History-maker Mandzukic sends Croatia into first Final

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England vs. Croatia: Southgate Urges Team To Create History

Croatia mounted a furious comeback on England in their World Cup semifinal, as a second-half equalizer by Ivan Perisic and extra-time victor from Mario Mandzukic took down England 2-1 to earn a deserved spot in Sunday's World Cup final against France. So what are some key battles that will decide this semi-final?

Subs: Josip Pivaric (for Strinic, 95) 6, Andrej Kramaric (for Rebic, 101) 5, Vedran Corluka (for Mandzukic, 115) 5, Milan Badelj (for Modric, 119, ) 5.

Gareth Southgate has named his team for England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia - the country's first in the competition since 1990. Without them, it is unlikely that either side would have progressed to this stage of the tournament.

It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and objective as England lost its shape and composure, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick.

England could not have imagined a better start. "I think people turn on the national team far too easily, they need to take a lead from the real fans - back the boys whatever, and drop the negativity". I have to dream. In big games it's small margins.

"The enthusiasm they have for these players, not only because of the way they've played but how they've conducted themselves".

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Modric and Rakitic have also been protecting central defenders Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, who stand in front of experienced keeper Danijel Subasic.

England looked well on their way to Sunday's finale against France early on against Croatia. Croatia within inches of taking the lead.

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Croatia have an experienced squad and will go into the match with the belief of going the distance.

But those celebrations got carried away somewhat, as players mobbed Mandzukic, only for the weight of the steadily-increasing scrum saw the delirious players stumble over the photographers' barrier.

"We weren't talking about the final".

"There was a spell in the second half when they got the goal and their tails were up, we had to weather the storm".

It was his first goal for his country, England's 12th of the tournament and ninth from a set-piece, but it should have added more from open play as it revelled in the space they were being given in the first half.

There is a seven-year difference between Alli and Perisic, who is the older player at 29, and the experience gap showed in this semifinal.

England managed to hang on to force an extra 30 minutes and initially looked the more threatening of the two teams once again in the additional period.

Kane will be England's main danger with the support of Raheem Sterling, while attacking midfielders like Ali and Jesse Lingard are good enough to trouble any opposition.

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