An AFP photographer has laughed off Croatia’s wild celebrations after Mario Mandzukic’s goal against England sent them into the World Cup final.
In truly incredible scenes inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, Croatian players somehow toppled over each other and fell on top of Yuri Cortez.
What made the situation even more remarkable was that Cortez kept shooting – with a smile on his face!
Holding one camera in his left hand while wriggling away from the pack, the photographer’s right hand was snapping away with a wide-angle lens.
“They were very happy and did not even realise that I was trapped down there,” Cortez, who works for AFP Mexico, told the news service.
It was Ivan Rakitic and Domagoj Vida who stopped the celebrations to help the shooter up off the ground.
Vida was so relieved – whether at the goal or that Cortez was okay remains to be seen – that he went a step further.
“They asked me how I was, one of them picked up the glasses and another gave me a kiss,” the photographer said.
In a touching turn of events, Cortez watched Vida after the game and took wonderful photos of the World Cup finalist celebrating with his son.
Perisic in dreamland after crucial goal
Ivan Perisic has reflected on watching Croatia’s 1998 World Cup semi-final as a boy after playing a terrific shift to lift his nation into the 2018 final.
Croatia lost to hosts France 20 years ago and will get a chance for revenge when they meet in the final on Monday morning AEST.
“I was back in my hometown, rooting for Croatia in my jersey,” Perisic told reporters.
“I could only dream of scoring one of the most important goals to send Croatia into a final.”
But he is wary of a France team which has improved steadily throughout the World Cup and looked solid defensively against Belgium’s considerable attacking prowess on Wednesday.
“We saw almost all of France’s games in the group,” Perisic added.
“They have played well enough to progress, and upped their game over the past several games.
“They knew that Belgium was strong on the ball. Everybody expected Belgium to progress after beating Brazil, but France can play a defensive game as well.
“Their players play at the top clubs. They have an excellent coach and excellent players.”