All credit goes to prolific goalscorer Mario Mandzukic for scoring the goal in the second period of extra-time.
Deschamps also suggested in his post-semifinal comments that the French side might have another gear to reach in the final.
"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it".
The toll both games have taken on the Croatia squad was evident at the end of extra time against the hosts with several players sprawled out on the turf at full-time.
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Croatia has reached the final four on one previous occasion - the 1998 World Cup in France.
"We wanted to go further, but unfortunately we failed to make it this time, We'll do it better at Qatar in four years term".
"Modric is a worldclass player and extremely effective for his country, for his club - and he has been one of the best players at this World Cup".
In order to win, England will need to contain Modric, who is involved in nearly every Croatian attack, controlling the pace, and scoring twice, including in the impressive 3-0 win over Lionel Messi's Argentina.
The teams then traded two scores each before Ivan Rakitic calmly converted the winning penalty.
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Anderson scented blood and, out-duelling Federer time and again, he broke in the seventh game to level the match at two sets all. Raonic never broke Isner's serve, and while Isner broke Raonic's serve just three times, it was just enough to move on.
The third place finishers from the 1998 World Cup have needed penalty shoot-out wins to bypass both Denmark and Russian Federation in the knock-out phase.
After a night of drama, England found a way to stay in the World Cup. He said that what we showed on the field was great.
"Two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago", he said. "I don't think so".
Scenes in Zagreb after Croatia qualified for the semi-final.
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.
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