Piled-on AFP World Cup man gets Croatia invite

Yuri Cortez, the AFP photographer who became a World Cup sensation after he kept shooting pictures despite being piled-on by Croatia players, has been invited to the European country for a week's holiday.

Cortez unwittingly became part of Croatia's celebrations when Mario Mandzukic scored in extra-time to give them a 2-1 win against England in the World Cup semifinal.   -  AFP

Yuri Cortez, the AFP photographer who became a World Cup sensation after he kept shooting pictures despite being piled-on by Croatia players, has been invited to the European country for a week's holiday.

“Only make sure to bring your goodwill and camera, and please indicate when you would like to visit Croatia,” said the Croatia tourism office.

“Very happy. We talked for a few minutes. He said that he wanted to invite me to discover the country, its beauty, its food...and just tell them where I wanted to go,” replied Mexico-based Cortez when contacted by Croatia's tourist boss Kristjan Stanicic.

Stanicic said: “After Zagreb, we are going to show Yuri everything that is best in Croatia, our coasts, our islands and continental Croatia.”

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Cortez unwittingly became part of Croatia's celebrations when Mario Mandzukic scored in extra-time to give them a 2-1 win against England in the World Cup semifinal.

The striker ran to a corner of the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to share his joy with his teammates.“I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me,” said Cortez, who was positioned next to the pitchside advertising boards.

“They just kept coming towards me and they fell on me! It was a crazy moment, they were delighted. Then they suddenly realised that I was underneath them.”

Quick as a flash, he picked up his camera and took some remarkable close-up shots of the Croats' joy. “Then, they asked me if I was OK. Another one picked up my lens and another player (Domagoj Vida) gave me a kiss.”

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