Kieran Trippier has been likened to David Beckham for his quality in dead-ball situations and he showed why, bending a free-kick over the defensive wall to give England a very early lead with his first global goal.
While Croats are in the semi-finals on the back of two knockout victories over Denmark and Russian Federation via penalty shootouts, England got past Colombia and Sweden in the last two elimination matches.
But instead of flagging, they seemed to gain in energy and avoided a third shootout when Mandzukic struck with a well-taken low shot in the 109th minute. His absence would likely hand a start to Vedran Corluka in the center of defense alongside Lovren, shifting Vida to right-back.
He added: "We know we have done everybody proud but we wanted to go on and win it, [so] we have fallen a bit short". Considering how passionate William is about soccer, there's a possibility the prince will watch the game and live tweet from the Kensington Palace Twitter account as he did during England's victory against Sweden on Saturday. "God willing, we will be world champions".
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Some 30,000 people will gather in London's Hyde Park to watch the game, with the Lightning Seeds set to perform Three Lions before kick-off.
Jordan Henderson is desperate to extend his record-breaking unbeaten run and help England reach the World Cup final.
Trippier swung in a late free kick but Kane was unable to direct it on target and minutes later the match moved into extra time.
With England on the front foot, Raheem Sterling nearly latched onto a pass from Jordan Henderson but Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic raced out to claim the ball. Croatia had been desperately poor but started to get a foothold in the game as the match rolled past the hour mark and Luka Modric's influence grew.
It was a different game from then on, with Croatia suddenly playing with accuracy and objective as England lost momentum, though Kane missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he headed wide from a free kick.
Both teams had their chances in the additional 30 minutes, but it was Mario Mandzukic who buried the victor with 109 minutes on the clock.
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"This is a miracle".
"I think Raheem has been fundamental to the way that we have played - his movement, the positions he takes up, his pressing of the ball, his work-rate for the team, the winning of free-kicks and corners, his speed to stretch teams".
"We deserved to reach the final".
Liverpool's Lovren is set to come up against Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane when Croatia and England meet on Wednesday. "For us as a team, it's another chance to create a small piece of history". "There's a lot we could have done better".
Croatia had 45 minutes to keep their World Cup dream alive but with Modric well contained, and Strinic and Vrsaljko forced into playing long balls, an equaliser look like it would be hard to come by. "It's been a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone else thought we would have", he added.
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