Fri | Sep 21, 2018

WORLD CUP 2018 | Croatia beat England, secure spot in final

Published:Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 3:55 PM
Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the semi-final match between Croatia and England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, yesterday.

MOSCOW (AP):

Croatia are going to the World Cup final for the first time after beating England 2-1 in extra time.

Mario Mandzukic scored the clincher in the second half of extra time in the semi-final to secure a spot in Sunday's final against France.

The Croatians rallied from a goal down for the third game in succession, with Ivan Perisic's equalising with a 68th-minute volley after Kieran Trippier opened the scoring for England with a free kick in the fifth.

Mandzukic latched onto Perisic's header in the 109th minute and rifled it past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, sparking wild celebrations in the corner.

England's 52-year wait for a second World Cup continues.

England won the title on home soil in 1966 in their only previous trip to the final.

The Croatians have played extra time in all three of their knockout games, while France have won all three of their knockout games in 90 minutes and had an extra day to rest.

England and Belgium will play for the second time in the tournament when they contest the third-place playoff in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Belgium won their match in the group stage when both teams fielded second-string lineups.