Moscow: Croatia sensationally cemented their first ever World Cup final with a dramatic 2-1 extra time win over a gallant England side at Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital on Wednesday.
A match that became a long battle between two teams displaying warrior spirit began with a Kieran Trippier free kick within the first five minutes. That goal was cancelled out by a second-half Ivan Perisic equalizer to ensure the sides were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
In the end, a goal from striker Mario Mandzukic in the second half of extra time provided the agonizing difference that booked Croatia a first ever World Cup final place, in which they will meet a formidable-looking ‘Les Bleus’ at the same stadium on Sunday.
For first time in World Cup’s 88-year-old history, it’s Croatia vs France in final
- Kieran Trippier scored in the 5th minute to give England an early lead, before Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia in the 68th minute, and Mario Mandzukic scored the winner in the 109th.
- Croatia have entered the World Cup final for the first-ever time.
- This was the ninth semifinal to go to extra time. And, only the fourth time, it was decided in the 30 minutes.
- While Croatia will play France in the final on Sunday, England will face Belgium in the third place play-off on Saturday.
- Sunday’s match will be France’s third appearance in a World Cup final. Les Blues defeated Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 final and lost to Italy in a penalty shootout in 2006.