World Cup 2018: 3 reasons why England lost to Croatia
That's it, lads. It's not coming home. But hey, it was a great ride. In a game that went all the way down to the wire, the sheer fight that Croatia put up survived England's show of heart.
After Trippier put them ahead as early as the 5th minute with a spectacular freekick, it most definitely looked like it was coming home. England were moving the ball around with comfort and the Croats looked a bit weary. However, the second half was an entirely different story.
Ivan Perisic restored parity in the 68th minute with an acrobatic finish at the end of a sumptuous cross from Vrsaljko. Perisic subsequently hit the post after doing ever so well to create some space for himself inside the box.
The game dragged on into extra time and it looked like it was heading to penalties until Perisic's freak headed pass was read, picked up and dispatched by the experienced campaigner up top, Mario Mandzukic.
England couldn't muster a response until the final whistle and they fell to their knees having come so close. Anyway, let's look at the 3 reasons why England lost 2-1 to Croatia.
#3 England did not take their chances in the first half
England were, once again, fluid in attack from the get-go. Lingard's movement was causing panic at the back for Croatia and Raheem Sterling's bursts of pace were proving to be too hot to handle. And England kept creating chances after Kieran Tripper put them ahead.
Harry Kane was neatly set up inside the box by Jesse Lingard but the striker failed to bury the ball inside the post in 2 attempts- the second, an almost open goal miss albeit from an acute angle.
It was Jesse Lingard's turn next. England benefitted from Dele Alli's excellent hold-up play which caused 3 Croatian defenders to be dragged towards him, thereby opening up space for Lingard at the edge of the area.
Alli squared the ball to Lingard and from that distance, you'd think it's bread and butter for the Manchester United star, but he snatched at it and sent the ball to the advertisement hoardings instead.
Had England taken these chances, they'd have kicked Croatia out of the game and put things beyond doubt. However, they didn't and it came to bite them in the back.