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Croatia in World Cup Finals for the First Time!

The two teams, England and Croatia went face to face in the second semi-final of the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday to cross the last hurdle before the Finals. And it was a small country that stood tall; Croatia defeated the English and went on the World Cup finals for the first time ever in history. They will face France in the finals on Sunday, 15th of July in the Luzhiniki Stadium in Moscow.

Croatia in World Cup Finals for the First Time! 
Luzhiniki Stadium, Moscow 
The two teams, England and Croatia went face to face in the second semi-final of the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday to cross the last hurdle before the Finals. And it was a small country that stood tall; Croatia defeated the English and went on the World Cup finals for the first time ever in history. They will face France in the finals on Sunday, 15th of July in the Luzhiniki Stadium in Moscow. 

This World cup has seen Croatia fighting against the odds and somehow drilling their way to fix a spot in the semis. They had survived two penalty shoot outs to reach here, in the quarter-finals they defeated the hosts Russia in the penalties. And in the semi finals they came out as champions to book the spot in the finals. 
This was the eighth meeting between Croatia and England. England had had an upper hand in four matches while one was drawn and one won by Croatia. The last time England was in the semi-finals, it was in 1990 and Croatia was not even an independent country then. A country that got independence in 1991 is now one step close to make history and to bring the World Cup home. 

The opening minutes of the match saw the English capitalize on a free kick and turn it into a goal; Trippier scored a pitch perfect free kick from the A spot to take England home. The pull-back curled the ball over the wall and it found the back of the net. The three lions were in front and confident. Trippier became the second player to score from a direct free-kick after David Beckham did it in 2006. 
The rest of the first-half saw chances created by both the sides, Rebic from Croatia was denied by goalkeeper Pickford, similarly English forward Harry Kane failed to score from a good space. The referee was lenient in the first half and no cards were shown. 

The 2nd half showed the official and players getting in the mood, a couple of bookings were made by the referee. With over 7 shots on goal by the Croatians, England was losing it. In the 68’ Perisic equalized for Croatia. A good cross from Vrsaljko was nailed in by the midfielder into the English net. Ivan Perisic is now the second highest goal scorer for Croatia at world Cups with 4 goals. 
At full time the scores were level as no team found the second goal. We were going into extra time, and a couple of substitutions were made from both the sides. At 109’ striker Mario Mandzukic drilled the ball past Pickford to take Croatia home. A header by Ivan Perisic found Mandzukic who drifted behind Stones and made a clean strike to find the back of the English net. 

The clock was ticking by and England was yet to find an equalizer to take it to the penalties. Croatia was closing in to create history. Unfortunately the English chant of “It’s coming home,” came to an end and Croatia headed to the finals on Sunday against France.
 
Croatia defeats England
Croatia in World Cup Finals
Croatia creates History
Croatia in World Cup finals for first time ever
Croatia vs France
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Sandeep Semwal
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