MOSCOW — Mario Mandzukic ran and ran and ran until he had almost nothing left.
And then there was one more chance, early in the second period of extra time. A ball nodded back in, a tiny gap behind the England defense, and Mandzukic, Croatia’s hard-running striker, summoned whatever reserves remained and went for it. The ball fell, Mandzukic beat his man to it and slammed it under England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
And just like that, Croatia was headed to its first World Cup final, staggering off as 2-1 victors against a young and game England team that rode destiny as far as it would take it but fell one step short of its goal.