England are out of the World Cup. After uniting a nation and reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1990 it was Croatia who sent them packing. Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time winner proved enough for victory after Ivan Perisic had cancelled out Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute opener.
For one Croatia player, the performance was the perfect example of his experience at Liverpool last season. Dejan Lovren was imperious for Croatia last night but only after a ropey start.
Lovren struggled in the first-half. The cunning of Harry Kane and the pace of Raheem Sterling had the Liverpool defender back-pedalling. At half-time the pundits slated him. It was, like the first half of his season at Liverpool. In October, Kane and Dele Alli tore him to shreds in a 4-1 Tottenham win. They were threatening to do so again.
But just like the second half of his season at Liverpool, Lovren turned things around after half-time.
He was like an entirely different player and his incredible clearance from a Trippier cross in the second-half was magnificent.
Liverpool fans supporting England last night will be devastated that football is not coming home. However, they will also be pleased to see their centre-back performing so well on the grandest stage.