ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Croatia will play France in the 2018 World Cup final after beating England 2-1 in extra-time of the semifinal on Wednesday.
England started brightly and took the lead after five minutes after defender Kieran Trippier’s free-kick found the back of the net.
Croatia responded with an equalizer in the second-half through midfielder Ivan Perisic on 68 minutes.
Ninety minutes couldn’t separate the sides, and extra-time was required as Mario Mandzukic sent Croatians fans into euphoria when he scored what proved to be the winner on 109 minutes.
This is the first time Croatia has made it to the final of the World Cup.
On Tuesday, France sealed their place in the final with a narrow 1-0 win over an inspired Belgium side who were undefeated coming into the semifinal, beating favorites Brazil in the previous round.
A second-half header from Samuel Umtiti was enough to send France into their first World Cup final since losing to Italy on penalties in 2006.
The 1998 winners beat the likes of Argentina, Uruguay, and Belgium on their way to this year’s final.
The final will be played on July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 6:00 p.m. Erbil time.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place between June 14 and July 15 with 32 teams from five different confederations competing.
The tournament has produced some shocking results, including the unexpected exit of defending champions Germany at the group stage as well as early exits for tournament favorites Portugal, Argentina, and Brazil.
Belgium will play England in the third-place playoff match on July 14 at 5:00 p.m. Erbil time at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.