England player ratings as Harry Kane wastes his golden moment in painful Croatia loss

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England suffered World Cup semi-final heartbreak as Croatia came from behind to win 2-1.

Right-back Kieran Trippier rocketed in a fifth-minute free-kick, with Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane soon failing to double the lead. These misses – in England’s first last-four clash in the global event since 1990 – came back to hurt the Three Lions in the second half at Luzhniki Stadium.

Winger Ivan Perisic volleyed in the 68th-minute leveller, via a potential high foot. Then in extra-time, veteran striker Mario Mandzukic took advantage of centre-back John Stones’ woeful marking to lash Croatia into their first major final.

ENGLAND (3-5-2)

Jordan Pickford – 6: Performance mirrored that of the team. Dominated in first half and skittish after break. Redeemed himself with tremendous Mandzukic stop.

Kyle Walker – 5: Silly yellow card for time wasting and then his defensive instincts were questionable for leveller. A recurring theme in Russia.

John Stones – 5: Almost gifted Perisic his second goal. Punishment soon followed when he critically lost Mandzukic. Earlier header was cleared off the line.

Harry Maguire – 6: Can count himself very lucky that neither VAR or the on-field officials punished his first-half injury-time tug on Dejan Lovren.

Jordan Henderson – 5: A nagging hamstring complaint saw Henderson’s influence diminish. Did not have physicality to try and put his foot on the ball after break.

Kieran Trippier – 6: Should have been the hero after beautiful fifth-minute free-kick. Errors soon crept in, however, especially when ignoring Perisic’s run.

Jesse Lingard – 5: Was in the team to create and did not do this. Further tasked with using energy to disrupt Croatia and also failed.

Dele Alli – 5: Contributed to second-half surrender, despite earlier winning free-kick for goal. Deep role, like at Euro 2016, did not suit him.

Ashley Young – 5: A fifth start of the tournament proved a bridge too far for the Three Lions veteran. Removed for Danny Rose.

Harry Kane – 5: Unbelievably spurned two golden quick-fire efforts in first half. Then dropped far too deep in a harmful and misguided attempt to dominate proceedings.

Raheem Sterling – 7: Was liveliest player for England and it was a surprise when he was hooked. Still, however, goalless in Russia.

SUBS

Marcus Rashford – 6: Showed willingness, yet the big chance didn’t come his way.

Danny Rose – 7: Made several driving runs and probably should have started this match.

Eric Dier – 6: The penalty hero from Colombia didn’t get chance to make history repeat itself.

Jamie Vardy – N/A: Leicester City man barely touched the ball and came on after Trippier’s injury, leaving England with 10 men.

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Rooney and Petric headline heroes and villains from past Croatia v England clashes

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Fireworks have often followed when Croatia and England have met.

Wednesday evening’s World Cup semi-final at Luzhniki Stadium will be the most high profile. But the seven past clashes – four England wins, two Croatia wins and a draw – have seen superstars rise to the challenge and several figures painfully flop.

Here, we picks out a hero and villain from each side:

HEROES

MLADEN PETRIC (CROATIA)

It is a game mired in infamy for England, and glory for the Croats.

The two sides met at a sodden Wembley – more on that later – with qualification to Euro 2008 on the line.

A sensational game followed in November 2007, from which Croatia decisively won 3-2 thanks to Mladen Petric’s strike. In the process, English hearts were broken as they failed to make a major tournament for the first time since World Cup 1994.

The hosts needed just a draw from the final qualifier to proceed, but went 2-0 down as Niko Kranjcar’s shot from distance slipped through Scott Carson’s grasp and Ivica Olic slipped in a second. Frank Lampard’s penalty and Peter Crouch’s sharp finish put England back in dream land.

Then, Petric’s moment arrived. The striker was thrown on with 13 minutes left and soon responded with a rasping, low shot from 25 yards.

This shattered English dreams of advancement and ensured Croatia’s spot in the finals.

For a multitude of reasons, Three Lions manager Steve McClaren would never live this moment down.

WAYNE ROONEY (ENGLAND)

A teenage superstar’s name was written in lights during Euro 2004 at Estadio da Luz.

An 18-year-old Wayne Rooney’s process of transforming youthful promise into a fearsome reality continued at pace against Croatia. The then Everton forward struck twice in a 4-2 defeat of Croatia that confirmed entry into the knockouts.

Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson led the chorus of praise.

“I don’t remember anyone making such an impact on a tournament since Pele in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden,” he said.

Rooney had notched twice in the preceding 3-0 triumph against Switzerland. His emerging legend would be added to.

He first set-up future Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes to level up from Niko Kovac’s early opener. A piledriver then followed from Rooney in first-half stoppage time, prior to a superb run and finish on the break.

Goals at either end from Igor Tudor and Frank Lampard rounded out a 4-2 win for England.

VILLAINS

ROBERT KOVAC (CROATIA)

Sweet revenge was served on a platter by defender Robert Kovac’s misdemeanour.

Less than a year since their Wembley humiliation, Croatia and England met in qualifying for World Cup 2010. Italian icon Fabio Capello was now in charge of the Three Lions and his influence told.

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott struck a brace before the hour mark to put the visitors on course for victory. Kovac’s violent elbow during an aerial challenge with Joe Cole would turn the loss into a rout.

Rooney struck an accomplished third goal, before Mario Mandzukic’s consolation and Walcott’s hat-trick strike made it 4-1.

STEVE MCCLAREN (ENGLAND)

Headline writers were handed a gift on one of English football’s worst nights.

McClaren took over from Eriksson and promised a fresh era, yet erratic decisions – switching formations before a critical loss in Croatia, dropping iconic midfielder David Beckham plus goalkeeper Paul Robinson for the return – and cliched discourse put his nation on track for disaster.

An image to sum up the former No2’s bumbling image was provided on a damp Wembley night, that reflected the country’s mood as entry to Euro 2008 slipped away. As the rain poured down in November 2007 and Petric earned Croatia a devastating 3-2 victory, McClaren’s choice to open up his umbrella would provide the defining image of a bungled era.

“Wally with a Brolly” was the infamous headline produced by the Daily Mail to sum up a pitiful period for the Three Lions.

“If I think about it, I’ve got no regrets about anything I did, any decisions I made throughout,” said McClaren, self-justifying and deluded until the end.

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Davor Suker and Harry Kane head past and present match-ups for Croatia v England

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All four semi-finalists at World Cup 2018 feel the hand of history.

Superstars of even Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic’s renown have spoken about the impact of Croatia’s debut charge to the same stage in France 1998. Similarly, Wednesday’s opponents at Luzhniki Stadium, England, regale about their previous last-four appearance – 28 years ago at Italia ’90.

Here, we compare how the current competitors match up to their compatriots who last reached the World Cup semi-finals:

CROATIA

Goalkeeper: Sepia-tinged flashbacks about Croatia’s 1998 heroes often miss out their veteran goalkeeper.

Drazen Ladic came into the tournament aged 35 and on the back of a suspect qualifying campaign. But he excelled in France, a superb save against feared centre forward Olivier Bierhoff coming in the famous 3-0 quarter-final victory against Germany.

Danijel Subasic has enjoyed a strong tournament under head coach Zlatko Dalic. His superb penalty-stopping record for Monaco has continued in Russia.

He pulled off a joint-record three saves in the round-of-16 shootout against Denmark, before – while suffering cramp –  pawing away Fedor Smolov’s pathetic ‘Panenka’ when the hosts were eliminated via the same method.

1998 rating: 7/10

2018 rating: 8/10

FUSSBALL: WM FRANCE 98 Lyon, 04.07.98

Defence: Croatia’s backline has performed in contrasting manners during both advancements to the knockouts.

In 1998, there were no clean sheets in the group stage but a pair followed in the round of 16 and quarters. Such form saw left-back Robert Jarni earn a move to Real Madrid, via a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stop at Coventry City, and youngster Dario Simic switched to Internazionale.

Centre-back Slaven Bilic’s only misstep was a shameful dive that got Laurent Blanc sent off and ruled out of the final.

Fast forward two decades and Croatia conceded once during the pools, but let in three goals during two knockout games. Besiktas utility man Domagoj Vida has been the outstanding part of a section that lacks glitter.

1998 rating: 8/10

2018 rating: 7/10

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH59-RUS-CRO

Midfield: Some of the most-refined footballers Europe has ever produced feature in both line-ups.

Dalic’s crop is lit up by midfielders Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona. The latter has effortlessly dispatched clutch penalties to win both shootouts, all while performing in an atypical withdrawn role.

Modric is a contender for player of the tournament. He is a maestro among mere mortals, even if his penalty technique needs improvement, with his perfectly sliced drive against Argentina the highlight.

Zvonimir Boban performed a similarly accomplished role to Rakitic, 20 years ago. Both conductor and destroyer, he was a performer of rare talent. Napoli’s Aljosa Asanovic was an able facilitator.

1998 rating: 9/10

2018 rating: 9/10

FUSSBALL: WM FRANCE 98 Bordeaux, 26.06.98

Attack: Davor Suker’s genius was written across France 1998.

Supported by the likes of Parma forward Mario Stanic, he struck six times in seven matches to win the Golden Boot as top scorer and Silver Ball as the competition’s second-best player. The Madrid frontman’s best goal was left for the third-placed play-off, drilling the ball into the bottom corner with adept precision to help beat the Netherlands.

Dalic’s phalanx is led by Mario Mandzukic, a striker whose great gifts reside in selflessness and commitment rather than rarefied finishing.

The Juventus man runs himself into the ground. His only goal of this tournament came with a snapped volley in a goalmouth scramble against Denmark in the round of 16.

1998 rating: 9/10

2018 rating: 7/10

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH59-RUS-CRO

OVERALL

1998 rating: 33/40

2018 rating: 31/40

ENGLAND

Goalkeeper: Shot stoppers at contrasting ends of the spectrum feature in this review.

Jordan Pickford, 24, was named England No1 by head coach Gareth Southgate for Russia, despite then possessing just three caps. This show of faith has been rewarded in fine style, with the Everton keeper being the star of the penalty-shootout win versus Colombia and then producing a trio of expert saves against Sweden.

Peter Shilton was a 40-year-old veteran at Italia ’90, his exploits still making him England’s most-capped player with 125 run-outs. But his age showed in the semi-final against Germany, when he couldn’t reach Andreas Brehme’s deflected free-kick or any efforts in the shootout.

1990 rating: 5/10

2018 rating: 8/10

Cameroon's forward Frantois Omam Biyik (L) tries t

Defence: Low expectations have been vastly improved upon in Russia this summer.

John Stones and Harry Maguire have held tight in defence and contributed three goals in attack, while Spurs right wing-back Kieran Trippier appears a shoo-in for team of the tournament. But it took until the last eight to keep a clean sheet, with auxiliary centre-back Kyle Walker making several errors – punished or unpunished.

England also utilised a five-man defence 28 years ago. Derby County centre-back Mark Wright got the vital goal in the groups against Egypt to progress, while only four strikes were conceded in the run to semi-final defeat thanks, in part, to the brilliance of Des Walker.

1990 rating: 8/10

2018 rating: 7/10

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH60-SWE-ENG

Midfield: Few players have had the impact, before or since, enjoyed by rampaging, gregarious playmaker Paul Gascoigne at Italia ’90.

‘Gazza’ was at his endeavouring best throughout a tournament that included several vital assists – plus tears after being booked in the semi-final that turned him into a global idol. An adventurous midfield saw David Platt and Peter Beardsley add goalscoring support.

Jordan Henderson’s strong end to the season at Liverpool has continued in Russia. The anchorman’s passing range and defensive diligence was detailed against Sweden.

Attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has an average of 93.4 per cent pass accuracy, while Dele Alli managed to get on the score sheet in the quarters despite seemingly carrying a knock. None of these have matched the impact of Gazza.

1990 rating: 8/10

2018 rating: 7/10

ITA: World Cup 1990 - England v Germany

Attack: Tottenham strikers have both performed decisive role during England’s two most recent runs to the semi-finals.

In the 1990 edition, Gary Lineker – tournament-top scorer four years prior – came alive in the knockouts. A brace of penalties salvaged the quarter-final against Cameroon and then he struck the leveller against Germany.

That semi-final was less memorable for talented club-mate Chris Waddle, one of the sport’s best dribblers, who missed the decisive penalty. Elsewhere, Peter Beardsley was an unselfish auxiliary.

Harry Kane is on track for 2018’s Golden Boot. His leading six goals includes a deciding brace against Tunisia, hat-trick against Panama and penalty against Colombia.

Partner Raheem Sterling is yet to net, but his selfless runs have pulled defences apart and created space for others.

1990 rating: 8/10

2018 rating: 9/10

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH30-ENG-PAN

OVERALL

1990 rating: 29/40

2018 rating: 31/40

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