World Cup 2018: Lensman caught in Croatia victory pile

image copyrightCarl Recine/Reuters
image captionYuri 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.

image copyrightYuri Cortez/AFP
image captionThe Croatian players, including defender Josip Pivaric, were overjoyed with Mandzukic's goal
image copyrightYuri Cortez/AFP
image captionYuri Cortez took this candid photo of goal scorer Mario Mandzukic enjoying the celebrations
image copyrightYuri Cortez/AFP
image captionMandzukic 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."

image copyrightYuri Cortez/AFP
image captionMan-of-the-moment Mario Mandzukic offered assistance to Cortez after the goal
image copyrightCarl Recine/Reuters
image captionThe winning players helped the photographer to his feet

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image copyrightCarl Recine/Reuters
image captionThe players made sure Cortez was okay
image copyrightMladen Antonov/AFP
image captionCortez was happy to be caught in the revelry after the goal

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