England’s young lions lost their bite against Croatia to lose the World Cup semi-final 2-1 in extra time.
After taking an early lead with a stunning free kick by Kieran Trippier, England’s toothless attack couldn’t press home the advantage.
Harry Kane failed to hit the net for the second match running and disappeared for huge chunks of the game. The most likely scorer was center back John Stones, whose header from a corner was cleared off the line.
In the end, Croatia’s greater experience paid off with an expertly taken second half goal by Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, who got his foot above Kyle Walker’s head to beat Jordan Pickford.
Then the killer punch in the second half of extra time. England were already starting to think about penalties when Juventus star Mario Mandzukic buried the winner with 109 minutes on the clock.
England will play out a meaningless third place match with Belgium on Saturday while Croatia prepare for a final appearance against favourites France on Sunday.