Harry Kane leads England to beat Croatia 2-1, advance to Nations League finals

England's Harry Kane (R) celebrates winning against Croatia. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE London, UK Nov 19, 2018, 12.42 PM (IST)

England striker Harry Kane on Sunday led his national team to rally from a one-goal deficit and beat Croatia 2-1, booking a place in the UEFA Nations League finals as the winners of League A Group 4.

The defeat sends 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up Croatia down to League B, the second tier of the first-ever edition of the new men's tournament while denying Spain a berth in the finals, as La Roja had to settle for the second spot.

England was keen to earn the win and made that clear in the early going, as attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling was set up for a one-on-one situation against Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic, who made the save.

Shortly after, Kalinic nearly cost his team a goal when he tried to prevent the ball from reaching Kane but exposed his goal instead.

Kane's shot at the wide-open goal was cleared by a Croatia player off the goal line, and then Kalinic, who recovered his position, saved his second attempt on the goal.

Midway through the first half, the momentum shifted as Croatia seized control of the ball, trying to threaten Jordan Pickford's goal, but the game remained scoreless at the half.

On Croatia's first real attempt in the second half, substitute forward Josip Brekalo passed the ball to attacking midfielder Andrej Kramaric, who dribbled around several players inside the area before putting the ball home in the 57th minute.

The Three Lions, however, did not give up as they pushed for a comeback and coach Gareth Southgate sent Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard onto the field.

Southgate's changes proved to be decisive as Lingard drew his team level after he was set up for the goal by Kane in the 78th minute. 

With four minutes to go before second-half stoppage time, Kane struck his first Nations League goal, sealing the win.

Story highlights

The defeat sends 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up Croatia down to League B, the second tier of the first-ever edition of the new men's tournament while denying Spain a berth in the finals, as La Roja had to settle for the second spot.