Wednesday 19 September, 2018

Croatia into World Cup final with win vs England

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the semifinal match against England at the 2018 football World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein).

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the semifinal match against England at the 2018 football World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein).

Croatia is 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 semifinal 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 equalizing with a 68th-minute volley after Kieran Trippier opened the scoring for England 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 its only previous trip to the final.

The Croatians have played extra time in all three of their knockout games, while France has won all three of its 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.