In Leeds, the crowd leapt up as if a goal had been scored when the half-time whistle blew. They have not advanced to the Final since 1966, when they won it all.
That's proved to be the case, although they have relied on large part on grit and determination to see them through the knockout stages, beating Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties before seeing off England in extra time.
The goal weakened the Croatian side, allowing England to retain possession and control the tempo of the first half. They're showing the game upstairs, but it's the usual weekday comedy night in the basement.
France will have had 24 hours longer to prepare for the game after edging out Belgium 1-0 in 90 minutes in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Father of Australian doctor died just after trapped Thai boys were rescued
It culminated last night with the successful rescue of the last four of the 12 trapped boys and their football coach . Relatively mild weather and a massive effort to pump out water created a window of opportunity.
The major disappointment was the 2006 Final. But, the defeat was heart-breaking and shocking because of the way it unfolded.
Hundreds of thousands of fans had poured on to the Champs Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe as bars, cafes and restaurants enjoyed a bumper evening of revelry after the World Cup equivalent of a local derby between the neighbouring rivals.
Zidane was sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 110th minute. The red card marked the end of his career and France's World Cup dream in 2006 in the worst possible way. Both teams will be looking to erase history in the final.
The French national anthem La Marseillaise, chants of "We're in the final" and a cacophony of vehicle horns and fire crackers rang out over Paris Tuesday as residents of the capital celebrated France's march to the World Cup final. The destiny to win the World Cup. It also has pedigree - winners in 1998 and finalists in 2006.
England have progressed to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, but Croatia defender Dejan Lovren - who plays his club football in England - says he is not paying attention to the World Cup fever that has swept the country. Didier Deschamps was the captain of the 1998 squad and now he is the head coach of France.
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