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The team will be stronger [in defeat]. "It's just unbelievable to get back in the game in this way".

England's last appearance at this stage was in 1990 when they lost in a penalty shootout to West Germany in Turin while eight years later, in their first World Cup as an independent nation, Croatia lost to hosts and eventual winners France. Croatia broke English hearts, coming from 1-0 down to beat the Three Lions 2-1 in extra-time and advance to the World Cup final for the first time.

Croatia's supporters celebrate the second goal as they watch on a giant screen the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semifinal football match between Croatia and England, at the main square in Zagreb on July 11, 2018.

The last time they won the tournament was in their home stadium in 1966. Harry Kane & Co. will deal with the same disappointment that felled Shearer and Platt, Gazza and Wazza, Beckham and Gerrard.

They were looking to the inspirational Luke Modric to control the game, but instead it was he who gave away the early free-kick from which Trippier put England ahead.

But having failed to add a second to Trippier's opener, England's youthful side exhausted and succumbed to an experience Croatia team.

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic scores the decisive goal in his team's semifinal against England.

Perisic equalized in the 68th minute, though, and then set up Mandzukic in the 109th minute for the eventual victor.

Croatia will be especially wary not to give Trippier too much leeway to fire in risky crosses from the right flank.

Four minutes later, Perisic hit Pickford's near post. A fizzed low cross from Perisic was met by the advancing Mandzukic, but Pickford came out bravely and deflected the ball wide with the outside of his leg. The defence then lost track of things from a shot corner and another fine cross from Vrsaljko nearly saw Rebic get his head on the ball.

Mandzukic was mobbed by teammates, who jumped on him in the corner and trapped photographers under them in the crush.

It was their 12th goal of the tournament and ninth from a set-piece, but they should have added more from open play as they reveled in the space they were being given and looked completely in command.

As well as scoring, Perisic also hit the post for the second straight game and set up Mandzukic's victor, heading a poor clearance toward the Juventus striker to score.

At times in the first half, they were struggling for air against England, but Croatia still held on, and fought back to win.

Gareth Southgate's team dominated the first half, and they had Croatia on the ropes for lengthy periods after Trippier's fifth-minute free kick had given England the lead. Choruses of "God Save the Queen" began in England's end.

After patient passing build-up play in the 108th minute, Mandžukić popped up on the six-yard line to dim England's dreams.

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.

It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and goal as England lost their shape and composure, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick.

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