BY:Phodiso Gaebepe

A very beautiful game of football displayed by the two teams, it was worth watching as the two teams fought their lungs put in search of a spot in the Russia 2018 world cup final.

As usual , the English were dangerous on set pieces and corners on the night. A terrific strike from Trippier free-kick in just five minutes into the game. Croatia was treading behind for most of the game. However they were dominating possession, playing the ball from their half and going into the England half with ease.

The problem was that they could not penetrate the defense easily.  The likes of Maguire and Stones were compact, they could not win high balls as the English due are also tall and strong in the air. We all know that Mandzukic is also strong in the air ,but they overpowered him. That made Croatia to struggle to find an equalizer before half time. Modric` was pushed forward to help find goals and this made the Croatian midfield shaky. There was a lot of gap in the middle and Rakitic` was more like attacking from the wing especially the left wing.  This left a gap in the middle, all the rebounds from the Croatian attack were falling on the English  players and they would try catch  them on counters. These were dealt with well by the likes Vida and Lovern.

Croatia came back stronger on the second half looking for a goal. They pilled a lot of attack on England, Modric` play was now more into the ball. He started all the moves the moves, his patient play really helped the Croatians as that allowed him to be able to pick up his teammates with his accurate passes nicely. He was able to find them wherever they were.  Modric is the only Croatian player who did not lose the ball easily. He was really in command, dictating play , changing play from side to side. England was now in trouble as they could not contain him. This now allowed Rakitic to now come back to the game, he also started to be on the ball more often, he started with his accurate long passes.  Croatia was now using wing play, Perisic was making a lot of crosses into the box and they were very dangerous.

On the 68th minute, Perisic levelled matters and it was game on. More attacks from Croatia started coming in, he started having a few more chances which he squandered. England was now even lost, they were just chasing shadows of the likes of Modric and his crew. Radford was introduced and Sterling out, he came in with a bit of energy, made crosses and a few runs but was unlucky on the night as his teammates looked like they were tired or given up already. The problem is that Croatia made a lot of fouls that nearly cost them. England is very dangerous on set pieces. Subasic was able to deal with them. The game went to extra time. Both teams were trying their best to secure a winning goal but it was not easy. The energy was gone you could see most players were struggling with muscles. The likes of Mandzukic, was being attended time and again, they were just pulling themselves to the finish line.

Luckily Croatia got a winning goal on the second half of extra time by Mario Mandzukic. After a long struggle, finally the game was put to the end, with Croatia proceeding to the final with a 2-1 win over England. It was all jubilation on the Croatian side. History was made. It is the first time ever for Croatia to go to the finals of the fifa world cup. The best they went was the semi finals in 1998. On the other side it was disappointment for England, all hope vanished dreams shattered, it was all despair. They could not believe it was all gone.

Croatia will for the first time play in the final against France.

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