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One of our favourite stories from the World Cup has just got even better.
You may have seen that during Croatia's goal celebration for Mario Mandzukic's extra time winner against England in the semi-final in Moscow, AFP photographer Yuri Cortez got caught up in the scenes and ended up being trampled on.
Still, the absolute bloke managed to snap some utterly wonderful close-up shots to capture the moment - and a number of the Croatia players made sure he was alright and helped him back to his feet. Centre-back Domagoj Vida even planted a kiss on his forehead.
Wars, natural disasters, humanitarian crises: @AFP photographer @YuriYurisky has covered it all.- dwnews (@dwnews) July 13, 2018
But nothing prepared him for the moment that brought him global fame: ending up beneath an avalanche of #Croatia players celebrating the goal that sent them to the #WorldCup final! pic.twitter.com/50OZEuG7De
The 53-year old has been pushed into the spotlight as a result and is now subject to a superb gesture from Croatian National Tourist Board, who are bringing him and his family to their country for a special holiday in August or at the start of September.
The photographer mobbed during Croatia's game-winning goal last week has just been offered a seven-day holiday in Croatia from its Tourist Board :clap: pic.twitter.com/kuZIBMMCxG- 888sport (@888sport) July 19, 2018
Croatian National Tourist Board brings FP photographer Yuri Cortez to Croatia who unwittingly became part of the celebrations of Croatia in their World Cup semi-final match against England!- Croatia Full of life (@Croatia_hr) July 19, 2018
Celebration of Croatia's second goal:
https://t.co/6FadGMA89L#CroatiaFullOfPride #CRO pic.twitter.com/AKnQQxxHMA
Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Staničić personally called the El Salvadoran and proposed the idea of a lifetime trip for seven days and he duly accepted.
"Almost every major international competition is marked by an interesting anecdote, and what marked this World Cup was the celebration of Croatian footballers in the midst of which Yuri found himself accidentally, who recorded it all with his camera making the most original, most accurate and surely one of the most impressive photos of the World Cup," Staničić said.
"Croatia is a beautiful country of warm and friendly hosts, and we are happy that Yuri accepted our invitation and he will have the opportunity to personally witness that.
"Yuri will start the 7-day holiday in Croatia in Zagreb, after that we will show him the best of what the coast, islands and continental Croatia offer. We will try and make it a holiday he won't forget."
What a story.
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