England vs Croatia Match Analysis and Player Ratings

England vs Croatia Match Analysis and Player Ratings
England's players react after conceding
Image from the Telegraph
An utterly heartbreaking match for England fans as Croatia beat the Three Lions in extra time to seal their first World Cup final against France on Sunday. It was a game in which England played well for the first half and got sloppy for the remainder of the game and allowed Croatia into the game and came from 1-0 down to win it. England named an unchanged lineup from their 2-0 victory over Sweden with Henderson, Young and Alli all fit for the match. Croatia made one change after their penalty shootout win over Russia with Marcelo Brozovic coming in after being suspended against the home nation. 

Pickford, Trippier, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Henderson, Alli, Lingard, Sterling, 
Kane (c)

Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strnic, Brozovic, Modric (c), Rakitic, Perisic, Rebic, Mandzukic

England started positively and Kyle Walker's long ball found its way to Dele Alli through Lingard's skillful play and the Tottenham playmaker was fouled by the Croatian skipper, Luka Modric. Up stood Trippier and Young with the England no.12 looking favourite and he curled the shot fantastically and beating the tall wall of Lovren and Mandzukic and giving Subasic no chance. England kept pressing for a second goal to further their lead but nothing came off for them with Sterling unable to break past. Young curled in some good crosses but Maguire's header was off target for the first and the second went straight into the hands of Daniel Subasic. Kane and Lingard both missed glorious chances to settle the game but Kane hit his shot straight at Subasic and then the follow up whacked the post with Sterling square for both opportunities. Lingard was given the ball to Alli just outside the box and he failed to live up to his normally impressive finishing and curled the shot awfully. 

The second half changed on its head completely. It seemed that Rebic got booked for an elbow on Kyle Walker but that might have not been given to him as he also got booked in extra time. This would not be the first time that a Croatian player has been given two yellow cards at the World Cup and not sent off with Josep Simunic given three yellow cards before being sent off against Australia in 2006. With just over an hour passed, Croatia levelled as Vrsaljko whipped in a cross into the England box and in came Ivan Perisic and his volley smashed past Pickford who had no chance and with the defenders complaining about a high boot without success. England looked rocky and shot of confidence and kept giving Croatia chances and could have lost the game in normal time as Perisic drove a shot past Pickford's left hand but it crashed against the post and Rebic's rebound was gently caught by the Evertonian 'keeper. England made a change to retain their lead with Sterling coming off for Marcus Rashford and there were late chances for both sides as Mandzukic volleyed straight into Pickford's arms and Rashford's freekick gave Kane his first true chance of the game but his header was poor. 

England made a change at the start of extra-time with Danny Rose on for Young who was caught out for the goal. It was a nervy extra time but Croatia won the game after Perisic played in Mario Mandzukic with a good header and the Juventus striker finished past Pickford with ease as he won the game. He had a chance to double his advantage but Pickford brilliantly denied him the chance for a brace. England pressed for an equaliser but could not manage it and ended the match in tears and with Trippier off injured with all four subs made as Vardy came on with Walker earlier on. They should hold their heads up high and know they did their country proud. France will now face Croatia in the final as England prepare for a third/fourth playoff against Group H winners, Belgium. Football is not coming home this time 'round but the country should be proud of their boys in white. 

ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS:
Jordan Pickford (8) - Confident and dominant at the back. He made some excellent saves and should be proud of his performances despite only keeping one clean sheet. 

Kieran Trippier (9) - Beautiful freekick and was impressive at the back and in attack, one of the best performers at the World Cup for the Three Lions. 

Kyle Walker (6.5) - Used his pace well and involved in the build-up to the goal, but caught out at times, especially for the first goal. 

John Stones (7) - A stalwart defender today and throughout. Kept trying to play the Southgate way but cleared the ball when he needed. He was outmuscled by Mandzukic at times and especially for the second goal. 

Harry Maguire (7.5) - Came out with the ball a lot to try to get England back into the game, the best of the three defenders. 

Ashley Young (5) - Good attacking play but was caught out a lot for the goal and was rightly substituted.

Jordan Henderson (7.5) - Anchor again and kept pressing for more goals with his deep playmaking and it was surprising that he came off for Dier, perhaps he didn't quite recover from the injury against Sweden. 

Jesse Lingard (6.5) - Kept attacking and pressing but no end product. His link-up play is fantastic and should be vital in United's 2018/19 season.

Dele Alli (6.5) - Good but also no end product and looked less rusty. 

Raheem Sterling (6.5) - Looked more dangerous but also no end product, should have had a chance but Kane did not pass. He will be upset not to have scored at the World Cup.

Harry Kane (5) - He looked off and played as deep as he did against Iceland and ghosted through the game. Had a hattrick of chances but failed to make them count. His worst performance in an England shirt for ages. 

SUBS:
Marcus Rashford (6) - Lively and created chances. 
Danny Rose (6.5) - Lively and impressive, should have started? Perhaps...
Eric Dier (n/a)
Jamie Vardy (n/a)

CROATIA PLAYER RATINGS:
Daniel Subasic (7) -  Impressive and confident with his play. 

Šime Vrsaljko (8) - Excellent crosses and defensively sound. 

Dejan Lovren (8) - A rock at the back. Sometimes a bit too dirty with his fouls and play but has made some seriously impressive performances and should bring that into the Premier League next season. 

Domagoj Vida (7.5) - Good for the most part but sometimes stretched by Sterling's pace. 

Ivan Strinić (7) - Also very good but caught out by Trippier and Lingard at times. 

Marcelo Brozovic (6.5) - Good but no final product. 

Luka Modric (8) - Controlled the game for long periods and a true captain's performance. 

Ivan Rakitić (7) - Good as well but no end product either. 

Ante Rebić (6) - Missed some good chances and probably should have got sent off, not sure whether FIFA will consider this. 

Ivan Perisic (9) - Effective and a troubling winger to deal with, which England didn't do. Got a goal and assist on the day. 

Mario Mandzukic (8) - Looked dangerous all game and got the winner in extra time, a truly impressive signing for any club. 

SUBS: 
Josip Pivaric (6) - Defended well at the end. 
Vedran Corluka (6) - Likewise defended solidly
Andrej Kramaric (n/a)
Milan Badelj (n/a)

ENGLAND MAN OF THE MATCH: KIERAN TRIPPIER

CROATIA MAN OF THE MATCH: IVAN PERISIC

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