines as Rashford's delivery is headed away.
120' + 4' England have a free-kick for a handball. Last chance saloon.
120' + 3' Pivaric floats a hopeful cross into the box, failing to take it into the corner. Pickford gathers and England come forward.
120' + 1' Lingard floats a lofted ball into the box, but Subasic gathers the ball with ease ahead of Kane.
120' There will be four minutes of added time.
120' Kramaric has the chance to end the game for Croatia as he has Perisic unmarked in the box, but he goes for goal himself and blasts his strike into the side-netting.
M. Badelj
L. Modrić
119' Modric makes way for Badelj.
117' Rashford sends the ball into the box and Maguire competes it for alongside Lovren. It skims the head of Lovren and goes out. The referee awards a goal-kick to Croatia.
116' Alli goes down and wins England a free-kick.
V. Ćorluka
M. Mandžukić
115' Corluka replaces Mandzukic for Croatia to tighten up the backline.
114' Croatia are doing their utmost to take time out of the game. Every second counts at this stage.
113' England probe on the edge of the box, but Kane loses possession at a vital moment.
J. Vardy
K. Walker
112' Walker makes way for Vardy as England reach desperation stakes.
I. Perišić
109' Perisic nods the ball on into the final third and Mandzukic latches on to the ball before firing home.
M. Mandžukić
109' GOALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! MANDZUKIC FIRES HOME!!!! 2-1!!!! Croatia take the lead as England fall asleep at the back. A simple header allows Mandzukic to drift in behind Stones before he slots his strike beyond the reach of Pickford. The striker held his composure in a vital moment to beat Pickford with a low strike. Croatia are closing in on a place in the final.
107' CHANCE! England fall asleep from the corner and Brozovic latches on to the pass from Modric. However, the midfielder blasts his effort over the bar, losing his composure at the vital moment.
107' Strinic wins a corner off the legs of Walker. Croatia have a set-piece in a threatening position.
106' We're back underway in Moscow.
Both teams are tiring as we enter the closing stages of game. There's 15 minutes left before penalties. Can anyone find a winner?
105' + 4' Croatia take too much time from the resulting corner and the referee blows as Strinic attempts to deliver.
105' + 2' WHAT A SAVE! Pickford denies Mandzukic. Perisic sends a dream of a pass into the feet of Mandzukic in the box. He expects to tap the ball past Pickford into the net, but the keeper is alert to the danger and spreads himself to make the vital block.
105' + 1' Kramaric meets a cutback from Perisic on the left flank, but he is denied by a vital block from Stones.
105' Kane wastes a good opportunity for England on the break as he overhits his pass out for a throw-in. He's been underwhelming in the contest.
104' England are tentative in the final third and are not finding the space they were in the opening 45 minutes of the contest.
102' Modric wastes a decent position for Croatia as he gives the ball away. However, he atones by making a crucial challenge on Rashford.
A. Kramarić
A. Rebić
101' Kramaric replaces Rebic for Croatia in attack.
101' Rashford slides in hard on Vrsaljko, who goes down with ease on the right flank. He wins Croatia a free-kick in a decent position.
99' OFF THE LINE! Stones rises highest in the box to head at goal from Trippier's cross into the box, but Vrsaljko is in the right place at the right time to head away from danger. A crucial header from the Croatia full-back.
98' Rose makes a surge into the box and cuts the ball back for Dier to strike. His effort is blocked by Brozovic and floats over the bar.
E. Dier
J. Henderson
97' Dier replaces the tiring Henderson for England in the midfield.
97' Trippier floats the ball into the box for the run of Maguire, but the referee awards a free-kick to Croatia for a foul against Mandzukic.
A. Rebić
Yellow Card
96' Rebic brings down Rose on the charge and he goes into the book.
J. Pivarić
I. Strinić
95' Pivaric replaces Strinic at left-back for Croatia.
93' Alli looks for space on the edge of the box, but his offload into the path of Lingard goes astray.
92' Rashford makes a good run down the right, but his progress is stymied by Strinic.
91' We're back underway in Moscow.
D. Rose
A. Young
91' Rose replaces Young for the Three Lions.
England were poor in the second half as they failed to combat Croatia's pressure. It built before Perisic found the equaliser to dent their hopes. Marcus Rashford made a slight impact off the bench, but Gareth Southgate will be mulling his options.
The match goes to extra-time. For the third time on the bounce in the knockout round Croatia head into additonal periods. They did it against Denmark and Russia can they do it again against England? Ivan Perisic cancelled out Kieran Trippier's strike with a fine effort in the second half. He could have put his side ahead, but was denied by the post. Croatia were on top towards the end of the match, but their energy levels could be key at this stage.
90' + 2' WIDE! Trippier whips the ball into the box from the free-kick, but Kane glances his header wide of the post. It was a half-chance as he pulled into space.
90' + 1' Rashford wins a free-kick for England on the right flank as Rakitic sends him tumbling to the ground. Trippier will delivery from the right flank.
90' There will be three minutes of added time.
89' Lovren loses his patience at the back from a Croatia attacking move as he goes the blockbuster from distance. However, he blasts his effort well over the bar.
87' Lingard chases a ball into the corner with Strinic, but the Croatia full-back gets the decision for the free-kick.
86' Kane sends an incisive pass towards Lingard in the final third, but his pass just evades the run of the Manchester United man in the box.
84' Croatia are a step ahead of England everywhere on the pitch at the moment. Dalic will be urging his men forward for the killer blow.
82' SAVE! Mandzukic drifts into space in the right inside channel to latch on to Brozovic's ball over the top. He goes for the blast at goal, only to be denied by a sharp save from Pickford.
80' Trippier struggles to deal with a pass back to him in his own half, but England manage to play their way out of their own half.
79' OVER! England counter punch as Rashford finds space on the left flank. He wriggles through a couple of challenges before teeing up Kane. The England captain finds Henderson, who opts against the strike. His pass into Lingard is deflected back to him and he goes for the volley, only to smash it over the bar.
77' Lingard peels into the right inside channel and goes for the low ball across the face of goal, but Kane and Alli are nowhere to be seen in the penalty area.
76' Vrsaljko has the freedom of the right flank and he is beginning to torment England with his deliveries into the box.
M. Rashford
R. Sterling
74' Sterling is withdrawn for Rashford to provide impetus.
72' Croatia are finding acres of space almost everywhere in the final third. England are on the ropes here and may have to alter their system.
70' OFF THE POST!! Perisic comes within inches of putting his side ahead. England are all over the place at the back as Stones fails to clear a dangerous ball forward. Perisic pulls the trigger on a left-footed strike, only to be denied by the post.
I. Perišić
68' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! PERISIC EQUALISES FOR CROATIA!!!!! 1-1!!!! Perisic gets in front of Walker at the cross and he guides his strike beyond the reach of Pickford into the bottom corner. Vrsaljko was afforded space and time on the right flank and he whipped the ball into the box. Perisic made a late run before he stuck his foot out ahead of Walker to steer his effort into bottom corner.
Š. Vrsaljko
68' Vrsaljko has space on the right flank and he whips a dangerous cross into the box that is guided beyond the reach of Pickford by Perisic.
67' Kane breaks into the right inside channel to latch on to Trippier's offload, but he blasts his strike into the side-netting.
65' Kane is able to ease the pressure on his team by winning a free-kick from Vrsaljko's challenge. Croatia are in the game now.
64' BLOCK! England are reeling at the back as Modric whips a cross into the box. It's cleared as far as Perisic on the edge and he goes for the blast. His effort looks to be heading towards the net, only for Walker to put his body on the line for the Three Lions to make the block.
63' Henderson releases Sterling in the final third and he tries to beat the challenge of Vida. He goes down under pressure from the defender's challenge. However, the referee waves play on.
62' Henderson slides a pass behind the Croatia backline for Lingard's run. Although he does not reach the ball, Vida puts the ball out for throw-in.
61' Croatia have found life in the second period, but need to improve their clinical edge in the final third.
59' Pickford comes off his line to punch clear from the resulting corner. Sterling then wins a free-kick to ease the pressure on the England backline.
58' Walker slices a clearance behind for a corner for Croatia. Dalic's men have upped the since the start of the second half.
57' Trippier is played down the right flank and he goes for the first-time cross into the box. Kane makes an attempt to go for a diving header, but Lovren is there with the covering challenge. He had to make that interception.
56' OVER! Kane knocks the ball back to Sterling, who tees up Lingard for a strike. Vida makes the block to divert the ball over the bar. However, England have a corner on the right flank.
K. Walker
Yellow Card
54' Walker has to provide a covering challenge once again down the left flank. He stops Croatia taking a quick throw-in and goes into the book.
53' Kane is brought down on the left flank by Vrsaljko, but the referee waves play on. Cakir has a let a few things go this evening.
52' Walker has to cover ground on the right flank to stop Rebic's run and the ball goes out for a throw-in.
51' Walker does well under pressure at the back to cope with Rebic's run over the top. The England man shields the ball out of play.
49' Strinic is loose with his offload down the left flank and he gives away possession clumsily to the Three Lions.
M. Mandžukić
Yellow Card
48' Mandzukic catches Walker with an loose arm and goes into the book.
47' Maguire misses an intervention in the box and it takes a sharp clearance and a brave header from Trippier to clear England's lines.
46' We're back underway in Moscow.
Only one of the previous 18 teams to be ahead at half-time in a World Cup semi final has failed to win (Italy in 1990 v Argentina, lost on penalties).
Croatia have been open at the back in the first period, which has played into England's hands. Due to being behind in the contest they need to come out on the front foot in the second half to at least apply pressure. England have been ropey when teams have put them under the cosh at the back. Zlatko Dalic's men need a response in the second half, especially from Mario Mandzukic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
England hold a 1-0 lead at the break over Croatia in this World Cup semi-final in Moscow thanks to Kieran Trippier's early strike. Trippier handed the Three Lions a dream start to the contest when he curled his free-kick into the top corner in the fifth minute. They have had chances to extend their advantage as Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard missed opportunities. At the other end Ante Rebic had a couple of moments, but Croatia have not looked a threat other brief flirtations around the box.
45' + 2' England fend off Modric's two attempts to send the ball into the box before Henderson and Alli get the ball away from danger.
45' + 1' Trippier blocks off the run of Strinic and hands Croatia a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
45' England lose their composure at the back and Rakitic almost punishes the Three Lions. However, Walker manages to get back to make the covering challenge.
43' OVER! Vrsaljko loses patience on a Croatia attack as he lines up a strike from distance from 35 yards, blasting his effort well over the bar.
41' England are just managing to dictate the battle in the middle of the park. Their midfield is getting the better of Rakitic and Modric thus far.
40' Rebic loses the ball and then fouls Young on the left flank. It gives England a bit of breathing space amid of period of Croatia pressure.
39' Vrsaljko has been a decent outlet down the right flank, although he has not managed to send a threatening cross into the box as of yet.
37' Sterling looks for a path to goal, only to turn ino a crowded area of the box. Trippier collects on the right flank, but he overhits his cross out of play for a throw-in.
35' WIDE! England break on the counter and Kane offloads to Alli on the left flank. He manages to squeeze a pass back to Lingard on the edge of the box. He goes to place his effort, only to sidefoot the ball wide of the post.
33' Perisic angles a dangerous cross towards the back post, looking for the run of Rebic. However, Young defends well, sending the ball out for a corner on the slide.
31' SAVE! Croatia provide pressure down the right flank as Rebic sends a dangerous delivery into the box. Stones makes a fine clearance, only to send it back to Rebic. He goes for the strike, but Pickford is there to make the save.
29' CHANCE! Kane has an excellent chance to double England's advantage as he latches on to Lingard's pass in the left inside channel, only to be denied by Subasic. He goes for the follow-up from a tight angle, but he smashes his effort off the post. If England wanted that chance to fall to one man - it was Kane.
27' Young curls the resulting free-kick into the box, but Subasic senses the danger to his backline and comes off his line to make the claim.
26' Lovren chops down Sterling on the charge on the left flank. The defender has to be careful as he has made two challenges in the opening 26 minutes.
25' Lingard makes a charge into the final third and searches for the offload to Alli. However, he just fails to find his team-mate on the left flank.
23' WIDE! Perisic once again charges through the middle of the park and goes for the strike, but on this occasion his effort travels well wide of the post.
22' Subasic makes an error at the back, misplacing his offload out to Vida. He places the ball straight to Sterling, who offloads to Kane in an offside position.
20' BLOCK! Rebic fends off the challenge of Young with ease and surges towards the edge of the box with ease. He goes for power with his strike, but Stones is there to make the covering block.
19' WIDE! Perisic is afforded space and time to cut in from the right flank. He drives at goal on his right foot, sending his strike narrowly past the post. The ball took a slight deflection off Walker, but the referee points for a goal-kick.
18' Rakitic searches for Vrsaljko down the right flank, only to overhit his delivery out of play for a throw-in.
17' Henderson scoops a hopeful ball over the top of the Croatia backline for Sterling's run, but Subasic is able to gather with ease on the charge.
16' Kane buys his side a free-kick on the left flank courtesy of a clumsy challenge from Vrsaljko. England are doing all of the pressing at the moment.
15' WIDE! Trippier floats the ball into the box and Maguire rises to head at goal. He makes decent contact with his header, sending his effort narrowly past the post.
14' England pressure down the left before Alli spreads the ball to the right flank with Trippier. Perisic has to get back to defend the cross, diverting the ball out for a corner.
13' Mandzukic goes down in the box to win a free-kick for his side, although Maguire headed his effort over the bar from Young's delivery.
12' Brozovic concedes a corner in a challenge with Alli. England send their men forward from the back.
11' It's a very open contest in Moscow with both team thriving in the space thus far.
10' Trippier's goal is the first scored from a direct free-kick by an England player at the World Cup since David Beckham against Ecuador in 2006.
9' England manage to clear their lines from the corner and almost break through Sterling, although there are enough black shirts there to cope with the danger.
8' Strinic sends a cross to the back post looking for the run of Vrsaljko at the back post. Young gets there ahead of the Croatia man, only to concede a corner in the process.
7' Henderson searches for a pass beyond the Croatia backline looking for the run of Sterling, but Subasic is alert to come off his line to gather.
K. Trippier
5' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! TRIPPIER SCORES A STUNNER!!! ENGLAND 1-0!!!! Trippier converts from the free-kick to hand England a dream start to the contest. The full-back lined up his effort from 20 yards and curled his strike over the wall. Subasic attempted to get across, but the strike was well placed to travel beyond the keeper into the top corner. A super strike to put the Three Lions into the lead.
4' Alli is tripped on the edge of the box by Modric after a neat piece of control by Lingard. The referee awards England a free-kick in striking distance.
3' Pickford tries to pick out Young on the left flank, but his delivery sails over the head of the wing-back and that of Vrsaljko to travel out for a throw-in.
2' Lingard leaves one on Rakitic on the edge of the Croatia box. He receives the first talking to of the contest by referee Ceneyt Cakir.
1' Henderson fouls Modric in the opening minute of the game, handing Croatia a free-kick just inside their own half.
1' We're underway in Moscow.
The anthems are over, it's time for the action to commence.
Here we go. The players are out on the pitch.
England and Croatia have met once before at a major tournament – England won 4-2 in a group stage match at Euro 2004.
Croatia have reached the World Cup semi-finals for the second time since their first World Cup participation in 1998, which is more than the likes of Argentina, England, Italy, Portugal and Spain (one each). The only European nations with more semi-final appearances in this period (inc. 2018) are Germany (four), France (three) and Netherlands (three).
England are unchanged from their win over Sweden, with Henderson overcoming a slight niggle that bothered him after the quarter-final. Sterling keeps his place leading the line alongside Kane, with Rashford once again settling for a place on the bench.
Croatia have made one change to their side that defeated Russia in the quarter-finals. Kramaric drops out of the side and is replaced by Brozovic, who will sit in front of the back four to provide protection to Vida and Lovren in the middle of the backline.
England subs: Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Jamie Vardy, Jack Butland, Danny Welbeck, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Fabian Delph, Marcus Rashford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nick Pope.
ENGLAND (3-4-1-2): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Jordan Henderson; Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
Croatia subs: Dominik Livakovic, Vedran Corluka, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Lovre Kalinic, Tin Jedvaj, Filip Bradaric, Duje Caleta-Car, Milan Badelj, Marko Pjaca, Josip Pivaric.
CROATIA (4-1-4-1): Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Marcelo Brozovic; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic.
The team news has been announced and we'll start with Croatia.
This is the eighth meeting between England and Croatia, with England winning four of those games, with one draw and two Croatia wins; six of the previous seven games have also been played on a Wednesday.
England have reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990. Their path in the knockout stage was almost as tricky as Croatia's, needing penalties to see off Colombia. Yerry Mina's late goal sent the contest all the way to spot-kicks, but for once the Three Lions prevailed as Eric Dier converted. Their win saw Gareth Southgate's men faced with Sweden in the quarter-finals, although on this occasion England managed to pull off a routine 2-0 triumph thanks to goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli. Southgate will be dreaming of a similar performance this evening.
Croatia have not used the easy path to get to the semi-finals. They were forced to battle through on penalties twice in their wins in the knockout round. Denmark took them all the way after both sides cancelled each other out, but Ivan Rakitic held his composure from 12 yards to send his team through to the quarter-finals. Russia proved to be just as stubborn in the last eight as the contest swung one way then the other. However, Rakitic again was the decisive factor to send his team through to the semis with his spot-kick.
The eyes of the footballing world fall upon the Luzhniki Stadium this evening as Croatia and England face off for a spot to play France in the World Cup final.
Hello and welcome to this live text commentary of the World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England in Russia.