Croatia Becomes Smallest Nation to Reach World Cup Final since 1950

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Jubilant Croatian fans honked their vehicle horns and let off fireworks while England fans sobbed and looked to the future with confidence after Mario Mandzukic's extra-time victor took Croatia to its first World Cup final. What an incredible World Cup, full of twists and surprises, and what a night for Croatia.

"When you get to this stage of the competition, the margins are fine. they've taken two of their (chances) and we weren't able to respond".

Despite being an worldwide force in soccer, the English team has been perennial under-performers at the World Cup, but Prince William believes all that is set to change with the current crop of players and their boss Gareth Southgate leading the charge in Russian Federation. It will be a really hard task to assess everybody over the next 24 hours and get them mentally back to where we want them to be for a game like that, but that will be the challenge.

"We blew our chances", 17-year-old Josh Ogunde said after watching the 2-1 semi-final defeat with friends near Trafalgar Square in central London as the disappointed crowds streamed home. A $100 bet on France to win in regulation would pay out $90.91, almost twice as much as the potential profit in taking them just to win.

"We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don´t have a proper stadium to play that game".

That the nation will be backing them to gain revenge for the World Cup semi-final loss to France in 1998 is without question, as is the fact that there will once again be an army of fans decked out in red and white checks at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Chris Treloar, 34, said: "I'm absolutely gutted, especially with the way the goal went in".

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'But in extra-time we came back into the game, showed composure and the biggest thing is the supporters at the end, the reaction.

Along the way to the final, Croatia have beaten Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland, but have needed extra-time and penalties to see off both Denmark and Russian Federation.

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But he added: "There's a lot of positives and I'd like to think this is the start of something good".

Croatia, who have reached the final for the first time in their history, will play France on Sunday.

"They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality".

"The difference sadly is a set play in a very close and tight game", lamented Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.