England’s World Cup journey in focus as they suffer semi-final heartbreak

England’s World Cup adventure drew to an agonising close on Wednesday evening as Gareth Southgate’s men missed out on a place in the final after a 2-1 extra-time defeat at the hands of Croatia.

Here, FP takes a look at how they fared in Russia.

June 18, Group G, Volgograd: Tunisia 1 England 2

Moment of the Day (18 June)

England football team captain Harry Kane scored twice including a stoppage-time winner as he led his side to a last-gasp 2-1 win over Tunisia in their opening FIFA World Cup match.🎥 Highlights 👉 https://www.youtube.com/fifa👀 TV listings 👉 http://fifa.tv/watch2018

Posted by FIFA World Cup on Monday, June 18, 2018

It all started so well for Southgate’s men as skipper Harry Kane set them on their way with an 11th-minute opener. However, Ferjani Sassi’s penalty, awarded to his dismay for a challenge by Kyle Walker on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, took Tunisia to within seconds of a creditable draw before Kane headed England to a vital victory in stoppage time.

June 24, Group G, Nizhny Novgorod: England 6 Panama 1

There was no such drama second time around as England, aided by some strong refereeing from Egypt’s Gehad Grisha, raced into a 5-0 lead by half-time with central defender John Stones helping himself to a double and Kane matching him from the penalty spot either side of Jesse Lingard’s sumptuous strike. It was 6-0 when Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot was deflected home by Kane, with Felipe Baloy’s late strike unable to dampen the Three Lions’ joy at securing their passage to the last 16.

June 28, Group G, Kaliningrad: England 0 Belgium 1

Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj (left) celebrates after scoring the winner against England
Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj (left) celebrates after scoring the winner against England (Aaron Chown/PA)

Both Southgate and opposite number Roberto Martinez shuffled their packs for a game which would determine which of the teams finished top of the group as they made a total of 17 changes between them. One of the newcomers, Adnan Januzaj, made the most of his chance when he blasted an unstoppable 51st-minute shot past Jordan Pickford to preserve the Belgians’ perfect record.

July 3, last 16, Moscow: Colombia 1 England 1 (After extra time, England win 4-3 on penalties)

Kane’s 57th-minute penalty had put his side within touching distance of victory, only for defender Yerry Mina to level with a stoppage-time header. England’s penalty shoot-out misery seemed set to continue when Jordan Henderson saw his effort saved by David Ospina, but after Mateus Uribe had hit the bar with Colombia’s fourth attempt, Pickford repelled Carlos Bacca’s effort to set the stage for Eric Dier to win it.

July 7, quarter-finals, Samara: Sweden 0 England 2

Harry Maguire's header set England on their way to victory over Sweden.
Harry Maguire’s header set England on their way to victory over Sweden (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Harry Maguire headed England in front as the Three Lions once again scored from a set-piece against a fairly lacklustre Sweden side. Dele Alli made sure of England’s place in the final four as he headed home Jesse Lingard’s cross to give Southgate’s side a thoroughly-deserved and straightforward route into their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

July 11, semi-finals, Moscow: Croatia 2 England 1 (After extra-time)

Mario Mandzukic's extra-time goal condemned England to semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Croatia.
Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time goal condemned England to semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Croatia (Aaron Chown/PA)

England looked to be on course for just their second World Cup final appearance as Kieran Trippier bent home a superb fifth-minute free-kick to put them ahead in the Luzhniki Stadium. But things are rarely so smooth and Ivan Perisic’s second-half equaliser was deserved as Croatia started to show their quality as the game wore on. Another period of extra-time therefore stood between the Three Lions and a final against France, only for Mario Mandzukic to tuck away the winning goal after some static England defending allowed him to beat Jordan Pickford.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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