The Croatian National Tourist Board contacted Yuri Cortez who found himself in between celebrating and cheering Croatian football players. After Mandzukic scored his goal in the game against England and brought Croatia closer to the finals, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer got knocked down by the players and took fantastic pictures in middle of their goal celebration. 53 year old Cortez is the Chief photographer in Mexico City bureau of AFP - the third largest news agency in the world. Along with his family he was invited to visit the country of the Vice World Champion and they confirmed their arrival for the end of August / beginning of September. We are convinced that Croatia offers many cultural and historical motives as well as beautiful landscapes the nice and cheerful Salvadorian can capture with his camera.
The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić states: “One of the things which will be remembered after this World Cup is how the Croatian football players celebrated Mandzukic’s goal. Yuri who accidently found himself in between the national team’s celebration got knocked down but at the same time took some of the most spectacular and unique pictures of this World Cup. The emotional pictures were seen around the world and highlighted not only the celebration, but also the kindness and consideration of our players: after the celebration, the team went to help Cortez up and Mandzukic apologised and ensured that he was ok. Croatia is a beautiful country full of kind, sympathetic people and we are very delighted Yuri accepted our invitation. When he will have the opportunity to see and be convinced for himself.”
Director Staničić personally contacted Yuri Cortez who enthusiastically accepted the invitation saying he has never been to Croatia before. “This kind of invitation is very special and it is a great honour and pleasure for me to come to Croatia. After the match against England and the celebration with the national team, I feel a connection towards Croatia who I was also cheering for in the final match”, Cortez said in his call with director Staničić. During his career as a photographer, alongside sports events he also captured environmental catastrophes and humanitarian crisis all over the world.
“His trip to Croatia is due to start in Zagreb and after that, we will show him the beauty of our country, our stunning coastline and numerous islands but also the continental tourism offer. We are organizing a trip he will remember”, added Mr. Staničić.