Vancouver’s Croatian community is buzzing in the wake of the country’s World Cup semifinal victory against England on Wednesday.
Croatia advanced to its first FIFA World Cup final by defeating England 2-1 in extra time in semi-final action in Moscow.
In Vancouver, hundreds of fans packed two rooms of the Croatian Cultural Centre in hopes of seeing the country make history on nine large screens.
The room erupted when Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic scored the game-winner in extra time, dashing England’s hopes of a shot at its first World Cup since 1966.
“This is history in the making, we’ve been waiting for this for so long. This is huge for our country and the fans here,” one Croatia supporter told Global News.
The party spilled out into the street after the game wrapped up, where some fans lit off red, white and blue smoke flares as they sang popular chants.
“I don’t think you can put it into words… the feeling this comes once in a lifetime, if not two lifetimes. We made it to the finals, no one believed in us, every pundit out there was thinking England but we showed the world,” another jubilant fan said.
Local fans are now gearing up for the final match against France on Sunday.
Before that, England will face Belgium on Saturday to determine who will finish in third place in the tournament.