Harry Kane's Dramatic Winner Completes Stunning Comeback Over Croatia

England and Croatia played out a testament to the UEFA Nations League in front of 78,221 Wembley spectators with the unique winner-takes-all circumstances in Group 4 making it immensely more enjoyable than a typical November friendly two years before a major international tournament. 

Andrej Kramaric delivered a sucker punch in the 57th minute to give Croatia a path to next summer’s finals in Portugal, but a 78th minute equalizer from Jesse Lingard gave England hope before a dramatic 85th minute winner from Harry Kane ultimately reversed the nations’ fortunes entirely: England will advance to the finals as group winners while Croatia’s now relegated to League B.

The first half was dominated largely by the Three Lions. They out-passed their opponents 340-193, refused to allow Croatia a shot on target while putting four on frame themselves and looked dangerous going forward – Marcus Rashford was particularly bright while completing five first half dribbles.

However, good chances for Sterling and Kane (x3) couldn’t be made to count.

Given what we saw from Croatia in Russia and the team’s propensity to weather storms and strike at any moment, Kramaric’s goal in the 57th minute wasn’t all that shocking, although it was against the run of play. 

Although the team clearly missed the presence of Ivan Rakitic, both Luka Modric and Marcelo Brozovic were keeping things humming in midfield, and it looked as though England’s wastefulness had condemned it to relegation.

However, in the 73rd minute, Lingard was brought on for Fabian Delph, and the Manchester United attacker found the equalizer five minutes later after a throw-in caused havoc in the box. 

The score draw gave the group advantage momentarily to Spain, but the task remained the same for England, and in the 85th minute, another set piece completed the comeback. 

England now joins Portugal as one of the four semifinalists at next summer’s finals. Croatia joins Germany, Iceland and Poland as the four sides relegated to League B. 

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