FIFA World Cup 2018: Most important goal of my career, says Mario Mandzukic

Jul 13, 2018, 10:36 IST | Kashinath Bhattacharjee

That strike in the 109th minute was Mario Mandzukic's 32nd goal for Croatia in 88 matches so far, his second in the ongoing World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2018: Most important goal of my career, says Mario Mandzukic
Mandzukic is ecstatic after scoring the winner. Pics/AFP

Mario Mandzukic, almost unnoticed, except for one or two headers or efforts during the 120 minutes, turned out to be the unsung hero for Croatia when his left foot released a powerful grounder in extra time that left English hearts broken in the semi-finals of the World Cup on Tuesday.

That strike in the 109th minute was Mandzukic's 32nd goal for Croatia in 88 matches so far, his second in the ongoing World Cup. A winning goal in a World Cup semi-final demanded that sort of 'dog pile celebration' with an unfortunate photographer on the side line having to bear the brunt of it all.

109th minute: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic beats England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to score the winner during the World Cup semi-final at Moscow. Pic/AP, PTI
109th minute: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic beats England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to score the winner during the World Cup semi-final at Moscow. Pic/AP, PTI

Talking about his goal, Mandzukic said in the mixed zone: "Incredible. Is it the best goal of my career? I don't know. Every game I play and every goal I score is special. But this is certainly one of the most important since it has taken us to the final of a World Cup. We fought boldly and played our hearts out. I don't think we are still aware about what we have already done. It will take time."

Croatia now face France in the final, the same nation which had shattered their dream of reaching the finals 20 years ago. Mandzukic, however, was not ready to think about Sunday's final. "There was a lot of pressure when we were playing against Denmark and Russia. Now, we shall enjoy ourselves when we take the field on Sunday," he added.

Also read: FIFA World Cup 2018: Mental strength carried Croatia to final, says Dejan Lovren

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