FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat England 2-1 to enter final for first time
Croatia entered the final of the FIFA World Cup for the first time as a late goal from striker Mario Mandzukic helped them overcome a combative England with a 2-1 victory here on Wednesday to set-up a title-decider against France.
Croatia, featuring in a World Cup semi-final only for the second time after a gap of 20 years, needed a goal from Mandzukic in the 109th minute from close range after left winger Ivan Perisic (68th minute) cancelled out Kieran Trippier's goal for England in the fifth minute from a free-kick.
England, bidding to enter the final for the first time since their World Cup-winning campaign in 1966, couldn't cope up with a stirring comeback from an experienced Croatian side which conceded just inside five minutes.
England expectedly fielded an unchanged lineup from the one which beat Colombia on penalties and defeated Sweden. England exerted early pressure as Luka Modric brought down Dele Alli on the edge of Croatia's penalty area, resulting in a free-kick. Full-back Trippier bent home a 20-yard free-kick to the top right corner of Danijel Subasic's goal.
It was a very quick blow for Croatia, who had brought in Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic to sit in front of the back four, with Hoffenheim attacker Andrej Kramaric relegated to the bench to counter England's fast and direct attacking football.
England continued to press high and threaten Croatian defence with set-pice situations and after conceding the early goal meant that Croatia were desperate for the equaliser. It allowed the match to be much more free-flowing than expected.
England had a nice chance in the 15th minute when Trippier floated the ball into the box and Harry Maguire rose high to head at goal but his effort narrowly past the post. 15th minute.
Croatia shrugged off the early goal shock and they looked like they were beginning to match England's attacking mode. Perisic's right-footed drive narrowly missed the target despite a deflection off Kyle Walker.
Inter Milan player Perisic got another chance and Juventus forward Mandzukic tested English defence with a header off a cross from the right-back Sime Vrsaljko, who had recovered in time from a knee injury to start the match.
But England again threatened Croatia and could have extended their advantage as Kane, being teed off in the inside left area by Jesse Lingard, moved into the box on the left and forced a save from Subasic. The Tottenham star attacker grabbed the rebound from a tight angle but his shot came off the post in the 29th minute.
Couple of minutes Later, Croatia applied pressure down the right flank as Ante Rebic sent a dangerous delivery into the box which was blocked by Stones but he sent it back to the Croatian right winger. Rebic tested England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for the first time in the match for Croatia.
With England 1-0 ahead at the half-time, Croatia looked further desperate after the break. They raised the tempo of their game and couple of incursions inside the English box which were discarded.
Both the teams lacked the patience, as Croatia gain ascendancy against an England team which failed to control their game and instead played with the way their opponent wanted. England surrendered the ball at crucial positions and it boosted Croatia's confidence.
Croatia got their deserved equaliser in the 68th minute when right-back Vrsaljko curled in a cross towards the far post where Walker bent his head to clear it away but Perisic employed a high-kick right-footed flick into the left corner of Pickford's net.
Croatia enjoyed the momentum and Perisic nearly gave them the lead three minutes later when he grabbed a mispass from John Stones and ran inside the box before employing a left-footed drive which beat Pickford but couldn't avoid the right post.
Then Mario Mandzukic was to be blamed for not firing a straight shot at Pickford from close range after Brozovic's dinked through pass set him inside the box in the 83rd minute.
England created couple of set-piece opportunities towards late but Croatian defence dealt with them strongly as the match went to extra-time.
The first chance in the extra-time fell to England when Stones headed a corner from Tripper from the right but Vrsaljko made a goal-line clearance with a header guarding the right post in the 98th minute.
Croatia turned the heat on the English team lacking composure. Four minutes into the second half of extra-time, England failed to clear a high ball down the left and Perisic beat Trippier to a header to the left of the box. The ball fell behind the English defence line and Mandzukic met the dropping ball before flicking a low left-footed shot across Pickford and into the bottom right corner to give Croatia the crucial lead.
Later, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic replaced Mandzukic and Modric to bring in fresh legs to deal with the English response. Enagland failed to come up with a worthy response as Croatia hung on to the slender lead to book their spot for Sunday's final against France, who got past Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    2 years ago

    Matches are creating records only tobe broken on a later date. it is the law for any game.

    Parisians sing 'Ole,Ole' and dance throughout night as France reaches World Cup final
    There was dance, music, spectacular fireworks and "Ole, ole, ole" at the the iconic Arc de Triomphe -- all to celebrate the entry of France in FIFA World Cup finals after 12 years.
    France edged past Belgium 1-0 to book their place in the final of the FIFA World Cup in a rip-roaring semi-final clash in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. And soon after the match got over, people from all age groups thronged the streets of Paris dancing their way to the iconic monument to celebrate the moment together.
    As the time for the match came close, one could see the cafes near the cobbled street of the city getting filled up with excitement, and soon after, one could hear the sighs and cheers with every goal as the team played on the field.
    The match began at a breakneck pace with Belgium dominating possession initially as the French sought to catch up. France, which will play the World Cup final for the first time since 2006, will either take on England or Croatia in the summit clash on Sunday.
    It was a moment for victory for one and all. People got together on the streets cheering with the country's flag, getting to the rooftops, dancing with one another, climbing the street lights, and bursting crackers. They were lighting up the sky with fireworks, and colour smoke bombs -- what was so different about it? They were in the hues of blue, white and red, the same as the colours in the country's flag.
    Some expressed their excitement by jumping with a cycle, clapping and chanting "Ole, ole, ole". There were some who took out their cars and circled around the city cheering and some getting on bikes with the country's flag to express their happiness about the win.
    What does "Ole, ole, ole" mean?
    "It is our way of saying 'yay'," said one football fan, who added: "We all are happy with our country getting into the world cup final after so many years."
    The stores at the Avenue des Champs Elysees were empty, and cafes were brimming with an infectious excitement. The celebration of the victory moment made tourists become a part of the city as people invited them to join the big party without any hesitation.
    In terms of security, police officers were employed at every nook and corner of the area. And though they were on duty, they were all smiling and living the moment of the revelry.
    An officer told IANS that he was not in a position to comment on the security arrangements, but he smiled heart-warmingly when asked about the victory.
    He said it was a big moment for them, and another officer said they knew it was going to be a long night, but one truly worth it.
    It was a time when the city made people, who are visiting the city for work or leisure, feel good about being able to soak in the spirit of merrymaking. Even if it meant circling the same area for four hours trying to find a way back to the hotel, and getting lost amid the festivities.
    But sometimes getting lost is the real way of finding the heart of the city -- and that's what happened.
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


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    World Cup: France ease past Uruguay 2-0 to book semis berth
    France rode goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann to ease past Uruguay 2-0 in a big-ticket FIFA World Cup last-eight stage clash here on Friday.
    Varane (40th) glanced past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after Griezmann floated a free-kick into the box from the right side. In the second half, Griezmann (61st) made the most of a goalkeeping howler from Muslera to double the advantage as France eased into the semi-finals where they will now take on either Brazil and Belgium.
    The South American team was dealt a blow before the match when striker Edinson Cavani was left out of the side, having failed to recover from a calf injury. He was replaced in the starting eleven by Girona forward Cristhian Stuani.
    France also made one enforced change to the team that beat Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16, with Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso replacing suspended Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
    Uruguay pushed France onto the back foot early and Stuani shot across the face of goal after receiving the ball on the left.
    France started to move the ball with more fluency. Striker Olivier Giroud met right-back Benjamin Pavard's cross from the right at the far post by nodding into the path of Kylian Mbappe, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward sent his looping header over the bar.
    Despite dictating possession, France rarely looked like scoring as Giroud, Griezmann and Mbappe struggled to find pockets of space.
    France finally broke Uruguay's resistance in the 40th minute after Rodrigo Bentancur hacked down Tolisso. The Juventus midfielder was shown a yellow card for the offense, meaning he will be unavailable in the semi-finals, should Uruguay progress. Griezmann's delivery from the resultant set piece was inch-perfect and Varane rose highest to head the ball into the bottom left corner.
    The goal prompted Uruguay to immediately spring to life. The Celeste had their best scoring chance of the half just moments before the interval when Martin Caceres' header forced a superb diving save from goalkeeper Hugo Lorris following Torreira's free-kick. The rebound fell for Diego Godin who fired his shot wide of the left post.
    After the break, Uruguay pushed for the equaliser but things got worse on 62 minutes as Griezmann made it 2-0 for France. Muslera failed to parry Griezmann's attempt from range and the ball squirmed through his grasp and over the line.
    Stung by the second goal, Uruguay players lost cool when Mbappe fell to the ground after a brief touch from Cristian Rodriguez.
    Godin and Paul Pogba then got tangled in the scuffle before the situation was diffused with yellow cards for both Rodriguez and Mbappe.
    Afterwards, France continued to keep the possession of the ball, while Uruguay failed to find that final which could give them their first goal. But the reducer dind't arrive as the French outfit controlled the game in the middle by putting two holding midfielders, Steven N'zonzi replacing Tolisso.
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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