‘England were a little bit surprised’: The secret to Croatia’s 2018 World Cup semi-final victory

Harry Kane #9 of England stops the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia semi final match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Mao Jianjun/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When England reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, the nation was gripped by 'It's Coming Home' fervour and Gareth Southgate's waistcoat. Only Croatia stood in the way of a first major final since 1966.

England were favourites to win, and when Kieran Trippier put the Three Lions ahead after just five minutes, it looked like they'd go on to face France in the final. Except they didn't. Croatia hit back through Ivan Perisic, before Mario Mandzukic bagged the winner in extra-time.

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Chris Flanagan
Senior Staff Writer

Chris joined FourFourTwo in 2015 and has reported from more than 20 countries, in places as varied as Ivory Coast and the Arctic Circle. He's interviewed Pele, Zlatan and Santa Claus (it's a long story), as well as covering the World Cup, AFCON and the Clasico. He previously spent 10 years as a newspaper journalist, and completed the 92 in 2017.

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