Croatia stun England in extra time to book first-ever final berth

The All England Club has come under increasing pressure to rethink its 2pm start time for Sunday's men's singles final with the football showpiece in Moscow kicking off at 4pm in the UK

Vive la France: Les Bleus advance to World Cup final

When Croatia's Mario Mandzukic scored in extra time to put his team up 2-1 over England, AFP photographer Yuri Cortez was in flawless position to capture the ensuing celebration. Making matters worse is the fact that while the teams have no way to win the tournament, they still must play one more match that's essentially meaningless - the third-place match, which Belgium and England will compete in on Saturday.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals are set, with France and Croatia ready to face off July 15 for the ultimate title in soccer.

That hasn't been the only drama for Croatia, which won its first two World Cup knockout stage games against Denmark and Russian Federation on penalty kicks. "Nobody gave up", said Dalic, whose team have played the equivalent of one match more than the French.

"It will be more about the physical capabilities of the team", the manager said.

"The victory over Argentina, the extra time!"

'We were lucky but also showed character.

"What our players did today, the strength they've shown, the stamina, the energy levels ..." In extra time nobody wanted to be subbed.

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Croatia defeated England by 2-1 in the semi finals at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

In London, an initial wave of elation turned to heartbreak as 30,000 beer-soaked fans in Hyde Park watched their team come up short.

Dalic´s side were clearly exhausted, but they managed to fight on to the end of two hours of gripping football to take the country of just over four million people into the final for the first time.

Looking back on the game, he admitted that his team could have been finished had England captain Harry Kane taken a clear first half chance at a time when they were leading 1-0. Before the tournament started, there were doubts over us.

"But equally we want to be a team that are hitting quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals - that is what we have aimed to do in the long term. Even out there the fans singing after a defeat, it's a proud feeling".

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper believes England have "moved forward into a brighter age". Blanc wasn't able to play the final match that year after receiving a red card in the semifinal. "No country on earth would call that anything other than improvement". "I would play a final without a leg if necessary".

In a amusing turn of events, this will be the second time that Belgium and England face off at the 2018 World Cup, and the second time the outcome of the match will be met with relative indifference.

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