AFP photographer becomes part of Croatia World Cup goal celebration

Mateo Kovacic Igor Akinfeev Russia Croatia

"Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago", said Deschamps.

Neither side could find another breakthrough - Modric missing a penalty deep into extra-time - as the match went to spot-kicks. "We are in a World Cup semi-final".

Vrsaljko, who plays for Atletico Madrid, had struggled to be ready for the match after playing in two previous extra-time matches, but he found the strength to lift his exhausted, battered team to a comeback win.

"The game went a lot better after the first half", said Richard Majic, another spectator at the garage. It wasn't about having a good tournament, it wasn't about being happy to be in the top four, so it's a really sad dressing room right now because the opportunity of being in the final was the only focus that we had.

"I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me", said photographer Yuri Cortez, who was positioned next to the pitchside advertising boards. His goal sent the game into the overtime period with 1-1 draw. In extra-time nobody wanted to be substituted.

Deschamps also recalled France's defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris two years ago, and revealed it's still weighing on the team.

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The French have relied on the attacking brilliance of 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappé while Croatia have depended on Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic to spearhead their attack.

Eric Dier has warned England will face one of the best players in the world tonight.

Among them were father and son Joe and Andrew Settle, from Bolton, who have never travelled away with England but decided they could not miss the chance to see the national side in a World Cup semi-final.

"It was a very hard game, we all knew what was at stake, how important such a semi-final was for a small nation like Croatia", Perisic said of the win over England.

The goal, timed at 109 minutes of the match, cemented Croatia's first ever World Cup final berth and was celebrated after the game was over by the Croatia children. "We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don't have a proper stadium to play that game". That is a great source of pride for us.

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