UEFA Nations League: England qualify for semis with dramatic win over Croatia

first_imgEngland perhaps avenged their World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia by defeating them 2-1 to qualify for the semi-finals on UEFA Nations League at Wembley on Sunday.Gareth Southgate’s England side were denied the chance to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final by Croatia as they lose 2-1 in extra time but on Sunday, the English side scored two late goals to turn the table.Croatia, on the other hand, were relegated from Group A4 of the Nations League after the defeat.England were themselves facing the drop when Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric scored after 57 minutes but substitute Lingard and Kane netted in the 77th and 85th minutes at a vociferous Wembley to turn the group on its head.Stick together. Win together. #threelions pic.twitter.com/8tFsHA6pjKEngland (@England) November 18, 2018England had dominated for large periods but fell behind when Kramaric twisted and turned before firing in via a deflection off Eric Dier.Yet Lingard poked home and Kane converted Ben Chilwell’s free kick to ensure England finished top of a group where all three teams — including Spain who started the day top but finished second — could have qualified.England, who progress to the finals in Portugal in June, finished with seven points, one ahead of Spain and three clear of Croatia, who were relegated to the second tier.England made eight changes from the side that beat the United States in a friendly on Thursday with no place in the starting lineup for Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson.advertisementCroatia, meanwhile, were without influential midfielder Ivan Rakitic, and in his absence the visitors missed a golden opportunity when Ante Rebic fired over with England keeper Jordan Pickford horribly exposed after only two minutes.Also read – UEFA Nations League: Portugal secure first semi-final berth after draw in ItalyAs England started to dominate, a fine Kane ball sent Raheem Sterling free, only for the Manchester City winger to shoot directly at Croatia keeper Lovre Kalinic while Kane spooned the resulting corner over the crossbar.There was very vocal contingent of Croatia fans in the 78,000-strong crowd, but they were lucky not to see their side concede as Kane was brilliantly denied first by defender Tin Jedvaj and then Kalinic with the visitors struggling to contain England’s pacy attack.Ross Barkley volleyed into the side netting shortly before halftime, yet after the break it was Kramaric who kept his composure brilliantly before converting Croatia’s first shot on target.READ – UEFA Nations League: Depay last-minute penalty helps Netherlands beat France 2-0England introduced Dele Alli, Jadon Sancho and Lingard after the goal and their energy proved decisive with Lingard, poking home in the 77th minute.Both sides looked dangerous in a frantic, full-blooded final 15 minutes but with Wembley roaring them on, it was man-of-the-match Kane who was on hand to slide in Chilwell’s free kick and seal England’s progress.(With Reuters inputs)Also watch –last_img read more