President Herv Kegal (at back) of the Croatian Cultural Society with young Benjamin Matic, second from left, and his brother Niko, at right, in the hall of St. Leopold Church on Gordon Head Road, where Croatian fans went crazy watching their soccer team defeat England 2-1 on Wednesday and advance to the World Cup final. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Saanich Croatian fans go wild as team reaches World Cup final

Croatian Canadians gather in the Croatian hall Gordon Head

Local Croatian fans will gather once more on Sunday as their national soccer team defeated England 2-1 in the World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

France, which defeated Belgium 1-0 in the Tuesday semifinal, will face Croatia at 8 a.m. local time on Sunday in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

It’s Croatia’s first time reaching the final.

And you can bet there will be an even bigger crowd than the dozens who jammed the Croatian Cultural Centre hall on Wednesday of the Catholic Church St. Leopold Mandic, at 4081 Gordon Head Rd.

“I prayed when it was 1-1 that Croatia would win 2-1 in extra time,” said young Benjamin Matic, 10, was visiting from Vancouver.

Croatia scored the winning goal in the 109th minute by Mario Mandzukic.

Until then, the Gordon Head crowd were in a panic.

“It was stressful, I almost had a hard attack,” said Niko Zeba. “Benjamin told me before the game, we would win 2-1.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

1,000 free Christmas meals served at Our Place

Community donations fuel support for those in need

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Most Read