Mandzukic sends Croatia to first World Cup final

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Kieran Trippier had given England the lead by scoring from a free kick in the fifth minute.

World Cup semi-final opponents England and Croatia's fines over sponsorship protocols are both approximately 10 times the fine that the Russian soccer federation was hit with after its fans were seen unfurling a banner featuring neo-Nazi messaging.

Having gone into extra time and penalties in their previous two games ahead of Wednesday's semi-final, Modric said there was an assumption that the Croatian team would be exhausted, giving England the advantage.

Croatia dumped England out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal on Wednesday and mercilessly trolled the English after the win. "They have to use this experience for benefit and I know that what´s happened over the last few weeks will make them a stronger team".

"The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward".

Federation Internationale de Football Association will investigate chants of a "possible discriminatory" nature by England fans during their World Cup semifinal defeat by Croatia on Wednesday.

Mandzukic's movement was also a constant challenge for England's back three and John Stones, in particular, did not look as composed as he has done in previous games. But then everything went to waste when Mandžukić in the second half of injury time.

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England, playing with zip and objective, looked sharp going forward as a rattled Croatia side tried to regroup, with Raheem Sterling proving a real handful but the score remained 1-0 at the break.

Talk about the potential rule loophole started after Portugal's Jose Fonte strangely chose to stay in the field of play while the rest of his team celebrated Cristiano Ronaldo's equaliser against Spain off the pitch. "We can mix our sadness that they fell short with a genuine hope that this summer of love under a manager who has surpassed all expectations was more than just a quick fling".

For English soccer fans used to painful World Cup exits, the semifinal loss hurt. "I think we've built a house here now on good foundations", he said.

France reached the final for the third time in their history on Tuesday when a second-half header from Samuel Umtiti gave the 1998 champions a 1-0 victory against Belgium in Saint Petersburg.

England had surprised their followers, the nation and other observers with an impressive showing in the World Cup.

Having been knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland and failing to win a single match at the 2014 World Cup, optimism was not high heading into Russian Federation.

Local fans are now gearing up for the final match against France on Sunday.

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