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Croatia’s Perisic to play in his mother’s dream final vs. France

Russia Soccer WCup Croatia England

Croatia’s Ivan Perisic celebrates with teammates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the semifinal match between Croatia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

AP

Ivan Perisic recalls being a little boy wearing his red-and-white checkered shirt as he watched Croatia previous World Cup semifinal against France in 1998. He says he watched on TV in Split when Croatia lost to the French, who went on to win the title.

“I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatia jersey,” he said. “I could only dream of playing for my country and of scoring one of the important goals in a final.”

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Perisic scored the equalizer and contributed to clinching goal as Croatia rallied to beat England 2-1 in extra time to reach the World Cup final for the first time. To win the championship, they’ll have to beat France on Sunday.He spent a couple of years in his childhood living in France but says that’s “irrelevant” now.

“No one can be happier than me to play them in the final,” Perisic said. “I spoke to my mother the other day. She said she dreamed that Croatia will play France in the World Cup final. Now her dream is becoming reality - we will see what happens.”

More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup