England's going home, they're going home, they're going home, they're going... 4 months ago

England's going home, they're going home, they're going home, they're going...

England's going home.

With all the talk of football coming home in the last few week, buoyed by England breaking their penalty hoodoo and a solid win over Sweden, one could have been forgiven for genuinely believing that Gareth Southgate's men were on their way to the final.

But it was not to be. All it took was England's defence falling asleep for one moment for Mario Mandzukic to slip in behind, latch on to Perisic's nodded down header, and finish expertly past Jordan Pickford.

England had started brightly with Kieran Trippier pinging a free-kick into the top corner, but their dominance faded utterly in the second half and Croatia took control of the game, pressing and probing until a delicious flick from Perisic found the net.

Complaints of a high boot from the Inter Milan winger seemed fair enough, but neither the ref nor his VAR team were interested.

Croatia didn't take their foot off the pedal and Perisic hit the post, and Mandzukic forced a very brave save from Pickford.

As extra-time began, England found their footing once more, but a lucky break of the ball for veteran finisher Mandzukic proved vital. A player of his quality was not going to miss from there, and the 32-year-old sent his country into raptures with a historic goal to make it 2-1.

Southgate's men pushed back for the final 10 minutes of extra-time, but they couldn't carve out any chances. England looked even more beleaguered when Kieran Trippier was forced off through injury after England had made all their subs.

Croatia will now meet France in what is their very first World Cup final. England will have the bitter consolation of playing Belgium in Saturday's third-place play-off.