Croatia become smallest nation to reach World Cup final since 1950

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"It's not a game any team wants to play", said England manager Gareth Southgate after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia after extra time in Wednesday's second semi-final.

From FIFA to Paul Pogba and from Manchester United to Barcelona, masses around the world breathed a sigh of relief after the Wild Boars team finally emerged after more than two weeks trapped underground.

Croatia took full advantage, by equalising through Ivan Perisic before Mario Mandzukic scored the victor in extra-time.

The victory ensured Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time, where they will take on France on Sunday in a repeat of the 1998 semi-final.

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French right-back Lillian Thuram scored his only two goals in a storied 142-cap worldwide career in that semi-final 20 years ago.

FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan looks back at Zlatko Dalic's incredible journey from Asia to Sunday's 2018 FIFA World Cup final. No-one believed before the World Cup that we could go this far, but we believed. "It's a great honour for all the players and the supporters, and I don't think we're really aware of the scale of it just yet". The most exciting possible development in the game would be for Romelu Lukaku to score a few goals to challenge Harry Kane for the Golden Boot, and even that would be relatively unimportant with both sides knowing that the final was kicking off just hours later. We will enjoy ourselves a little, not for long - we must be focused for the final.

John Stones has been England's third-biggest attacking threat at this World Cup, being on the end of 1.45 xG, and scoring twice from the chances he has had.

However, the biggest concern looking ahead to Sunday´s game is bound to be fatigue, with Croatia having also required extra time and penalties to come through ties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation in the past two weeks. I'm sure that we'll recover and we'll be fine - this is the World Cup final and there are no excuses.

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He said: "All players need to be mentioned but it's true Pogba was nearly everywhere, not only in attack but he was also efficient in defence".

"It's massive that we had a good tournament and restored pride in the nation".

"We also invite them to the game to be played around those dates at the Camp Nou", the club said in a tweet. "The most hard thing when you're a footballer is to win people's hearts".

Pitana is one of South America's most experienced referees and also has playing experience at youth level.

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