England still relied on long balls, says Croatia's Vrsaljko

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Croatia defender Sime Vrsaljko accused England of reverting to long-ball tactics during his team's thrilling FIFA World Cup semi-final win on Thursday (AEST).

A sublime free-kick from Kieran Trippier put England ahead, but goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic saw Croatia to a 2-1 win after extra-time.

While Gareth Southgate's men have been praised for their style in Russia, Vrsaljko – who produced an excellent display at right-back – felt England became direct once his team got on top.

"We were good. We controlled the game, but there's always tension with us, we always concede this early goal and have shocks," Vrsaljko said.

"It was a matter of time before we would score. It wasn't easy, but I think we were physically ready.

"There's always talk that this isn't England that skips the game – but it's obvious that as soon as we started to play, they started to boot the ball.

"We're in the final, it's a dream, but we aren't stopping here."

Vrsaljko also hit out at the media, with England favourites going into the last-four clash.

"Their statements were motivation," he said. "Get out on the pitch and then talk, that's what we did."

Croatia face France in the World Cup final on Monday.

Source: Omnisport

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