Croatia's football team have secured a place in the World Cup Final for the very first time. Following the defeat of a young and perhaps inexperienced English side in the semi final, Croatia will now meet France in the closing game of the competition. The game will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday 15 July and starts at 5pm.
By reaching the World Cup Final, this Croatian squad have bettered the country's best previous position in the competition, when in 1998 they reached the semi finals in France. They have also ensured that they will go down in history as Croatia's greatest ever national football team.
Assuring their legendary status was a now or never moment for many of Croatia's current squad. Several key players are aged over 30 years, including goalkeeper Danijel Subašić, defender Ivan Strinić, the world beating midfield trio of Luka Modrić (32), Ivan Rakitić (30), and Ivan Perišić (29), as well as Croatian striker Mario Mandžukić (32). It is unlikely that we will again see these heroes play in a World Cup.
England lead for much of the game. Following a foul by Luka Modrić, Kieran Trippier's scored from a stunning, 20-metre free-kick which defied the best efforts of the Croatian defensive wall. Luka Modrić redeemed himself by having an amazing game, as he has had in much of this competition. Then, in the 68th minute, Ivan Perišić equalised, sending the game into extra time. Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute, both Croatian goals having been exceptional.
Such a special group, having bonded over many years, in this competition the Croatian team have played much more of a cooperative team game than, say, Argentina, Spain or Portugal. It is possible that Croatia may never see their likes again. But there's still at least one game to go from this line up of heroes! And you would have to say that Croatia are in with a big chance. Can they do it? Ajmo Hrvatska!