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World Cup 2018: Lensman caught in Croatia victory pile

World Cup 2018: Lensman caught in Croatia victory pile

Croatia players celebrate next to an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after Mario Mandzukic scores their second goal

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Carl Recine/Reuters

Image caption

Yuri Cortez ended up trapped under the celebrating Croatian players after they beat England

No photographer got closer to Croatia’s World Cup semi-final victory than AFP’s Yuri Cortez who found himself right under the pile of jubilant players.

He happened to be working in the corner of the pitch in Moscow where Mario Mandzukic rushed to celebrate after scoring against England in extra time.

Teammates piled in after the man behind the winning goal and Cortez disappeared beneath the team.

“They just kept coming towards me and they fell on me!” he says.

Ever the professional, he picked up his camera and snapped the finalists close up, while colleagues in turn photographed the Salvadorean inside the pile.

Croatia beat England 2-1 on Wednesday to reach the World Cup final for the first time in their history.

“I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me,” the photographer told AFP news agency later.

Croatia's defender Josip Pivaric (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 on 11 July 2018

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Yuri Cortez/AFP

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The Croatian players, including defender Josip Pivaric, were overjoyed with Mandzukic’s goal

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match

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Yuri Cortez/AFP

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Yuri Cortez took this candid photo of goal scorer Mario Mandzukic enjoying the celebrations

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match

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Yuri Cortez/AFP

Image caption

Mandzukic scored the goal

“They were delighted. Then they suddenly realised that I was underneath them.

“The [players] asked me if I was OK. One picked up my lens and another player (Domagoj Vida) gave me a kiss.”

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (C) offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after he fell on him with teammates while celebrating their second goal

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Yuri Cortez/AFP

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Man-of-the-moment Mario Mandzukic offered assistance to Cortez after the goal

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic helps an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez to his feet after celebrating scoring their second goal

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Carl Recine/Reuters

Image caption

The winning players helped the photographer to his feet

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Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic celebrate with an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after their second goal

Image copyright
Carl Recine/Reuters

Image caption

The players made sure Cortez was okay

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (L) shakes hands with AFP photographer Yuri Cortez (C) after falling on him with teammates while celebrating their second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 11 July 2018.

Image copyright
Mladen Antonov/AFP

Image caption

Cortez was happy to be caught in the revelry after the goal

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