England’s fairytale World Cup run came to a painful end Wednesday night in Moscow as Croatia beat the Three Lions to reach their first ever World Cup final.
Ivan Perisic cancelled out Kieran Trippier’s first half goal before Mario Mandzukic won it in extra time with a classic poacher’s goal.
England entered the World Cup without a prayer but a stodgy campaign plodding steadily towards the final had given an entire nation hope with the hashtag #Itscominghome increasingly becoming popular.
Falling into the easier half of the draw did nothing to tamper expectations as England bulldozed over Colombia and Sweden.
But as in the group stage against Belgium, England withered once again facing real quality opposition. Trippier’s first half freekick gave them a lead to protect which they did for the rest of the first half and a portion of the second half.
However, Croatia pulled things back in the second half as Ivan Perisic connected a long range Sime Vrsaljko cross.
England virtually created nothing the rest of the game but Croatia couldn’t find the net either and the game went to extra time.
The Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic drove a stake into English hearts in the second half of extra time, cleverly peeling away from the English defence to meet Perisic’s headed pass and guide it home past Pickford.
England couldn’t reach the final to win their first trophy since 1966 but get the consolation of a third place playoff against Belgium on Saturday.
Croatia and France will line up Sunday in Moscow for the final of the 2018 Fifa World Cup tournament.