AFP photographer becomes part of Croatia World Cup goal celebration

By AFP: Thursday, July 12th 2018 at 11:53 GMT +3 | World Cup 2018

Croatia defender Josip Pivaric celebrates up close after he and his teammates collapsed onto AFP photographer Yuri Cortez (R) celebrates with teammates after Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (C) scored their second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. [Photo/AFP]

When Croatia scored the goal that took them into the World Cup final on Wednesday, an AFP photographer unwittingly became part of the celebrations as he was buried under a pile of joyous players.

After Mario Mandzukic scored in extra-time to give Croatia a 2-1 win against England in the semi-final, he ran to a corner of the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to share his joy with his teammates.

"I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me," said photographer Yuri Cortez, who was positioned next to the pitchside advertising boards.

"They just kept coming towards me and they fell on me! It was a crazy moment, they were delighted. Then they suddenly realised that I was underneath them," said Mexico City-based Cortez.

Quick as a flash, he picked up his camera and took some remarkable close-up shots of the Croats' joy.

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"Then they asked me if I was OK. Another one picked up my lens and another player (Domagoj Vida) gave me a kiss."

Croatia, who have reached the final for the first time in their history, will play France on Sunday.

Cortez never dropped his camera. [Photo/Reuters]
Matchwinner Mandzukic offers to help up Cortez after the celebrations. [Photo/AFP]
AFP photographer Yuri Cortez was OK. [Photo/Reuters]

 

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