Vlatko Marković’s 12-year reign as HNS president is over. The 75 year-old Marković began his tenure in 1999 and will now hand 1998 World Cup Golden Boot winner Davor Šuker the keys to the HNS bus. Although Croatia’s all-time leading scorer (45 goals) has minimal management experience at age 44, Šuker has played in some of the best systems in the world. Hopefully he can apply what he learned at Sevilla, Real Madrid and Arsenal to the Croatian national team moving forward.
But what can one man do?
It’s not Šuker’s job to put the best eleven Croatians out on the pitch. But it is his job to get the HNL back on track and keep the future of Croatian football flourishing. What will happen if the domestic well dries up? What happens if the HNL becomes even less competitive?
Most importantly, what should we expect from Davor Šuker in the next few years?
Photo: Ronald Gorsic / CROPIX
We all knew Slaven Bilić was heading north for Moscow and that his teammate from the 1998 World Cup, Igor Štimac, would replace him as Croatian coach, but now it’s official. The 44 year-old Štimac is coming in just as Bilić did in 2006, with limited coaching experience. He has only had small stints at Hajduk, Cibalia and NK Zagreb, but is bringing on golden generation player Alen Bokšić alongside former Dinamo Zagreb manger Krunoslav Jurčić as assistant coaches. Uncapped 48 year-old Zoran Varvodić will also assist as goalkeeper coach.
75% of CroatianSports nation believes that Štimac will not do a better job than Bilić did. For those of you that voted this way, please defend.
Here’s what Štimac had to say in an interview with Jutarnji during his official unveiling as ninth manager in Croatian history:
“I can say that I’m happy, it is a great honor, but also the obligation to prove to many who were skeptical that I was the right choice for that position when it comes to my appointment as the new national team coach.”
How do you see those who were skeptical of you at the forefront of the national team?
“These are mostly the same people who admired Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, but said they could not win without experience at the top. It is understandable that there are many skeptics, but I do not have time to deal with the study of their comments and statements. To me, this is a great responsibility, and it makes me very happy.”
What are your thoughts on qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil?
“It’s one of the hardest qualifying groups; all the teams have a very high ranking in the FIFA rankings, no outsiders. These are all teams that not so long ago stole points from top teams in qualifying. It’s great competition, but we must be optimistic, we must be lucky to have such a group, it will motivate us greatly.”
Thoughts on the two matches against Serbia:
“I look forward to these games, it is a sacred opportunity to win such a game.”
It never ceases to amaze me how backward the HNS has become with the appointment of Davor Suker as its puppet President of Mamic and company. And don’t by any means believe that Markovic is out of the picture completely. The old fox still has his hands in the pockets of HNS. Vrbanovic is Mamic’s stoolie and Stimac is a relic of Balkan arrogance of the 70’s. Arrogance and Ignorance seem to be the flag that HNS will be waving until all of these thugs are out of the game. They’ve already plundered and destroyed the Croatian HNL, and nobody in Croatia likes anyone in this group of mentally handicapped egomaniacs. My prediction, Croatia doesn’t qualify for Brazil, Suker blames Stimac, Stimac gets fired and then the media goes after Suker for the mafia friends he keeps around. Suker gets canned and Mamic goes thrown into a mental institue and then we can have an HNS President who actually cares about Croatian Football and the Public, and guess who that could be? Dario Simic or Boban, either would be a breath of fresh air compared to this group of primitive knuckleheads who can barely read or write or speak with any intelligence. HNS=CORRUPTION! Platini said it and everyone in Croatia knows it to be true!
Just announced Boksic is Stimacs assistant coach. Any thoughts?
Disagree with you bud on the experience debate.
Slaven coached Hajduk for a year or so. Then he had a solid 2 year run with the U-21’s where he nurtured a lot of our core NT players. At least he had SOME success with the U-21’s.
Stimac, on the other hand, almost got NK Zagreb relegated a few years ago. He had a bottom table finish with Cibalia. He was the coach of Hajduk when they last won it all in 04-05, but he took over for Sliskovic when Hajduk where already top of the league.
Aside from that, Stimac is known character in this nogomet mafija we have going on. To my knowledge, Bilic never ran in those circles.
So between being mafia and having a spotty coaching career, his credentials aren’t the same as Slaven was in 2006.
I’m in the camp though that says lets judge Stimac based upon his results. Yeah, he’s a thug. Yeah, his coaching resume is spotty. But let’s wait until he gets a few friendlies and quals under his belt, then we can see if he can hack it and guide our boys.
I just hope that Suker can leverage his fame and bring in some real quality management types to clean up the Savez and get rolling on building up the domestic league.
Without a solid foundation, the rot will continue.
Suker has had a great vantage point as a player and then agent, hopefully he is bright enough to realize his shortcomings. As well, hopefully he made enough cash in his playing days that continuing to plunder the HNS is not his priority.
Svaka ti cast Davore i sve njabolje! Cestitam.
Bilic had just as much experience before taking over Croatia as Stimac does now. So who knows what will happen. Stimac will learn on the job and might be equally as successful as Bilic or even top Bilic.
if bilic can be out coached by the georgian and greece coaches , then what does that say for our new inexperienced staff, makes bilic look like a master
Yes, you are right about Schifo. I misread it.
Yes, you make a good point. However, I wouldn’t say that Slaven was “phenomenal” for the national team. Coaches are judged by results and how they perform head to head versus the opposing coaches.
I dont mean to rain on Bilic’ parade, but I thought that Bilic was learning on the job. He got better as the time went by. Dude was out-coached by the Greek manager and the Georgian manager.
I dont think its fair to say that Bilic outsmarted Hiddink of Turkey. However, he did get the result in Istanbul.
in the end, Bilic did our country proud and will go down in Croatian history as a top 3 manager.
Nice point about 2008.
Povećava se kolonija Hrvata u Rusiji: Šifo pregovara s Dinamom iz Moskve!
I voted yes!
Bilic was unfortunate to have Italy and Spain in the same group. Stimac is inheriting a team that’s in it’s prime. If you look at the regular contributors, only Srna and Pletikosa will be in there 30’s in 2014. This generation looks like they can go far.
With Boksic, Stimac wants someone who won’t be a threat if things don’t go well.
Regarding all of these posts in the past 2 weeks, I’m suprised that it took for the team to NOT advance to the next round for some fans to finally appreciate and realize what a great job Slaven BIlic did in his time here. In Euro 2008, we didn’t have Eduardo and our only legit goalscorer was someone with a kidney problem (Klasnic) and were still one fluke Turkish goal away from the semis.
You can critiize every coach about possible substitutions, different lineups, etc, but the bottom line is that the guy did a phenomenal job with a small nation.
@Denis……Schifo going to Moscow, but to Dinamo Moscow…..at least that was the last I heard.
Looks like Gordon Schildenfeld will join Slaven Bilic and Vedran Corluka in Moscow. Gordon will have a physical on Monday and then sign the paperwork on Tuesday.
If it goes through, I like it. Gordie and Carli should both start regularly in a pretty good league.
“Good to see everyone has high hopes for the future going forward”
stimac boned ceca on the dance floor in hvar. he is good enough for me.
Boksic brings nothing in terms of coaching ability. Another guy learning on the job. It may work, but the margian of error is much larger when you bring in guys with no experience.
And forgot about this talk that Bilic was more friendly with the players. Stimac is tight with some of these guys as well. With Srna and Pletikosa he funneled money away from Hajduk when they were transferred to Shaktar. Plus, Stimac helped finance Kranjcar’s move to Hajduk.
I don’t being friendly matters at all. I can point to countless of examples were teams succeeded when they hated the coach or the other side when they got along.
Stimac being coach is scary. Our results could go completely one way or the other with him (which shouldn’t be the case as we are the best team in this group).
He has that Balkanac arrogance to him that makes me think he won’t take tactics seriously, and will just focus on playing that Croatian attacking style just because we have more offensive skill than everyone else in the group. This might work, but it won’t take you anywhere when you play against better teams than yours (or if you play against a coach that is much smarter than you).
I have no doubt he’ll instill more aggression and maybe some more confidence in the team (much like Ciro did), but if you don’t respect your opponent enough, or if you cannot adjust your game when you’re a goal down, then you could become painfully predictable. Croatia changing tactics and coming back from deficits was always a problem in the past. I could never see Stimac coming back from that Italy game the way Bilic did.
If Boksic comes on as an assistant coach, I will feel a lot beter though. Not sure why. I just have a feeling that Boksic has a bit of that Niko Kovac in him, and there may be some more discipline on the squad with him a part of the coaching staff.
The only positive thing I can say is….the expectations are very high and these guys know if they fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup the heat on them will only increase. Naturally, winning will cure all the bad feelings.
I’m still not happy about the choice, we don’t even know what style Stimac prefers. Nobody bothered asking him this in the press conference. From his HNL days, he preferred a defensive, aggressive approach, but in the HNL he was coaching teams fighting relegation so maybe he had to take this approach
Staying as far away as possible from this catastrophe
mozes ga jebat ,…….. whats boban up to these days
suker is a puppet.
Suker as President is a joke.
Stimac does not have the “people skills” Bilic did with the players.
Lord help us.
Race wouldnt even bother me as much as the fact that I would feel he’s just being showcased at the International level so that Dinamo can sell him for something.
Regardless of ethnicity, Sammir is not good enough for the HNS.
What does dukuć have to say about this!?
We all know Bilic was best friends with the players so we can assume that it was a very enjoyable and friendly environment when the players got together for international duty.
I wonder what happens to the vibe of the team if Stimac comes in hard and demanding, without a smile on his face. I know these guys are professionals, but we can all relate to this one.
We’ve all had the cool boss at work leave and then some other guy comes in and tries to shatter everyone’s spirit. Micro-managing blah blah blah…
I don’t know. This will be interesting to watch pan out…
I really dont know what to think of Suker and Stimac. Markovic was a clown and did just about nothing since 1998. I dont think Suker can do much worse.
Stimac is just like Bilic. Slaven coached Hajduk as a “caretaker” and the U-21 national team which had Eduardo, Modric, Corluka and the rest of today’s golden generation. There’s not much coaching involved when you have talent like that at the U-21 level. That was his resume going into the national team. Looking at it this way, Stimac is just as qualified as Bilic was when he took over the repka.
Bilic frusterated me in WC 2010 qualifying, EURo 2012 qualifying, and if it wasn’t for our easy group, Croatia would have been watching the EUROS from home.
Bilic learned on the job and got better as time passed by. This is how it will be with Stimac.
Dont tell me that this current team is that much better than the one we had at EURO 2008. Bilic started off with a good Croatia team in 08 and now Stimac will start with a good Croatia team in 2012.
I am giving Suker and Stimac a chance to prove themselves. Unfortunately, Stimac is on a short leash. Stimac will have more pressure on him than Bilic ever had with the national team. With Mamic and Suker running the show, they will throw Stimac under the bus real quick.
he isn’t our own, when I meant by our own is the other 10 guys on the field who u turn ur back on, as well as the coaching staff, all the vatreni etc. He isn’t our own, I would rather have croats only on the team, but regardless i will never turn my back on the checkers.
I think we will always support the repka, but saying sammir is one of our “own” is not correct.
Anyone who wont support the NT because of sammir is a fool, because I am assuming u support them now and they have eduardo. It is the same situation, how quick hrvati can turn on their own really gets my blood boiling.
what do you think of Sammir? will he be brought up for the qualifying games?
@andy……how one played during his day has no impact how he is as a coach. I don’t like Stimac as coach, but his history as a player has no impact, just like Bilic’s had no impact. Coaching is a different animal than playing.
But, as some have said, we can only judge Stimac based on what he does going forward. Bilic left him in good shape to get to the WC.
In my opinion we have two guys in Stimac and Suker that are not even close in being qualified for their jobs…..but, that is how the savez rolls.
@JerseyCro……good point about the fans. I doubt Poljud will be even close to a sell out that day, but the boo birds will be loud.
the tovar hasnt got a clue how to coach a top 10 side, hes gonna dump us down beyond 20, I’d rather have prosinecki anyday
At least bilic was a decent player in his times, stimac wasnt, so being that so , he has nothing better to bring into the NT than bilic, our NT is at a crucial stage in its existance, we have been in the top ten for so long…Stimac and co look like they want the glory of what our NT has become…
funny thing is, Stimac will be booed out the building in the first match against Switzerland in Poljud…
I hate to say it, if Sammir calls Sammir I cannot support the NT anymore. If we see fishy call-ups, we know whats going on
Only thing which I can breathe easy about is they seem desperate to go to 2014 WC, and if they fail, the Suker administration already hits a low, so I hope they won’t fool around
Give Stimac a chance!!! Let a couple of qualifying games
Go by and then we can criticize!
I wish him well, I just hope this stint doesnt turn into a Stotichkov like stint with Bulgaria as coach. Bilic was a fantastic coach, psychologist, player, philosopher etc.
You have a group of young men that you have to motivate on a consistent basis and it takes more than one style of coaching to make that happen…
I hope Stimac does well, but I feel that Bilic just had so much depth that is hard to replace.
it won’t end well
I am very bitter towards the NT now, how can the manager be selected without a proper process? It’s a dictatorship
I bet by 2013, Stimac will lose the team, and Mamic and he will get in another war. Anybody expected a smooth qualifying process is too naive
I have hope..Bilic left him with a pretty good product….with a little bit of tinkering here and there, sure Stimac can do better.
Give the guy a chance. Bilic is a holy now but I know a time when a lot of people wanted him out too.
I voted yes, he will do better than Bilic. I see us advancing in the group stage, and winning the 2nd round game.
God what i would give to rip it up for just an extra week in 06/14!
Daaa-vor, Daaa-vor, SU-KER, SU-KER!!!
A new era begins-Lets hope its a prosperous one.
I’m not going to be negative just yet. Lets see how it pans out before completely writing off stimac and co.
lets all give this guy a chance to prove himself. Hopefully all go’s well and he can continue to keep croatia a fierce opposition and lead the vatreni to greatness