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World Cup 2018 : England to face Croatia in semi-final

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England have confirmed their semi-final of World Cup 2018 after Croatia beat Russia in a penalty shootout on Wednesday. The Three Lions will face Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after the World Cup hosts crashed out.

It came hours after England clinched a 2-0 win over Sweden in a dramatic match at the Samara Arena enabling them to advance to their first semi-final since 1990.

Harry Maguire opened the scoring for England — heading the ball home from an Ashley Young corner half an hour into the game.

Despite that, it was a jittery first half with England coming close several times. Just before the half-time whistle blew, Raheem Sterling twice had the ball deep in Sweden’s territory with little, no defence in front of him, but squandered both chances.

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In the second half, Sweden looked dangerous as England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was forced to produce a stunning save after Marcus Berg’s towering header looked destined for the back of the net.

But England pressed home their advantage in the 58th minute with a Dele Alli header following an attack that seemed to involve most of England’s front line.

Likewise, Croatia ended Russia’s unlikely World Cup dream when they won 4-3 on penalties to eliminate the gallant hosts after a dramatic quarter-final ended 2-2 after extra time on Saturday.

Fyodor Smolov saw Russia’s first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved a Mateo Kovacic kick, the hosts’ fate was sealed when Mario Fernandes fired completely wide from their third attempt.

Croatia then went ahead with a soft header in the 11th minute of extra time but Brazilian-born Fernandes headed the hosts level with five minutes of play remaining to send the game to penalties.

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France beats Croatia 4-2 to clinch 2nd World Cup title

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MOSCOW — France has clinched its second FIFA World Cup title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the finals in Moscow on Sunday in the highest-scoring final since 1966.

France led 2-1 at halftime courtesy of the first own-goal and the first video-reviewed penalty in a World Cup final. The own-goal off the top of Mario Mandzukic’s head was the 12th of the tournament.

Argentine referee Nestor Pitana initially didn’t call the handball but awarded the spot kick after a video review – the first time in a World Cup final. Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty to put France back in front.

Croatia rallied to equalize with a terrific left-foot strike by Ivan Perisic; however France took the lead right back when Perisic handled the ball in his own penalty area.

ALSO READ :  France beats Croatia 4-2 to clinch 2nd World Cup title

The match was temporarily disrupted when four pitch invaders ran onto the field in the 52nd minute before being dragged away by security and police.

Punk rock group Pussy Riot quickly claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion via social media, saying it was a protest aimed at ending illegal arrests of protesters and to allow political competition in Russia.

Play resumed and France quickly took a 4-1 lead with goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in the 59th and 65th minutes.

Croatia was playing in its first World Cup final. For France, it was a first World Cup crown since winning on home soil in 1998.

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