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FIFA World Cup: Croatia qualify for first final

Thu, Jul 12, 11:05am by Staff Writer

Croatia have reached their first World Cup final win a stunning 2-1 win against England in extra time in Moscow.

Priced at $34 to win the World Cup pre-tournament, Croatia have been the surprise team of the competition.

They were undefeated in group matches, which included a 3-0 win against Argentina.

The knockout rounds had fans on the edge of their seat as they needed penalties to defeat both Denmark and Russia.

Croatia is the first team since England in 1990 to play extra time in three consecutive World Cup matches.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal for Croatia in the 109th minute, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the area.

England had reached their first semi-final since 1990 and started brilliantly, with Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick slotted home after only five minutes.

That was the fastest goal scored in a World Cup semi-final since 1958, where Brazilian Vava scored after just two minutes against France.

Perisic scored midway through the second half to tie the game and send it to extra time.

England had chances to double their lead, when Harry Kane’s golden touch eluded him, while Jesse Lingard also shot wide when a goal beckoned.

The Three Lions ran out of steam after the break and were second best for large portions of the second half.

Croatia controlled possession, with 55 per cent for the match and had double the number of shots on goal, with 22 compared to England’s 11.

With seven shots on target to two and more corners, the Croatians were the more attacking side after going down early in the game.

Their dogged style meant they drew more fouls from Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir.

Croatia progresses to play France in the final in Moscow on Monday morning.

Les Bleus are overwhelming favourites to claim their first World Cup since 1998. They are $1.91 at Sportsbet to win in regular time and $1.45 to lift the cup.

Croatia are $4.50 outsiders and $2.75 to lift the cup. The draw is paying $3.25 while Croatia are at a huge $18 to win in extra time for the second game in a row.

England and Belgium will take part in the third-placed playoff in Saint Petersburg on Sunday morning.

Belgium are $2.25 favourites for the match, with England $3.10 outsiders. The draw is paying $3.60.

Both sides met in the final match of group G, where Belgium were victorious 1-0.

The third-placed playoff is typically a free-flowing game and this is reflected in the over/under goals market, where over 2.5 goals is a short $1.57 at Sportsbet.

FIFA World Cup Odds – Sportsbet


France $1.91 Draw $3.25 Croatia $4.50

Third Placed Playoff 

Belgium $2.25 Draw $3.60 England $3.10

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