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Croatia become 10th European country to play WC final

12 Jul 2018, 12:13 ( 12 Jul, 2018)

DF-Xinhua Report
Fans of Croatia watch the FIFA World Cup semifinal match between Croatia and England in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, July 11, 2018. Croatia won 2-1 in overtime. Photo Xinhua.

There will probably be sore heads and bleary eyes in Croatia on Thursday morning after a night of celebrations in the wake of the World Cup semifinal win over England.

   The side led by Luka Modric booked their place in the World Cup final for the first time in the country's history and are now assured of going at least one step further than Davor Suker's 'Generation of 1998'.

   Croatia's win means they have become the 13th country and the tenth European nation to qualify for the World Cup final in the history of the tournament. Meanwhile England have now lost two semifinals, 1990 and 2018 and it has been 52 years since they last played the final in 1966.

Earlier, Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, the Netherlands,  Czechoslovakia, Hungary and  Sweden played in the finals of the world cup. 

   England had taken the lead in Moscow thanks to Kieran Trippier's free kick after just five minutes, which was the fourth fastest semifinal goal in World Cup history, although some way behind Arne Nyberg's 38-second effort for Sweden against Hungary in 1958...and Sweden didn't make it to the final either.

   However, given Croatia's impressive scoring record, it's no surprise England failed to cling on to their advantage.

   By far, Croatia have scored in their last 10 World Cup games and have won their last six. Their rival on Sunday, France, reached the final with five wins and a 0-0 draw in their final Group C match against Denmark.

   The Croats needed extra time in every one of the knockout rounds and that means they have played 90 minutes more football, or effectively an entire game, than Les Bleus, who finished all of their knockout games within regular time. Coincidentally, the last time a side played three consecutive extra times was when England fought their way to the 1990 semifinals.

   Wednesday saw the ninth time a World Cup semifinal needed 30 more minutes to be decided, with 5 of them needing penalties to find a winner.