Zagreb: Tears and cries of joy, hugs and chants, firecrackers and flares — Croatia was on fire late Wednesday after their victory against England set up a first ever appearance in a World Cup final.
"Croatia in World Cup finals! It is so beautiful! Miracle of all miracles in Russia!" the state-run HRT television commentator Drago Cosic shouted ecstatically.
Croatia beat England 2-1 in extra-time thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal in the second period of extra-time to book a date with France in Moscow on Sunday. Thousands of fans gathered at the country's largest fan zone in Zagreb's main square, braving intermittent rain to cheer on the "Fiery Ones" (Vatreni) on a giant screen. "We can be proud and happy ... we don't want to stop here," Croatia's star player Luka Modric told HRT - 'Like lions. "Only great teams can be so courageous and make a comeback after trailing 1-0 against England," Mandzukic said.
"We were losing and we returned, we were like lions." Local media praised the players as heroes.
"Perisic and Mandzukic heroes — Miraculous Croatia shocks England and makes it to the World Cup final for first time in history!" said the Tportal website.
"Dalic's team played another dramatic match and with a new miraculous victory made its fans proud again!" "Bravo! Everyone should celebrate ... Dalic's Fiery Ones achieved the biggest success in Croatian football history!," commented Sportske Novosti paper online.
"We brought down the English! Croatia is in World Cup final! Bravo our heroes, bravo! Deep bow!," said the Vecernji List paper online.