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Haunted by scandal, Croatia manages to head into FIFA World Cup final

July 12, 8:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Team Croatia defeated England 2-1 in the final match to face France in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals game

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© Denis Tyrin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Croatia’s national football team has been haunted by problems after the win over Team Russia in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals due to both the players and its fans.

On Monday, the world’s governing football body, FIFA, imposed a fine of 15,000 Swiss francs on Croatian team’s coaching staff assistant Ognjen Vukojevic for his conduct after the victory over Russia. In a video clip, which was recorded after the match in the Croatian team’s locker room and later circulated on social networks, Croatia’s defender Domagoj Vida yells "Glory to Ukraine," while Vukojevic adds that he dedicates that victory over Russia to the people of Ukraine.

Shortly after that, the Croatian Football Federation was faced with a warning because of the conduct of its fans who unfolded a nationalist banner during their group stage match vs Nigeria. FIFA said that it confined itself to such mild punishment because the incident had been reported by the Croatian Football Federation itself.

During Wednesday’s semi-final match vs England at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, Croatian fans unfolded an absolutely different, banner reading, "Thank You, Russia."

Team Croatia finally defeated England 2-1 in the final match to face France in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals game.

Both teams went on strong offensives testing each other from the onset of the match, but it was England to open the score by England’s defender Kieran Trippier going just six minutes into the game.

Although the statistics registered the 58% of the ball possession in favor of Croatia against England’s 42%, the first half ended with 1-0 flashing on the scoreboard.

The Croatian squad tied the score late into the second half after its striker Ivan Perisic put the ball into the net of the opponents. His goal sent the game into the overtime period with 1-1 draw.

The opening 15-minute stretch of the overtime ended with the draw of 1-1 as well, but it was Croatia to up the score to 2-1 in the next 15-minute period of the overtime after forward Mario Mandzukic netted the ball.

The Croatian team is now set to face off the French squad in the final match of the football championship in Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 15 at 6:00 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT).

The French national football team defeated Belgium 1-0 in the semifinal match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, played on Tuesday night in Russia’s Saint Petersburg, to become the first team to vie for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy this year.

The match for the bronze of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be played in St. Petersburg on July 14 between the national football teams of Belgium and England. The game kicks off at 5:00 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT).

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