World Cup photographer becomes part of Croatia celebration

After Mario Mandzukic scored in extra-time to give Croatia a 2-1 win against England in the semifinal, he ran to a corner of the pitch at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to share his joy with his teammates and fell on a photographer.

Croatian players celebrate with a photographer after bumping into him after they scored the winner against England in the World Cup semifinal.   -  AP

When Croatia scored the goal that took it into the World Cup final on Wednesday, an AFP photographer unwittingly became part of the celebrations as he was buried under a pile of joyous players.

After Mario Mandzukic scored in extra-time to give Croatia a 2-1 win against England in the semifinal, he ran to a corner of the pitch at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to share his joy with his teammates.

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“I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me,” said photographer Yuri 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,” said Mexico City-based Cortez.

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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.”

Croatia, which has reached the final for the first time in its history, will play France on Sunday.

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