Kieran Trippier goal against Croatia confirms England as World Cup set piece specialists

England’s reputation as set piece kings was already firmly established before Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal against Croatia, but Kieran Trippier’s early goal in Moscow was the Three Lions’ ninth from dead ball situations at this tournament, the most by single team since 1966.

The biggest game in the nation’s history since the Euro 96 semifinal against Germany got off to the best possible start when Dele Alli’s threatening run was brought to a premature end by Luka Modric’s foul. From the resulting free kick Tottenham full-back Trippier bent the ball up and over Croatia’s defensive wall and into the net, scoring his first international goal.

Despite boasting free kick specialists like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard down the years, England’s record from direct free kicks at recent World Cups has been disappointing.

Ashley Young and Trippier have shared free kick duties in Russia until the Spurs man took centre stage in Russia, emulating David Beckham as the only man to score from a similar scenario for England at a World Cup.

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