England vs Croatia: Why the memory of Kieran Trippier's World Cup free-kick will last even in defeat

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Kieran Trippier’s first professional goal, for Barnsley against Leeds United back in February 2011, was a curling free-kick from 25 yards. His second, against Doncaster, was a curling free-kick from 25 yards. You can watch that one on YouTube. As Tripper prepares to shoot he receives some sage advice from the fan behind the camera – “Just on target, low and f***ing hard” – before nonchalantly sweeping the ball over the wall and into the top corner.

It was identical to his free-kick against Croatia, curling half a yard inside the upright too fast for the goalkeeper to stop. The 27-year-old’s career has been a slow burner, showing promise at Barnsley, quietly impressing at Burnley, patiently waiting at Tottenham, and as the ball hit Danijel Subasic’s net on Wednesday night an optimistic thought came to mind that this was probably another one of Gareth Southgate’s careful plans, to keep quiet the best right foot in English football for the past seven years in order to unfurl it in all its glory in the fifth minute of a World Cup semi-final.