Ivan Perišić put in a performance worthy of all those Manchester United and Chelsea rumors over the past couple years, as Croatia came from behind to make history and reach their first ever World Cup final, becoming the second smallest nation to ever play a final in the process (Uruguay hold the record).
The 29-year-old Inter Milan winger put the Three Lions to the sword, scoring the equalizer in the second half before setting up the winner from Mario Mandžukić. Perišić also hit the post and missed a glorious chance late on in regulation to win it already for Croatia.
England took the lead early with Kieran Tripp...Beckham...ier scoring a wonderful free kick just five minutes in. Harry Kane would later miss in a rather comical, Torresian fashion and a John Stones header was cleared off the line, but England could not create enough opportunities to get them that all-important second goal. Croatia came alive in the second half and England fully ran out of legs in extra time. Neither Ruben Loftus-Cheek nor Gary Cahill got off the bench for Southgate; not sure it would’ve made a difference.
And so, 52 years of hurt continues for England, despite all the lovely silver linings — young team, country united behind them, promise for the future, etc. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often, as Belgium will no doubt tell them in Saturday’s third place match.