Ivan Perisic said his equaliser that helped Croatia come from behind to beat England 2-1 after extra time and reach the World Cup final was a goal that "he could only dream of" as a child.
The Inter Milan winger poked home a cross from Sime Vrsaljko to haul Croatia level midway through the second half having fallen behind to an early Kieran Trippier free-kick.
"It was a very difficult game. We all know what was at stake and how important a semifinal is for a small country like Croatia," said Perisic.
"We started slowly, but we showed our character just as in the previous two knockout games when we were a goal down. We didn't used to be that resilient."
The 29-year-old Perisic recalled watching Croatia's last semifinal appearance in 1998, a game won 2-1 by eventual champions France.
"I was back in my hometown. I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatian jersey," said Perisic. "I could only dream to play for my country and to score one of the most important goals."