Harry Kane scored an 85th-minute winner as England fought back from a goal down to beat Croatia 2-1 and secure a place in the Nations League Finals.
A repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi-final seemed set to end in heartbreak for England again when they fell behind to Andrej Kramaric’s deflected strike in the 54th minute at Wembley.
However, substitute Jesse Lingard poked home a close-range equaliser with 12 minutes remaining, setting up a frantic finish as qualification was suddenly up for grabs again.
Captain Kane completed the turnaround, the striker overcoming a mixed performance in front of goal by poking home Ben Chilwell’s cross from England’s left flank.
Like his team, the striker had appeared set to endure a frustrating outing until his telling contribution; he had scuffed over the top from a corner as well as seeing Tin Jedvaj and goalkeeper Lovre Kaliinic block on-target attempts in a first half the hosts dominated.
Raheem Sterling twice wasted one-on-one opportunities too, and the misses appeared set to be costly when Croatia struck on the counter.
Kramaric appeared to have wasted the shooting opportunity when he continuously dummied onto the opposite foot, only to eventually pull the trigger with a right-footed effort that found the net via a crucial touch off Eric Dier.
However, England took the direct route to finding an equaliser, Joe Gomez’s long throw flicked on by John Stones and while Kane’s stabbed attempt was partially blocked, Lingard was in the right place to provide the finishing touch from under a yard.
The Manchester United forward popped up on his own goal line to make a crucial intervention in defence, hacking clear Domagoj Vida’s header from a corner, before Kane struck, his finish on the stretch relegating Croatia from the top tier and gaining a modicum of revenge for the 2-1 loss in Moscow in July.
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