Some soccer fans in Winnipeg were left in tears on Wednesday — tears of joy for fans of Croatia’s team, while England fans wept for a missed opportunity to see their team in the World Cup final.
Croatia earned the spot in Sunday’s final against France after Wednesday’s nail-biting semifinal game against England in Moscow.
Dozens of people took to Winnipeg streets to chant and sing following a viewing party at St. Nicholas Tavelich Croatian Parish on Main Street.
Adam Lulic said the game was surreal.
“It’s the third time I’ve cried in the last two weeks — Denmark, Russia, now this,” he said. “I’m glad it didn’t go to penalty shootouts.”
England took the lead in the first half of Wednesday’s game, but Croatia tied it up in the second and secured the win — and the team’s first-ever spot in the World Cup final — in overtime.
Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute.
At Winnipeg’s St. Nicholas, Father Marko Stefanec said the church will hold another viewing party for the World Cup final against France on Sunday.
“It’s great to win. It’s great to be in final,” he said. “I think we’re paying back France for ’98 and look at those people, they’re celebrating.”
Croatia lost to France in the semifinals at the 1998 World Cup.
England fans devastated
Across the city, the Grove Pub and Restaurant on Stafford Street was at capacity with hopeful England fans. The team was a favourite to win and has not secured a spot in a World Cup final since 1966.
Instead, the loss left some in tears.
“It’s the best run I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, so obviously pretty upsetting the way that it went,” said Stu Hutchinson. “I just feel like we could have done a lot of better.”
Peter Corcoran watched on the edge of his seat, alongside his family and friends. The Liverpool native has watched every game of this year’s World Cup from the same table, with the same beer, at the pub.
“There’s an awful lot of people with their heads down but they should have their heads up. We’ve done enough to get to the semifinal” he said.
“But yeah, we’re devastated.”
Corcoran said England started well but Croatia was stronger in the end. He wishes the team “all the luck” in Sunday’s final against France.
“Sad, but we’ll wait for another four years and see if this young [English] team can carry on,” he said.
Sunday’s World Cup final begins at 10 a.m. CT.
Published at Wed, 11 Jul 2018 19:59:44 -0400