Croatians celebrate World Cup triumph

Zagreb, Jul 12 (IANS): Some 100,000 people packed Zagreb's Ban Jelacic square to watch Croatia battle England in the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Rain fell and the spirit of the crowd gathered in front of the giant television screen was likewise gloomy after England jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute of the match in Moscow on Wednesday, reports Efe.

As the minutes passed, however, supporters began chanting, "We want a goal," and burst into cheers every time the camera focused on Croatia captain Luka Modric.

The fans erupted when Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia in the 68th minute, but euphoria didn't take hold until Mario Mandzukic put the side ahead 2-1 in the second extra time period.

Similar scenes unfolded in town squares across the Balkan nation of roughly 4 million people, the second-smallest country to reach the World Cup final.

Croatia will face France, the 1998 World Cup winner, in Sunday's final.