Croatia showed magnificent resilience to come from behind and beat England 2-1 on Wednesday as Mario Mandzukic's extra-time goal sent them into their first World Cup final and sparked celebrations across the Balkan nation.
But Croatia, in their first semi since 1998, leveled through Ivan Perisic after 68 minutes and then looked the more unsafe side. You can't switch off for even a moment in this game, especially if you're a defender, or pro sharpshooters like Perisic and Mandzukic will make you pay in a heartbeat. The Manchester City winger's pace was being targeted on the counter and Sime Vrsaljko was lucky to intercept a long ball with nobody else near them.
Ivan Strinic's error, after a poor clearance from Subasic, nearly let in Sterling but he opted to pass to an offside Harry Kane rather than shoot and the assistant's flag went up.
On 30 minutes, Kane missed a glorious chance.
Harry Kane is the leading goal-scorer in the tournament with six goals to his name and like his tally, most of England's goals have come from corners and crosses from the wings.
Kane should have scored a second, somehow hitting the post from a matter of yards out. Then Strinic worked his way into the England area but put in a tame cross that was dealt with easily.
Perisic nearly put Croatia ahead a few minutes later but his left foot shot from inside the box crashed against the post and agonisingly bounced out.
The pressure eventually told. And against England, that spark was Perisic.
England were almost behind inside a few minutes. Perisic shifted the ball on to his left foot and smashed a shot across Pickford.
Pushing wide players Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic into more advanced roles was not the most complex move but it was one that turned the match on its head.
Gareth Southgate did not change tack for this semi-final.
Instead, they were forced to adopt a backs-to-the-wall approach for the last quarter of the game and didn't manage a single shot on target in the second half.
Dele Alli made a decisive contribution in this game, but after being fouled in the second minute for Trippier's free-kick opener for England, the Tottenham midfielder struggled to make any further impact.
Although Queen Elizabeth's grandsons are avid soccer fans, their busy schedules likely got in the way of them attending the game, which could see England advancing to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in more than 50 years.
For a country with a population of little more than four million, making it all the way to the final would be a remarkable achievement.
Mandzukic scored after Walker stuck out a leg to block Josip Pivaric's cross.
But his inexperienced team were unable to recapture the passing and movement and it was simply their fight that took them into extra time. A header was not cleared and the striker ran in behind the defence to slot past Pickford. It's Trippier! His first ever England goal.
With 68 minutes gone, things were level.
When the final whistle blew and they knew they were going to their first World Cup final, the Croatians ran to their exuberant fans, jumping in their iconic red-and-white checkered jerseys.