Half time Croatia 0 England 1

While England enjoyed a relatively stress-free 2-0 win over Sweden in the last eight, Croatia had to come through a grueling extra time against hosts Russian Federation and then a penalty shootout.

But it was Croatia who struck in the 109th minute when Perisic won a header on the edge of the box and the ball dropped for Mandzukic whose firm low finish beat Pickford.

But he is yet to fully convince and win the trust of everyone, and is still susceptible to occasional errors, highlighted by his stray pass that allowed Russian Federation a chance to go clear on goal in the closing minutes of the quarter-final.

The 23-man England squad, which has an average age of just over 26 and was the tournament's third youngest, had the hopes and expectations of a nation on their shoulders. "So we won't win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago, we've got to win because we play better".

It is not known which team Netanyahu was supporting, but during the match he was photographed speaking with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Croatia had already gone into extra time in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals, prevailing on penalty kicks on both occasions.

"We are just going to stick with what we have been doing all the way through".

"I'm not surprised that Croatia have identified Raheem as a key player", said the 47-year-old Southgate. Of the four combined knockout games played by these teams, three have ended in penalty shootouts.

The much younger, faster and less worn out looking England side continued to cause Croatia problems going forward and also doubled their lead but a great Danijel Subasic save kept it at 1-0. Perisic was mightily unlucky not to add to his tally when his angled shot beat Pickford but cannoned off the post.

England took an early lead through Kieran Trippier's free-kick, but Ivan Perisic restored parity with a 68th-minute strike as Croatia took control of the game in the second half.

Stones for England came close in the first period when his header from a corner was headed off the line from Vrsaljko but Mandzukic would have the chance of the first period but Pickford brilliantly saved from close-range after the Juventus striker met Perisic's cross.

Both teams had their chances in the additional 30 minutes, but it was Mario Mandzukic who buried the victor with 109 minutes on the clock.

"This is a miracle".

"We were not certain what this team might be capable of", Southgate admitted to ITV, mindful of England's many recent failures.

England hadn't really faced a truly world-class striker on their run to the semi-finals and in Mandzukic they came up against a player who was equipped to make the most of any deficiencies at the back.

The break refreshed the Croatians and they started the second half with greater energy and objective and, at that stage, Southgate missed the chance to make the change that would enable England to regain control of midfield.

  • Julie Sanders