England's semi-final nightmare continues with Croatia defeat

GETTY    
   Paul Gascoigne has urged Gareth Southgate to keep it

GETTY Paul Gascoigne has urged Gareth Southgate to keep it

England are dreaming of a first World Cup final since 1966 but first they must come through Wednesday's semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium against Croatia in what looks like their toughest test yet in Russian Federation.

Keane tore into England after their 2-1 extra-time defeat to Croatia in Wednesday night's World Cup semi-final.

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic scores the decisive goal in his team's semifinal against England.

France, which won its only title at home in 1998, will have an extra day of rest after beating Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.

Then Mandzukic scored, giving Croatia the lead for the first time in the match, and there was no way back for England.

The Tottenham full-back once again shone in this England set-up and his goal gave the Three Lions hope of reaching their first World Cup final since 1966.

The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England, with the Manchester City player without a goal for his country since October 2015, but Southgate says the forward's contribution in Russian Federation has been essential.

As Keane built up steam, Wright interrupts to insist he never declared England were going to win the World Cup.

Croatia had already gone into extra time in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals, prevailing on penalty kicks on both occasions. Now the Croatia center-back is eager to make amends.

The England fans who stayed in the stadium in Moscow after the game were still a joyous bunch.

The semi-final match of the 2018 Football World Cup between Croatia and England will be LIVE telecast on Sony Ten 2/Sony Ten 2 HD (English), Sony Ten 3/Sony Ten 3 HD (Hindi) and Sony ESPN (Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu) TV channels.

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Strinic has been one of Croatia's most consistent performers during the World Cup on the left side of Zlatko Dalic's back four. After patient passing build-up play in the 108th minute, Mandžukić popped up on the six-yard line to dim England's dreams.

England had got off to a flying start when Trippier curled a superb free kick into the top corner in the opening minutes.

Harry Kane struck the post, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard spurned good chances, and Croatia somehow held on to go in just one behind at the interval.

Croatia were stunned, and Ivan Rakitic, usually so accomplished, was especially off his game.

Zlatko Dalic's side did gradually grow into the contest, but they could still be relieved to go in at half-time only one goal down, especially as Harry Kane was denied by a combination of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and the woodwork on the half-hour mark.

Lovren has improved greatly since that October debacle, playing a huge role in Liverpool's incredible Champions League campaign and Croatia's astonishing run thus far.

Despite their absence, the brothers are rooting for their home team to claim the winning trophy in England's game against Croatia.

Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic scored the victor in the 109th minute, sweeping home a left-foot shot after England had allowed him too much space in the penalty box.

It was a wonder the Juventus forward did not break a limb as Pickford crunched into him.

He managed to carry on after treatment, and he was on hand to sweep the ball low past Pickford after Perisic's header back into the area caught the England defence on the hop to finally decide a brilliant contest. They brought two Israeli cancer patients with them, 18-year-old Mika Lipsker and 13-year-old Alon Izraev.

For all of the hype around England, they have yet to come up against one of the really big guns at the World Cup.

It is not known which team Netanyahu was supporting, but during the match he was photographed speaking with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

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