It was a dream come true for Croatian fans when they stole the semi-final win over England this morning in the Football World Cup.

For Croatians in New Zealand it was no less exciting when their team beat England 2-1 in extra time and secured a spot in the finals for the first time ever.

Goran Katich, president of the Croatian Cultural Society of NZ, said there were around 200 people at their West Auckland club who erupted into applause, jumped around in excitement and proudly waved the country's flag at the final call.

"It was unbelievable. Everyone was jumping up and down in their red and white and flying their flags. It was incredible," he said.

Advertisement

"We were celebrating all morning at the club, and some all day, but others had to go back to work and we wore our red and white with pride."

For Kiwi-Croatian family the Grgiceviches the tears flowed and the kids screamed as 15 fans rejoiced at their home.

"There were tears and screaming and everyone was dressed up in their shirts and jumping around the house. There was a lot of crying a screaming, hugging and jumping," Neven Grgicevich said.

"We are a football crazy family. For us it was like a dream come true. It was massive for the whole country and all the people here."

Rokko Lassey, Katjana Grgicevich and Eva Bell celebrating Croatia's win in the Football World Cup semi-final this morning. Photo / Supplied
Rokko Lassey, Katjana Grgicevich and Eva Bell celebrating Croatia's win in the Football World Cup semi-final this morning. Photo / Supplied

Katich put the team's success down to a good coach and good harmony between the players.

"Our team had a wonderful game and the coach is one of the best coaches in the past 20 years, I would say.

"He has a good harmony between the players and their attitude and courage – especially after the quarter final with Russia. They fought very hard."

Grgicevich adds that a good generation of players also contributed to the win.

"I think those who know the Croatian team, know they have a good generation of players.

"Most of them all play in top clubs in Europe so we know that they are capable, but usually they fail to put it all together, but this time they have done it and they know how to win now," he said.

"This time they have done it for their country."

Grgicevich said England fans behaved like sore losers following their loss.

"Clearly we were the dominant team in the second half. At the end of the day I think anyone who watched the game can see we deserved the win.

"I think England started better but once it settled, Croatia was the better team. I don't think anyone could argue that."

Croatia will now go up against France in the Football World Cup final at 3am on Monday (NZT).

Grgicevich and his wife, Keti, hope to fly to Croatia to watch the game.

"I want to be part of the atmosphere in Croatia because I think it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Who knows when it will happen again," Grgicevich said.

"Twenty years ago they made the semi-finals and actually lost to France, so this is a bit of a revenge game this time."

Keti Grgicevich said she took her children and their friends to Pyrenees French Cafe in Mt Albert this morning to kick off the rivalry.

"We walked in all dressed in our strips and all the French workers started laughing," she said.

"There were not many people in there at first, but by the time we left it was full and everyone was coming up to congratulate us, except for one English woman.

"She walked passed with her thumb down and boo-hooing us."