Croatia yet again showed their magnificent resilience to come from behind and beat England 2-1 in the 2nd semifinal as Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time goal sent them into their first World Cup final and a possible revenge mission against France.
For the third successive knockout game, the Croats trailed, this time to Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute free kick, but they fought back once more to force extra time.
Since their dream run to the last four in 1998, their first tournament as an independent nation, Croatia have failed to get past the group stage, with every subsequent failing team being compared unfavorably with the heroes of France.
This side, however, has gone one better and will get the chance to avenge the defeat of 20 years ago when they face the French on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Despite the disappointment of England’s loss, there was an outpouring of support towards Gareth Southgate’s team, with many describing the side’s achievements at Russia as having ‘exceeded expectations’.