By Steve Dellar  |  07-11-2018   News
Photo credit: @thetocsin22 | Twitter

Croatian President Ms Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic met US President Trump this afternoon in Brussels for the NATO summit and offered him a football shirt of the Croatian team. A good omen probably as this evening Croatia beat England to reach the final of the World Cup thanks to a remarkable comeback and two fabulous goals which made it 2-1 in the end.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What an amazing GIF. A brilliant angle from the POV of Pickford. This is beautiful to watch. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENGCRO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ENGCRO</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/worldcup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#worldcup</a> <a href="https://t.co/L2B5iJB8pg">pic.twitter.com/L2B5iJB8pg</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CROENG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CROENG</a></p>&mdash; World Cup (@FIFAWCGoals) <a href="https://twitter.com/FIFAWCGoals/status/1017112370898964480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Over in Croatia, a country of only 4 million people, no one was expecting the team to get this far. Their previous semi-final in 1998 was their first World Cup as an independent nation (they became independent after the Yugoslavian civil war of the 1990s).

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Took this clip, thought I’d share <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENGCRO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ENGCRO</a> <a href="https://t.co/1HCbay0l5C">pic.twitter.com/1HCbay0l5C</a></p>&mdash; Ian Ashworth (@Flash0609) <a href="https://twitter.com/Flash0609/status/1017117134818816000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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But, with an impressive win over Argentina in the group stages (3-0), every other team knew that they were a squad to be reckoned with. However, in the knock-out stages, they had needed two penalty shootouts to advance, one against Denmark and one against Russia.

Related coverage: https://thegoldwater.com/news/30303-World-Cup-Facing-Colombia-England-Is-Once-Again-Stuck-Between-Hope-And-Fear-Video

Against England, they got called out as from the beginning when the Brits pushed forward hard. A free kick after 5 minutes and a bad positioning from Croatian goalkeeper Subacic meant the English were 1-0 up and off to a great start. Back home in London, the crowd went wild.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Corridor talks <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NATOSummit2018?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NATOSummit2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Brussels?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Brussels</a> <a href="https://t.co/maYU5DFYTs">pic.twitter.com/maYU5DFYTs</a></p>&mdash; Kolinda GK (@KolindaGK) <a href="https://twitter.com/KolindaGK/status/1017013569978818560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The second half got off to a different start as the Croats refused to yield and tried to seek the equalizer, however always being faulted in the final meters.

Related coverage: https://thegoldwater.com/news/29366-World-Cup-Don-t-Cry-For-Me-Argentina-Video

The match and its tempo slowed down as from the 60th minute as the English weren’t sure whether to look for the 2-0 or defend the goal difference they already had. The Croatians meanwhile couldn’t attack in waves but looked for a moment of breakout whenever the English decided they would indeed look for another goal.

But in the 67th minute, the match turned as Ivan Perisic made an incredible goal, kicking in the ball from a side assist as an English defender though he would just kick it out. 1-1.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL PERISIC WITH ONE OF THE BEST GOALS OF THE TOURNAMENT. WHAT A FINISH!!! CROATIA GOAL! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENGCRO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ENGCRO</a> <a href="https://t.co/euczpuKRGS">pic.twitter.com/euczpuKRGS</a></p>&mdash; World Cup Goals (@A1Futbol) <a href="https://twitter.com/A1Futbol/status/1017128331660152833?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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For the next 25 minutes, it was all Croatia as they attacked the English who were knocked off their pedestal. They thought that the final was within their reach already. But another 30 minutes of overtime was looming already.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mandzukic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mandzukic</a> may have just sent Croatia to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup2018?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldCup2018</a> Finals <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENGCRO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ENGCRO</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZeOYIuobQY">pic.twitter.com/ZeOYIuobQY</a></p>&mdash; David Eversole (@SportsAllDave) <a href="https://twitter.com/SportsAllDave/status/1017142552242409472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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And in the second 15 minutes of overtime, it was forward Mandzukic delivered a delirium to the Balkans, scoring the 2-1 with only 10 minutes left on the clock. The English tried and tried, but it was all in vain.

Sunday the final of Russia’s World Cup 2018 will be Croatia-France.

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