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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Photographer unwittingly becomes part of Croatia World Cup goal celebration

Croatia reached the final for the first time in their history

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic, centre, offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after he fell on him with teammates while celebrating their winner against England. Yuri Cortez / AFP Photo
Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic, centre, offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after he fell on him with teammates while celebrating their winner against England. Yuri Cortez / AFP Photo

When Croatia scored the goal that took them 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 semi-final, he ran to a corner of the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to share his joy with his teammates.

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic, centre, offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after he fell on him with teammates while celebrating their winner against England. Yuri Cortez / AFP Photo
Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic, centre, offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after he fell on him with teammates while celebrating their winner against England. Yuri Cortez / AFP Photo
Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic celebrate with AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after their second goal. Reuters
Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic celebrate with AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after their second goal. Reuters

"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.

Quick as a flash, he picked up his camera and took some remarkable close-up shots of the Croats' joy.

Croatia players celebrate next to AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after Mario Mandzukic scores their second goal. Reuters
Croatia players celebrate next to AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after Mario Mandzukic scores their second goal. Reuters

"Then they asked me if I was OK. Another one picked up my lens and another player [Domagoj Vida] gave me a kiss."

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

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England v Croatia, World Cup semi-final — in pictures

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