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Croatia reaches its first World Cup final with extra-time victory over England

Croatia reaches its first World Cup final with extra-time victory over England
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Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and scores his team’s second goal during the World Cup semifinal against England at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images

Croatia, the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal match, will play France for the title on Sunday in its biggest sporting moment since becoming an independent nation in 1991.

France, which won its only title at home in 1998, will have an extra day of rest after beating Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday. Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match.

Defender Sime Vrsaljko kept the score even by heading a shot off the goal line about 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored.

Kevin Trippier curled in a free kick for England in the fifth minute. Ivan Perisic tied the score in the 68th minute.

But football will not be coming home, and there will be no title to match the 1966 triumph at Wembley Stadium. Harry Kane & Co. will deal with the same disappointment that felled Shearer and Platt, Gazza and Wazza, Beckham and Gerrard.

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic celebrates at the end of the World Cup semifinal match against England at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 2-1 decision in the second half of extra time. Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images

England head coach Gareth Southgate, centre, embraces England’s Dele Alli at the end of the semifinal loss to Croatia. Rebecca Blackwell / AP

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