Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia

Lynette Rowe
July 12, 2018

Did you know? Croatia are the first team to come from behind in three straight knockout stage matches to advance at the World Cup.

"I made the point a few weeks ago, I know a bit tongue-in-cheek but you have to focus on one game and football's coming home".

But Croatia, having won on penalties against Denmark and Russian Federation in the last two rounds, saw the game out, dousing the World Cup dream of Gareth Southgate's side that had gone from the improbable to the possible over the last month in Russian Federation.

Perisic's header in extra-time, which seemed to be a non-threatening ball into the England penalty area, turned into the match-winning assist as England's defence froze to allow Mandzukic to sneak in behind and win the game for Croatia.

While left-back Ivan Strinic is certain to start, Croatia's preferred right-back Sime Vrsaljko is yet to fully recover from a knee injury suffered during the game against Russian Federation. The Croatians rallied from behind to win 2-1 in extra time thanks to a goal from Mario Mandzukic.

For Joe, 62, it was his first live England match.

They now they have the chance to use their tactical intelligence and mental strength against a formidable France team on Sunday. They were down against Denmark in the round of 16 and advanced.

It has seen widespread apathy towards the Three Lions replaced by excitement and renewed hope, with previously unheralded players stepping up and better-known names underlining their quality and in some cases changing perceptions.

Our recommended way to watch the England vs Croatia soccer game online free from the office today is to try out the FuboTV 7-day free trial.

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Kieran Trippier has been likened to David Beckham for his quality in dead-ball situations and he showed why, bending a free-kick over the defensive wall to give England a very early lead with his first worldwide goal.

England had their fans dreaming of a berth in the final when Kieran Trippier curled a fifth-minute free kick into the Croatia net.

"It's the best opportunity that England's ever had, and probably might ever have", England defender Kyle Walker was quoted as saying by the FIFA's official website.

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

England advanced to the semi-final stage despite fielding a young and inexperienced side.

Strinic has been one of Croatia's most consistent performers during the World Cup on the left side of Zlatko Dalic's back four.

Vrsaljko cleared a John Stones header off the line midway through the first extra period.

Croatia's best chance of the half came in the 31st minute when Modric squared back to Rebic inside the box but his left foot shot was saved by Pickford. They brought two Israeli cancer patients with them, 18-year-old Mika Lipsker and 13-year-old Alon Izraev. A privilege to have covered their run 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.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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