Aman: It was so nearly home. England were sunk earlier today by Croatia by 2 goals to 1 in extra time. The thing that will sting the most will be the fact that England were just over 10 minutes away from the whistle for penalties being blown, leaving the game up to the hands of fate. England pulled ahead early in the fifth minute of play; a superbly executed dead ball hit the back of Subasiç’s net from the foot of Kieran Trippier.
England controlled the next hour of play, with Croatia barely getting a look in, barring a half decent foray into the area before half time, but never really troubled Pickford. England fans will call, with some amount of merit, that Croatia’s equalizer, a reaching finish from Ivan Perišić off a superb cross, should have been called back for a high boot. The offence was never appealed for, however, and the rest of the 90 were played evenly.
As extra time began, it was clear that neither side was interested in penalties, though clear cut chances were few and far between; until the 109th minute of play, when a nod on header offset the English defensive line, leaving Mario Mandžukić to place home what would ultimately be the difference. Croatia’s golden generation has booked a place in the ring with France, while England will have to settle for a third place playoff with Belgium on Saturday. This team will be back before long, but for now they have only to wish and wonder; of how football was nearly coming home.
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Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 03:08:38 IST