Mario Mandzukic’s goal four minutes into the second overtime Wednesday capped a wild comeback and sent Croatia into Sunday’s World Cup final with a 2-1 win over England.
The victory makes Croatia the first country to win three consecutive extra-time games in the same World Cup; it won the first two in penalty-kick shootouts. Wednesday’s victory, which ended at nearly midnight local time, also concluded a streak that saw Croatia play six hours of World Cup soccer in 11 days.
It has another 90 minutes — at least — coming up Sunday in the World Cup final with France. England will meet Belgium in the third-place match Saturday.
When the spotlight has shone on France in this World Cup, it has illuminated Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Paul Pogba, the team’s attackers. And that made the team’s defenders as anonymous as the French Foreign Legion.
Invisible to the crowds flocking to World Cup venues all over Russia are legions of migrant workers from Central Asia, who built the stadiums and keep them running, staff concession stands, and clean up after fans who revel through city streets.
The first time Antoine Griezmann met Thierry Henry he was 7. Henry had just helped France to its only World Cup title and Griezmann, who could barely reach the player’s waist on tippy-toes, wanted an autograph.