"He will be under the most glaring spotlight imaginable as he leads the Croatia defence in their World Cup semi-final against England, and the sight of Harry Kane lining up against him once again might just unnerve him".
"Mentally strong team", midfielder Ivan Rakatic said. "It's just unbelievable to get back in the game in this way". We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France.
"Just feel when will it ever be our time?"More news: Man contracts flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in NJ
Could football really be coming home - via a bus replacement service? Harry Kane & Co. will deal with the same disappointment that felled Shearer and Platt, Gazza and Wazza, Beckham and Gerrard. Kevin Trippier curled in a free kick in the fifth minute. "These are the things that you need to go your way in the big games and unfortunately for us it didn't". However, unlike England at the 1990 tournament, it was again third-time lucky thanks to Mario Mandzukic's 109th-minute goal. The ball popped up and Perisic outjumped Tripper to head the ball behind the defence. We closed down (John) Stones and (Jordan) Henderson. The ball bounced twice, Mandzukic ran onto it and one-timed a low, left-footed shot to Pickford's left.
With Croatia playing in its third consecutive extra time match, the team somehow dug deep and found the energy needed to fight off the Three Lions, who looked more exhausted and fell asleep on the winning goal.
Perisic's equaliser was all about desire as he charged past Kyle Walker to stab home and Mandzukic punished a dozing Stones by sneaking ahead to slot home the victor.
England, playing with zip and goal, 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.More news: South Korea suspends drills as ‘tremendous’ USA war exercise costs revealed
It was England's first goal scored directly from a free-kick at the World Cup since Beckham's victor against Ecuador in 2006, and the team's 12th goal of the competition - surpassing the 11 they netted en route to lifting the trophy 1966.
England began the first half in truly dominant fashion.
After patient passing build-up play in the 108th minute, Mandžukić popped up on the six-yard line to dim England's dreams.
As the action went end to end, Croatia had its chances, too.More news: Los Angeles woman arrested for beating Mexican man with a brick