Moscow, July 11: England's bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup final for the first time since 1966 were hampered by Croatia, who won 2-1 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Wednesday. Croatia, who had never reached the final before, rallied from a goal down to beat England.
Kieran Trippier gave England the lead from a free-kick in the fifth minute. But England stood back and defended that goal instead of going for home. Ivan Perisic struck the equaliser in the 68th minute and pushed the game into extra time, the third time that Croatia has played 120 minutes of football. Even as England players couldn't keep up, Mario Mandzukic zoomed in to score Croatia's second and Zlatko Dalic's men held on for the win.
All the action as it happened:
France, watch out! Croatia have just registered a great comeback, rallying from a goal down to defeat the mighty England 2-1! This team can definitely play some football!
It's done! Croatia book a final with France and Mandzukic's late goal is enough to keep England at bay. The Cup is not going home after all.
120+4 min: Last chance for England as a handball by Badelj hands them a free-kick. It is Rashford's duty to float it in and England are unable to make anything of it.
120 min: England are playing their last five minutes with 10 men as Trippier is unable to continue. Southgate has made all his changes and hopes his men can do something in the four minutes of added time.
118 min: Rashford floats in a free-kick from down the left and a corner is supposed to be awarded to England, but the referee is not interested. Lastly, Croatia replace captain Modric with Badelj.
115 min: Goalscorer Mandzukic goes off and Croatia make a defensive replacement, bringing in Corluka. Trippier, meanwhile, is off the pitch, unable to walk and in tears.
112 min: England throw in Jamie Vardy for Kyle Walker, hoping to get something out of this tie. Croatia, meanwhile, are happy to waste time.
109 min: GOAL! Have Croatia sealed their spot in the final? Mario Mandzukic you beaut! Where did that come from? Walker's clearance off Rakitic's cross from the left goes as far as Perisic, who glances it backwards into the box and Mandzukic runs across the box to blast it into the bottom-right corner.
108 min: Rakitic sets up Brozovic from a corner but the latter's pile-driver goes wide of the left post.
105+2 min: Point-blank save! Pickford keeps England alive in this tie, facing Mandzukic's shot head on. Earlier, substitute Kramaric had his shot blocked .
102 min: Kramaric comes on for Rebic, Croatia's second change.
99 min: Vrsaljko is the hero again! Trippier whips it up nice from the corner and Stones rises tall to glance the header towards the goal but the Croatian defender, who provided the assist for Perisic's equaliser, makes a goalline clearance. ENG 1 - 1 CRO
94 min: Strinic goes down with cramps and Pivaric is the first change for Croatia.
93 min: England have brought in Rashford (for Sterling) and Rose (for Young) while Croatia are yet to make a change. Saving the best for last?
92 min: Croatia beat Denmark and Russia after extra time and penalty shootout. England similarly knocked out Colombia after a shootout in the Round of 16. The first 15 minutes of extra time is underway.
ENG 1 - 1 CRO - Either team can find the net after three minutes of added time. This match is going into extra time and Croatia are making 120 minutes of football a regular feature in this FIFA World Cup.
90+1 min: Rakitic throws himself on Rashford and England have a free-kick the edge of the box. They scored from a similar set-piece in the first half! Trippier floats the ball in but this time, Kane's poke at the goal drifts wide.
89 min: Both teams are on the verge of scoring but are lacking that finesse up front. Are we set for extra time? Remember, this would be the third occasion this FIFA World Cup that Croatia have not been able to clinch a match within 90 minutes
81 min: England look shaky now. Trippier sees Perisic next to him and his back-pass from the edge of the box almost sets up Perisic. However, Stones keeps a check on Perisic, allowing goalkeeper Pickford to clear away the danger. ENG 1 - 1 CRO
71 min: POST! Just 3 minutes after finding the net, Perisic is at it again. He gushes in and is set to give Croatia the lead with a flat shot to Pickford's left, but the ball hits the post and Rebic could not react quickly to make something of the rebound.
68 min: GOAL! Croatia equalise and deservedly so. Vrsaljko lofts one into the box from the right flank and even as Walker hoped to head away the danger, Perisic steps ahead to get his foot in, meets the cross and directs the ball in. ENG 1 - 1 CRO
65 min: CHANCE! Perisic latches on to the rebound at the edge of the box and his powerful whip is blocked by Stones to deny Croatia again. ENG 1 - 0 CRO
63 min: Sterling finds himself on the right side the box and as he looks to zoom past Vida, the Croatian stops him on his tracks. No penalty. ENG 1 - 0 CRO
61 min: So far, Croatia have committed 14 fouls compared to England's seven. Dalic's side somehow need to redirect their focus on creating chances.
59 min: Better from Croatia. They seem to have found a spark in the second half, making more runs into the box and going for those crosses. A goal still eludes them. ENG 1 - 0 CRO
54 min: Walker unnecessarily gets into the referee's book for stopping a quick throw-in and getting into a tussle with Croatia's Rebic. ENG 1 - 0 CRO
52 min: Croatia dominate the possession in the early stages of the second half, like they did the last 45 minutes. However, they are unable to find a breakthrough against England and instead, Mandzukic is booked.
The story so far... ENG 1 - 0 CRO
England have scored nine of their 12 goals in this FIFA World Cup from set-pieces. Their plan in this game was to get a goal as early as possible and then frustrate Croatia like the way France did against Belgium. Croatia captain Luka Modric, in this big game, gave away a foul at the edge of the box, almost beckoning England to the goal and they accepted the invitation. Now it's upto the Real Madrid midfielder to conjure something special if Croatia want to stay alive in the tournament. Second half about to start.
45+1 min: Meanwhile, Modric takes a free-kick from the left flank but it's no good even as Lovren drops in the centre of the box claiming a foul. The referee consults the VAR and finds nothing wrong unusual. ENG 1 - 0 CRO at HT
45 min: England are almost confirmed to face France in the FIFA World Cup final given the first half's proceedings. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford gives away the ball in his own half but John Stones steals the ball from Ivan Rakitic.
41 min: Whose foul was it anyway? Rebic rushes back to step on Young moments after he was denied a free-kick due to Maguire's clean challenge. ENG 1 - 0 CRO
37 min: Young stretches out to deny Rebic a shot at goal. Has fatigue gotten into Croatia? They show glimpses of their prowess but England are everywhere, outsmarting them in this game. It will take only a moment to turn it around at the Luzhniki Stadium but Southgate's defenders are on top of their game.
29 min: CHANCE! Jesse Lingard shows his a great presence of mind and finds Harry Kane free inside the box. Kane, who has never scored a goal for England on Wednesday, cannot beat Subasic to double England's score. He tried to slot it in on the rebound but the offside flag is up.
26 min: England are quick on the counter and Raheem Sterling wins them a free-kick from 40 yards out on the left. Ashley Young steps up this time and he floats one in to the far post. Subasic has it covered and Croatia get back to finding their equaliser.
22 min: Raheem Sterling connects and sends a through ball to Harry Kane. The England captain messes up his shot but he's anyway offside.
20 min: Harry Maguire and John Stones cover up for England and block Ante Rebic from unleashing a left-footer goal-wards. Croatia were already denied a corner just two minutes despite the ball clearly taking a touch off Kyle Walker.
16 min: England look threatening and could double their lead any time now. Trippier has been a nightmare for the Croatia defenders. The Croats need to reply and fast!
Let's take a moment to just appreciate that goal. A delightful curve with the right amount of elevation, heading home into the top corner, giving Croatia goalkeeper Subasic no chance. What were Croatia and Modric thinking? You know England are so good when it comes set-pieces and you deliver a present just outside the door!
5 min: GOAL! England have a free-kick at a convenient spot - just outside the box and Kieran Trippier curls it into the top right corner, above the wall. England are always a threat when it comes to corners and free-kicks and this is their ninth goal from a set-piece!
WOOOT! England kick off the proceedings in this second semi-final and they are already on the faces of their opponents Croatia!
Oh BTW, have you heard the Rasputin - Harry Kane song by a troupe that has former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff? Give it a go!
And... God save the queen!
We're seconds away from the national anthems. While we can all sing 'Jana Gana Mana' even in our sleep, do you often wonder what exactly they are singing? Don't worry, we have got you covered.
The big takeaway from the Starting XI of Croatia is that defender Sime Vrsaljko has been handed a start despite concerns over a knee injury. Their only change - Marcelo Brozovic comes in for Andrej Kramaric. England have reposed faith in the same XI that played against Sweden.
England bench: Butland, Rose, Dier, Vardy, Welbeck, Cahill, Jones, Delph, Rashford, Loftus-Cheek, Alexander-Arnold, Pope.
Croatia bench: Livakovic, Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric, Lovre Kalinic.
Starting XI - Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic, Rakitic, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic. England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Alli, Henderson, Lingard, Young, Sterling, Kane. Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).
Didier Deschamps' France await Croatia in the final on July 15 at the same venue. England will battle it out with Belgium for the third spot at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Saint Petersburg on July 14.