Calgary’s Croatian community celebrates historical soccer victory over England

WATCH: Supporters of Croatian soccer in Calgary are elated after their team beat England 2-1 in extra time in the World Cup of Soccer semi-finals. Croatia makes its first-ever trip to the World Cup final when they face France on Sunday. Kevin Smith has more.

Soccer fans in Calgary supporting England or Croatia had an intense couple of hours Wednesday as the two countries met in the World Cup semi final.

It was one of the biggest matches ever for both sides; Croatia had never been to the World Cup final and for England, it had been over 50 years.

After being down a goal in the first five minutes, Croatia came back to win 2-1 in extra time and is off to the World Cup final for the first time ever.

READ MORE: Croatia beat England 2-1 after extra-time, will play France in World Cup final

Ivana Falak watched the game at the Canadian Croatian Cultural Centre in Calgary and said celebrating with her community was unforgettable.

“This victory shows everyone out there that we are here in this moment. You’ve got to remember who you were with and where you were because you have no idea when it’s going to happen again,” Falak said.

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“It shows our heart, it shows our community and I cannot be more proud.”

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Ivan Vokalic is the president of the Canadian Croatian Cultural Centre and was beyond words.

“I don’t know how I feel. I’m so emotional right now.”

England soccer supporters watch the match against Croatia from Schanks Athletic Club in Calgary. July 10th, 2018.
England soccer supporters watch the match against Croatia from Schanks Athletic Club in Calgary. July 10th, 2018. Global News

It was a different scene at Schanks Athletic Club where England supporters had a lot to cheer about early on but their surprising run eventually ended.

David Woodward has lived in Canada for five years but grew up in Newcastle, England. He described what the scene back in England would be.

“Everyone will obviously be upset and devastated.”

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READ MORE: France advances to World Cup final after 1-0 win over Belgium

Despite the tough loss, Woodward is proud of this young team.

“I don’t think we’ve done bad at all. I’m proud of what we achieved for such a young squad.

“We’ve done well to get this far. It’s more than I ever expected, to be honest, so it’s pretty good.”

Croatia faces France in the World Cup final on Sunday.

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