A goal in the second half from Ivan Perisic forced extra time, and Mandzukic's strike destroyed England's dream run short, as a team that surpassed expectations and has a bright future failed to really play well after the break.
A peak audience of 1.05 million in Wales tuned in for England's World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia. The score was tied 1-1 in the 109th minute when the burly striker latched onto a ball from Ivan Perisic and burst into the six-yard box to lash a shot past England keeper Jordan Pickford, breaking English hearts and sending the Croatian team and its fans into ecstasy.
England manager Gareth Southgate insists his side will face their toughest challenge of the World Cup to date when they lock horns with Croatia in the semi-final. He knows what to say at the right time.
"The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward".
It was his first goal for his country, England's 12th of the tournament and ninth from a set-piece, but they should have added more from open play as they revelled in the space they were being given in the first half.
The quarter-final against Sweden saw England triumph with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden, setting up Wednesday's semi-final against Croatia.
England, playing with zip and goal, looked sharp going forward as a rattled Croatia side tried to regroup, with Raheem Sterling proving a real handful but the score remained 1-0 at the break.
"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".
Before a ball had even been kicked at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, expectations surrounding the England national team were low.
England players collapsed on the pitch, distraught as the Croatians and their fans celebrated wildly, . I'm hugely proud of what we've done - I couldn't have asked for any more.
The win sent tens of thousands of French people pouring onto the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris in scenes of joy last seen when France won the World Cup two decades ago.
England looked at their best and most threatening when Sterling was zipping around up front, yet they struggled to get him involved in the second half as Croatia's all-star midfield belatedly took control of proceedings.
England had got off to a flying start when Trippier curled a superb free kick into the top corner in the opening minutes.