Croatia's forward Ivan Perisic (right) runs with the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. (MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)
MOSCOW - Croatia forward Ivan Perisic lauded his team's fighting spirit after they secured a place in the World Cup final with a 2-1 extra-time victory over England on Wednesday.
Mario Mandzukic struck a dramatic extra-time goal at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after Perisic had cancelled out Kieran Trippier's opener in their semifinal.
It was the third consecutive match that Croatia have won after being forced into extra time. They won penalty shootouts following 120 minutes against Denmark in the round of 16 and Russia in the quarterfinals.
"It was very tough but we showed our character just like in the first two knockout matches," said Perisic. "We were able to win again after going to extra time. This never used to happen with Croatia."
Perisic was named man of the match for his goal and for setting up Mandzukic with a clever header into the box.
"My goal was important because it came at a time when we were dominating," the Inter Milan player said. "For the second goal, Mario (Mandzukic) was in the right place at the right time. It's not important who scores. It's important who wins. I'd like to thank our supporters for coming here and for giving us that extra bit of strength that we needed."