Written by Anthony Zoric (@anthonyzoric)
Croatia fans have been dreaming for their team to play in a World Cup since 2006. After qualifying 2nd in their group after Belgium. Croatia drew Iceland in the two-legged playoff. Niko Kovač was named coach after a horrific campaign where Igor Štimac constantly changed formations and players. Croatia was lucky to be drawn with Iceland, the worst opponent of the eight second place qualifiers. It was a high pressure situation for Kovač as he had zero coaching experience at the top stage. His coaching experience included the Croatia U-21 team and Red Bull Salzburg reserve team. The first playoff in Iceland ended in a draw and Croatia expectedly beat a much weaker team at home 2-0, losing striker Mario Mandžukić as he was sent off with a red card.
Niko Kovač had 83 caps as a player and was regarded the leader of his generation. He was named captain of the national team after Euro 2004. He captained the team at the 2006 World Cup and 2008 European Championships. When he retired in 2009, the Vatreni lost their engine in the midfield. His legacy as a player would have been even greater if Croatia was not shocked by Turkey in the quarterfinals with a last minute overtime goal in 2008. If Croatia advanced to the semis, they would have met Germany, who they already beat in the group stage.
Was Kovač the only candidate for the Croatia job? Davor Šuker stated that Kovač was the only legitimate man for the job. Croatia does not currently have many top coaches in its arsenal. Branko Ivanković and Zlatko Kranjčar were the most qualified coaches to take over the job after Štimac, but they were not even considered. This may have been a good time to look at a foreign coach. Coaches in the category of Ranieri, Trappatoni, Advocaat, Heynckes (Mandžukić connection) or Lucescu (Srna connection). Many coaches would love to coach this talented Croatian side at the World Cup. The issue with these high caliber coaches are that they do not want any interference on player selection or strategy. The HNS argues that they cannot afford a coach with such a high fee but I’m sure for the short term they could have hired a top coach with a legitimate fee, plus bonus for qualifying. The reality is that a top international coach does not work for Zdravko Mamić, who ultimately makes decisions at the HNS.
Igor Štimac was Mamić’s biggest opponent to take charge of the HNS. The Mamić-Marković team edged out Štimac by one vote in a controversial campaign. Štimac stated that an official that did not have the right to vote put in a vote for Mamić, which left the Mamić-Marković tandem at the top of Croatian football once again. Shortly after the campaign ended, Marković was removed as President and legendary Davor Šuker took over. Igor Štimac made peace with Mamić and accepted the head coaching job with little club managing experience and no international experience. The Croatian people took it as a slap in the face from Štimac to side with his biggest enemy and it would not be forgotten.
The entire World Cup 2014 campaign with Štimac at the helm was full of negativity and disappointment. It started with the calling of Brazilian born Sammir. He is a player who was being pushed into the national side by Mamić, even when Slaven Bilić was the coach. Slaven said that as long as there were better Croatian players, Sammir would not be called. In addition to calling Sammir, Štimac did not choose any experienced assistants that could help him. He relied on his own patriotism to lead the team in qualifying. Štimac had confidence in himself but no longer had support from the players. They looked lost and unmotivated on the field and that showed with Croatia’s last two qualifying defeats to Belgium and lowly Scotland.
After the Scotland game, Niko Kovač was named head coach of the Croatian national team. We can be sure that Mamić received assurance from Kovač before he was given the job. You can’t blame Kovač because it was a chance to lead Croatia as head coach at the World Cup. Kovač thought of it as a dream while those who oppose Mamić could consider it siding with Croatia’s football satan. One of the assurances most definitely was that certain players had to make the 30 man roster and certain others had to make the 23 man Brazilian roster. Mamić is an expert in raising the value of his players to get clubs to overpay. Mamić certainly forced Marcelo Brozović and Oliver Zelenika on the 23 man roster and Duje Čop on the 30 man roster. Many thought that Alen Halilović should be considered since he is the most talented player of his generation. He recently transferred from Dinamo Zagreb to FC Barcelona for a small fee of just over 2 million euro plus bonuses. He had come into good form recently scoring a double against Rijeka and playing with confidence. He most likely was left off the roster because Mamić is trying to now sell Brozović, who is also a central midfielder. Another player controversially left of the roster was FC Rostov left back Hrvoje Milić. Croatia had two left backs with Pranjić and Strinić, but Strinić would not make the 23 man roster due to injury. Milić played well all season for Rostov and deserved to be on 30 man roster and should have made the final cut with only Pranjić and Vrsaljko in hat position.
Milić is an interesting case because he was wanted badly by Mamić at Dinamo. He was considered the best Croatian left back in the Prva HNL, playing his trade at NK Istra. Milić said he was literally sat in a car and taken to Maksimir and almost forced to sign for NK Dinamo Zagreb. When he refused, Mamić was not happy because he most likely already agreed a transfer fee with Istra. Milić crossed Mamić and paid by not even being considered for Brazil, even though he did deserve it by his performances.
Fast forward to the 2014 World Cup.
Let’s take a look at the Croatia-Brazil match. Croatia started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Pletikosa-Srna-Ćorluka-Lovren-Vrsaljko-Rakitić-Modrić-Kovačić-Olić-Perišić-Jelavić. Mandžukić could not start in his usual position as single forward because of his red card against Iceland. The bench included Subašić, Brozović, Sammir, Eduardo, Rebić, Pranjić, Schildenfeld, Vukojević and Vida. In my opinion Kovač made many mistakes with this lineup.
First, you must know that Croatia’s #1 goalkeeper recently experienced a major family tragedy. Friends close to him in Croatia say he’s not psychologically fit to be in the Croatia goal. I asked journalist Ivan Ivković (@losovius) if he had heard anything about Pletikosa having a recent tragedy and he did confirm that he knew. I then asked him if Kovač knew about it and he replied, “I think he knows…if I know he must know.” Why start a 35 year old goalkeeper with current emotional problems? The Croatia #2, 29 year old Danijel Subašić, had a great year with Monaco, starting 35 League 1 matches. Subašić is considered the better shot stopper than Pletikosa. Stipe is considered better coming out for crosses. Who was the bigger Brazil threat: Fred or Neymar? We all saw that Neymar was the bigger threat, so even without the Pletikosa emotional issues, Subašić should have started. Brazil’s first goal came as a result of poor tackling by Modrić and Rakitić in the middle of the field. The ball came to Neymar and he took a shot that went through Lovren’s legs and slowly rolled to the far post from about 25 yards out.
If you look closely at the video footage, Pletikosa takes a step right as the shot is being taken. Keep in mind that there was no deflection. Why is he stepping right? He tried to recover, but that step right cost Croatia a goal. If he followed the ball the entire way, he would have made an easy save. Almost all neutral football fans can agree that there was no foul on Fred by Lovren for a penalty. Unfortunately, things happen and there will always be referee and FIFA favorites whether you like it or not. The second goal had Neymar hit a penalty at a decent pace to Pletikosa’s right side. He read it perfectly and even got his hands on it but it still got through. This should have been a save since it did not go off his fingertips as we sometimes see, but off his hands. He jumped off his near foot and not his left to get more power on the dive. Oscar’s third goal for Brazil should not even come about since Ramires crushed Rakitić from behind. The no call led to a counter and a toe poke shot from Oscar where we saw Pletikosa slowly reacting from a shot outside the box. It is worth to note that Pletikosa only allowed one goal this season from outside the box in the Russian first division. If Kovač did know about Pletikosa’s personal issues, why let him play in such an important game? I believe this terribly backfired as Stipe looked off on all three goals.
The next issue was Jelavić at forward. A forward who impressed at his first half season with Everton then disappeared completely, which led to him being sold to Hull City. In 16 appearances for Hull, he scored a very average 4 goals. I believe the right choice for forward was Ivica Olić. Jelavić is too slow to put pressure on defenders and has not been in great form lately. His one great chance in the game came from an Olić cross and he totally missed the ball. Luckily, Marcelo put the ball in the net for Croatia. With Olić up top creating problems and Jelavić on the bench, that would have opened up a winger position. Two names come to mind: Eduardo or Ante Rebić. I believed Eduardo would get the start. He had the most motivation to impress ahead of all other Croatian players. Eduardo is Brazilian born and he said it was a dream come true when we were set to open the world cup against Brazil. You have to consider that Eduardo was in great form for his club Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. He scored goals and was playing major minutes leading up to the World Cup. So why wouldn’t the most motivated player not even be put on by Kovač? Because just like Milić, he has crossed Mamić in the past. Eduardo sued Mamić recently to try to say that a contract between the two should be nullified. The so called “slave contract” is illegal by FIFA and stated that 20% of all of Eduardo’s future earning would go to Mamić. It is believed that Mamić has these type of contracts with other players he has sold, including Luka Modrić. Eduardo ended up winning the case in Croatia, not making Mamić a happy man. What better way to get back at Eduardo than not allowing him to play in his dream match?
Ante Rebić is a 20 year old modern winger on the roster of Fiorentina. He had numerous injuries this season but can be a very dangerous winger with his combination of skill and speed. Rebić showed what he could do when he entered the match as a substitute in the second half. He was an immediate threat offensively.
Another big mistake Kovač made was not making adjustments in the game. Ivan Rakitić had an amazing season with Sevilla with 15 goals and 17 assists in La Liga. He was the only player in Spain to score against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. He was so productive because he was playing in a position closer to goal where his offensive skills could shine. Kovač opted to put Rakitic next to Modrić instead of behind the striker. Inter Milan’s Mateo Kovačić on the other hand had been given the starting position in front of Modrić and Rakitić. Kovačić looked lost the entire game. He had a successful end to Inter Milan’s campaign as their regista (deep lying playmaker) as he is known for combining with players and his quick dribbling. In my opinion, when Kovač saw that Kovačić was lost, he should have reversed the roles of Kovačić and Rakitić. Put them both where they are most comfortable. We saw Kovačić shine against Serbia in Zagreb when playing next to Modrić so why not make the change? Instead of allowing Rakitić to move forward, Kovač removed young Mateo in the 61st minute for an unlikely substitute, Marcelo Brozović.
Brozović plays home games for Dinamo Zagreb in front of a couple hundred fans. In his second full cap he was put in as the game changer with a crowd of over 62,000 in the stadium with another 2 plus billion watching. What great marketing for Zdravko Mamić’s new product for sale. Managers who know Dinamo produce talented players can now fight for another young midfielder. His first touch with no one around him bounced 10 yards off of his foot. You can’t really blame him as he shouldn’t have even made the 30 man roster. Milan Badelj and even Alen Halilović should be in front of him in the pecking order. Mamić almost hit the jackpot when Brozović scored a goal that was disallowed when a foul was called on Ivica Olić in an aerial battle against Julio Cesar. This was another atrocious call by the Japanese referee. The more logical thing to do was leave Kovačić in the game. Right before he was subbed out, he played a nice ball forward to Olić on the left. Kovač should have moved Rakitić forward and put Kovačić next to Modrić. With Kovačić and Modrić combining in the middle I believe we would have caused many problems for the Brazil defense. Instead, Kovač showed he was just like Štimac- another Mamić pawn, accepting the job from him and delivering his side of the bargain.
Kovač would have been a legend if he put Eduardo in as a sub against Mamić’s word. Let’s face it, Eduardo has deserved at least that. Without his goals we would not have qualified for Euro 2008 and we surely wouldn’t have finished second in this campaign if he didn’t score the second goal at Wales. I’m sure Mamić would have been furious but Kovač would have kept his cult status among fans even if Mamić did get rid of him after the World Cup. Maybe Eduardo could have even produced something, but we will never know.
Croatia played an even match with the favorites of the World Cup. We were organized and our wingers were very dangerous. With a few smart and courageous decisions, I believe we would have been able to get three points against Brazil and shock the world. As for Mamić, I’m sure he’s happy since he got what he wanted. Promotion of his new product Brozović so he can sell him and buy a new yacht.
While Croatian fans wonder what could have been, we look forward nervously towards the next two games. We all know that if Croatia suffers one more defeat, they will once again fall short with a talented generation of players. In the end, who is to blame for the loss? I think we can all agree that Mamić’s political power is just as much at fault as the Japanese referee, who gave away a game changing penalty on a Fred flop.
Mark Twain and Anonymous,your a bunch of goofs….fast mouth on the web! bitch in person…lika joey = support 81 Toronto!
at first i predicted mandzu with two but fuck it mandzu with the hatrick!! 3 bagel the good guys
ajmo… its just like elmination round. simple, just keep winning
WE HAVE MANDZU NOW !!
These coconut s can’t play against European team s.
Correct me if I’m wrong but isnt Subasic keeping out the brazilian keeper from monaco?
Hells angels in Toronto are a bunch of gay hippies.
Why can’t Croatians be confident that we can beat both Cameroon and Mexico?
Mandzukic = Was a leading goal scorer in the entire German league at one point….and with Bayern scored 48 goals and won 8 trophies
Modric = Just won Champions League
Rakitic = Just won Europa League and singed with Barcelona to take Cesc Fabregas’ spot
Srna = Captain of Shakhtar Donetsk, won a UEFA Cup title in 2009, 7 Ukrainian Premier League titles, 5 Ukrainian Cup titles and 5 Ukrainian Super Cup titles.
Cameroon and Mexico fans should be worried about Croatia, not the other way around
Starting Eduardo –
Why would you start someone who’s heart isn’t completly with the team he is playing for. He said he would sing both national anthems.
Then his mother does a interview with Brazilian news papers and says he sons heart is brazlian and he only went to croatia for Work.
He played a excellent game. First goal that was made he was spot on for the save but there was a minor deflection which altered the course of the ball.
On the pentaly, how can you say he should of blocked it? Do you know how hard Neymar kicked the ball? Have you ever tried to stop a shot from a world class striker?
And this website publishing personal family problems about Pletikosa is just a joke. What are you guys trying to get your article picked up by espn so you can get a billion hits? You think other international news outlets don’t have this information available. Don’t think someone tried to sell this information to Bbc, the guardian or other European news outlets. They just have more class then you guys and know this is about the World Cup and not family problems.
Now one thing we can agree on, let’s get the win tomorrow.
I don’t get how a bunch of you can post some gay comments while the soccer game is on? Who ever posts comments during a Cro game…………your parents have failed you! Just watch the dam game and if you feel you need to type a comment than do so, AFTER THE GAME! I couldn’t give 2 shits to go type a comment during a Cro game. Who does that?
Jebemu pas mater.
We have waited 8 years to our boys on the world stage.
I am going to sit back with the home crew and enjoy the match.
I just want to see our best and let the score board take care of itself.
Both sides are up against it, lose and you are done.
We dominate possession and let the ball do its magic. Kamerun will tire running around after us.
Rebic _________Rakitic _________Perišić
Subs – Olić, Pranjic, Vukojević
Take it easy in warm-ups. No need shoot your load before the match kicks off.
I think this is the most talented team we have had since 98.
We are better than Mexico.
Lets hope our boys play the way they are capable of.
I’d like to see the World Cup held every three years instead of four.
A schedule like this, for example. :
Invite all European countries to 2015. Have the minnows start off play in a single elimination round until you get down to 32. Then set up the groups.
September 2015 to November 2016 World Cup qualifying
June 2017 – World Cup
June 2018 – European Cup. Again, invite everyone.
I would eliminate the year of qualifying for all continental tournaments and just invite everyone – again, with the minnows (going by FIFA’s ranking) playing a single elimination until you get to a manageable number. It would obviously different for each continent.
Croatia will be amped up for Cameroon from their naked swim. Kovac needs to play the players with Bosna blood !!
If we cant beat Cameroon than for sure we don’t deserve to go on anyway…
With that being said….assuming we beat Cameroon….look at Mexico and look at us. We have way more talent than the Mexico roster especially with Mandzukic back.
We should be able to be beat both teams.
I don’t blame people for feeling low after all that is happened.
But one solid win against Cameroon, and that feeling will disappear and everyone will be amped for the Mexico game.
Kovac will keep an attacking formation against KEMRUON
Mainzfeldski I agree with your analysis. Modric and Rakitic control the tempo and play leaning forward vs on our heels in both games – idemo dalje!
this world cup has gone about as bad as it could
1) We lose ranking to fall to pot 2
2) We draw arguably the best team in their home turf for the opening game
3) The ref’s give Brazil 2 goals and takeaway one from Croatia
4) Our best player Luka Modric gets hurt
5) Our players get caught swimming nude together
6) We have to play in Manaus. But not only that, its against arguably the team most well adapted to that climate: cameroon
7) Mexico gets to face cameroon first after they arrive to Brazil late and disoriented
8) Mexico goalkeeper pulls the game of his life and saves Mexico a draw against Brazil
9) Mandzukic out in the first game
10) Even an advancement in the group leads to a match against Spain or the Netherlands
ALL THAT BEING SAID, 1 WIN AGAINST CAMEROON TOMORROW AND WE HAVE A FIGHTER’S SHOT AGAINST MEXICO!
My point is the reason the big teams make it out of the group stage is because they win! simple as that we can’t just slug our way through with losses and ties
croat when was the last time? 98…euro 2008 we ran past the group stage. Now it is do or die.If our boyz come out ready they can.Whats the scoop on modric?
Guys, everyone needs to relax. We simply need to beat Cameroon and play well against Mexico and take the points there also. We’re better than these two teams. Yes, we were dealt harshly in terms of refereeing in the first game – for both of their last two goals but remember Mexico had TWO goals disallowed that were clearly incorrect calls so we should be thanking our lucky starts that they didn’t officially hammer Cameroon 3-0. We have everything to plat for and a place in the second round as a reward. C’mon!!!!!!!!!
“we have never made it out of a group stage when we had to win games” Oh really? and how do other teams get out of a group stage by losing?
yeah that ecuador one was shit.. fuck that pissed me off
but yes if we do win tomorrow.. and then cam can beat or even draw with bra.. anyone can finish first in the group (including us) and avoiding those oranje cunts
We have never made it out of a group stage when we had to win games.Example equador…spain…Australia… I hope this time is different.
@ Iggy we need to beat Cameroon just to muddy up the waters.
Heck, imagine if Cameroon where to beat Brazil and knocking them out, after the country spent 15 BILLION to host this event.
After tomorrow this group might be the tightest.
regardless of the score tomorrow we need to win the next 2.
not true mishko again
if we beat cameroon 100-0 it doesnt matter
mex only needs to draw against us cos they’ll finish a point ahead
thats why the number of goals tomorrow doesnt make any diff
it only matters against mex
@Iika Joey, it really depends on what happens tomorrow. If we beat Cameroon 2 – 0 tomorrow then Mexico would probably play a different game.If it’s 3 – 0 then Mexico has to win, which is in our interests.
but yeah im just saying if we do draw tomorrow
beating mex by 2 goals is not out of the question i dont think
do u guys think we could do that? i certainly would say its possible
my prediction is we’ll beat Cam 2-0 for the record
If Mexico can “score” 3, we could too! 🙂
The game tomorrow should be fun.
can someone please explain? if mexico plays 5 3 2…wouldn’t we have more possession? bosna seemed too.
I highly doubt 3-0 but I’d be happy!
As of right now Mexico looks at our first game as a loss even though it was, inside I feel we performed well, they’ve now got two results….the best thing we can do going forward is get strength from being cheated in our last game and outplay and out score Cameroon…then go into the Mexico match with confidence!
Watching the Brazil – Mexico game. Brazil’s mid-field is horrible and gave them TONS of space to shoot some pretty nice bombs at goal. On the other hand our midfield doesn’t play like that.
Of course. Some of the chances Brazil had were half-chances, and our defense did well do smother some of these attacks.
Mexico’s defense paled in comparison to our defense when we played against Brazil. It’s surprising how Brazil didn’t score. Ochoa was beasting.
I’m just saying that: what Croatia did in the first 12 mins and in the last 20 mins of the game– I want to see more of against Cameroon and Mexico. Croatia can surprisingly maintain a good defense and attack at the same time, provided that our defense and midfield have good communication with each other. I don’t think it will be a great compromise to our defense if we attempt to attack and pressure the defense, as long as Modric/Rakitic maintain the tempo.
And the ref. We need to have a ref with glasses, haha.
That’s what I thought you meant when you were talking about the horrible Neymar goal.
Croatia to win 3-0 against Cameroon! 🙂
We have played one game so far,which we were expected and seemingly destined to lose.There has already been some talk of Croatia needing to maintain their mentality and to be able to survive the Jungle heat of Manaus against Cameroon.I hope that some of our “supporters”can maintain their mentality and survive the jungle heat of this chatroom! Its starting to look worrying for a few!
@Iggy you are correct my bad.
start a new thread for cameroon already
Brazil’s savior FIFA and the ref were to blame for that loss.
Croatia should have won 2-1.
Unfortunately, the fix as I told you it would, be was in, and
as KING BRONK always says, “When the fix is in, you ain’t gonna win.”
The Croatian defenders were to blame as well not just Pletikosa for not blocking the shot. It hit the post and went in hard to save those it was well placed but yes Pletikosa was a bit slow to react even Neymar said he didn’t hit it hard. What we really wanted was a Cameroon and Mexico 0:0 draw but Mexico won 1:0 and got the three points which has made it harder for us in having to get two wins not just a win and a draw. Cameroon’s first shot on target came in the 91st minute.
Mainzfelski- I will go back and review those plays…I saw the game twice and can tell you I was never overly concerned, in soccer there are always chances and half chances….they had none against us so clear as they did with Mexico today.
They “shit” Neymar goal I refer to is based on the fact i think 8 out of 10 goalies save that.
We will see how we do tomorrow and then compare, I’m not giving up, I think we have the team to win both games!
yes we’re lastin the group but we’ve played a less game u moron
Croatia should be able to handle Cameroon and get a win.
Is Eto’o injured?
Hopefully Croatia will perform quite well!
your calculations are wrong
look.. if we draw tomorrow we’re on one point okay..
then if we beat mex we are on 4 and they are also on 4
if we score one goal our goal diff goes up to -1 and there’s goes down to 0.. do u follow so far?
if we score another goal our goal diff goas up to 0 and theirs goes down to -1
its not that hard
it really doesnt matter what happens tomorrow providing we dont lose, we just simply need to beat mex by 2 in any event and we’re thru
if u need me to do up a table showing u the equations is primary level maths i can but i dont see what’s so hard to understand
^ A mistake in the second paragraph,
Croatia was complacent after they scored the goal, not only after Neymar’s equalizer.
David Luis fouled one of our defenders? Oh, you are talking about the second half. My previous post referred to the first half only.
Again, when Croatia becomes too complacent in the first half, these 4 situations occurred that were dangerous. All happened after our goal. They were almost goals, to make it simpler.
Since you mentioned David Luis in the second half, I’ll have to ask you, can you mention other legit chances that Brazil had (post-penalty)? Don’t mention the third goal, since that was purely the ref’s fault.
Hmmm… I can think of that Rakitic/Corluka misunderstanding in the second half which was dangerous. Corluka received a yellow from fouling Neymar, ich denke. So that’s 2 dangerous situations. Any more?
Neymar’s “shit goal?” What’s “shit” about it? The fact that the Croatian defenders, who were in a favorable position, should’ve dealt with Neymar before he shot the ball? Or is it “shit” because Pletikosa should’ve saved it? In this situation, the Croatian players weren’t spread out due to “attacking,” but the defenders were in a pretty good position to dispossess Neymar. Didn’t happen. Their fault.
“No close calls?” Brazil was dangerous. I just mentioned the four in the first half and the 2 in the second half (excluding the Rakitic non-call).
In summary, when Croatia begins to attack with Modric and Rakitic controlling the tempo of the game, Croatia becomes quite dangerous. This, however, was only apparent in the second half after the penalty goal. They could’ve performed well after Neymar’s equalizer and before the penalty.
Reality check, we are currently LAST in the group.
We HAVE to win both games. because of the goal difference unless we score 4 against Cameroon, which I wouldn’t be surprised.
The upside is we should beat Cameroon. And Mexico has a very poor back line other than Ochoa, and the only reason they were getting those shots off is because Brazil’s mid field sucks and are lazy.
Trust me, this comes down to who wants it more.
im just saying it how it is
if we fail to win tomorrow it isnt game over but yes of course we should be aiming to win both games and go thru in style
if we win both there’s also an outside chance of finishing 1st in the group (if cam draws with bra somehow) and avoiding holland
No we don’t need to win both…
it if twas Cam 0 – 0 Cro
Cro 2 – 0 Mex
we would advance
the only real diff with beating cam is it means we can beat mex by 1 goal and get thru
not a huge diff really but yes easier
Its a pretty simple equation for us now, win the remaining two matches and go through, im so sick of the fucking calculations draw this, win that, goal difference, zajebi ti to samo pobjede nas nosu dalje. Its all in our hands now, unless of course the refs play a part in our next two matches, but if they are clean then its all about what we can do.
All three teams in our group have their weakest squads for a World Cup in quite awhile, especially Cameroon. I thought Assou-Ekoto who playes in the second division in England, was their best player. Expected more from M’bia of Sevilla -huge disappointment.
Croatia’s biggest mistake was sitting back for long stretches and giving Brazil too much respect. Their defense can be pressured. Alves, Marcello, and Luiz are known more for their offense – one thing that Kovac might have misjudged.
Anybody go to Scorpios or Veslo for the Brazil match? Were there a lot of people? Can teenagers get in at either place (without drinking of course)?
Let’s not tie two teams that we should beat – unlike we did against Australia and Japan last time around.
Mandzfielski- you man when David Luis threw down our defender and dove for that header?
Other than that and Neymars shit goal there were no close calls.
fellas, think it is safe to say that we need to win both games to make it out. which to me we will. unlike you all, I believe.
I still think we win out and advance.
Yeah theoretically it would have been “easier” for us if Brazil had spanked Mexico by a few goals but whatever. If you want 2nd place then prove it by beating Mexico / Cameroon. If we can’t do that then we don’t deserve 2nd place and don’t deserve progressing to the next round anyways.
i mean that sounds worse than it is sorry
so if mex is up 3 goals on us.. that’s worse than it sounds cos when we play them it changes 2 goals for each one we beat them by
so if we were to draw with cameroon
even then we would only need to beat mex by 2 goals to go thru
not impossible by any stretch
its not as bad as it sounds really
“not many of you have a fighting spirit…and like I read above, it wouldn’t be fun going to war with many of you….”
Well said! I wouldn’t want ’em next to me either in the trenches.
We were always going to lose against Brazil. FIFA set us up as the Sacrificial Lamb so the hosts get a 3 pt. cushion. Getting a draw against them? Never with FIFA in charge.
It was ALWAYS going to come down to beating both Cameroon and Mexico. And some of you just woke up to realize this???
Look anything can happen. But we possess the quality. And we got the greatest Aerial threat in the game about to be UNLEASHED! The Red Baron: Mario Mandzukic!!!
Tomorrow, is “To be or Not to be.” And by God, we gotta give it all we Got!!!
just woke up.. shit ay 0-0 bra and mex.. well that is shitty for us.. really need to win both games now.. hopefully we win 2-0 or 3-0 tomorrow
This is the best possible result for us! We control our own fate this way. Brazil really isn’t that good of a team. Plus they looked worse against Mexico. If we win out which I think we will than watch out for us in the next round!
Vukovar!!!! Vukovar!!!! Vukovar!!!! Vukovar!!!!
I’m watching the game right now. At 13 minutes all I have to say is that Mexico came out aggressive but they are super sloppy in the back and we should be able to exploit that next week, but most importantly is tomorrow’s game, it’s a must win.
And when we’re up we have to take any guys on yellows off the field, i.e. Lovren.
Let’s see, on the top of my head:
1. Oscar’s cross, that was JUST MISSED by Neymar/Fred! Near tap-in. (15′)
2. Oscar nearly scored from the left side, but Pletikosa was able to do wonderfully to block that shot.
3. Neymar’s goal. Pletikosa could’ve done a tad better, but I wasn’t worried.
4. Modric had to quickly intervene in the penalty-box to stop a possibly dangerous Brazil shot, that would’ve been a 100% goal. (AFTER NEYMAR’s GOAL)
These are the four I could think of at the moment.
See? When we calm down and disturb the Brazilian play, we are not completely safe from the attacks.
But in the second half, after the penalty, our offense was effective against the Brazilians. What a shame that the ref didn’t call the foul on Rakitic, which led to the third goal.
Again, I’m not asking Croatia to rush and attack, but when Rakitic and Modric are able to control the attacking tempo, I feel safer than when Croatia feel “satisfied,” allowing the Brazilians to exert their dominance.
With Manzo in there we will win. Maybe 2-0.
I hope the team walks out naked. That would show them.
not many of you have a fighting spirit…and like I read above, it wouldn’t be fun going to war with many of you….that comment is true here!
Cro v Ant, Poglavnik, Slavonac & IvicA
Spot on. Love the optimism! We CAN do this!
Mainzfeldski- “Regardless, although Croatia were playing careful, Brazil still had what– 3-4 dangerous chances in the first half”
WHEN? from outside the box or inside?
I love watching them attack, believe me but I think it suits different teams better than our current team.
You guys are all acting like a bunch of baboons.
A tie, and we’re still in it.
A win and we’re still in it.
A lot of things can happen, and you guys automatically go the most negative direction possible. Go figure.
Great comment Ante B.
The people on this website are becoming more negative everytime i read the comments.
We all love our national team and lets look at the positives and not the typical negative ‘i told you so’ attitude.
We had a lot of things to be proud of the other night and lets hope taht we play with a similiar intent for the remainder of the tournament. Positive football without a defensive midfielder.
I was wrong.
We need to beat both teams.
Rank is determined in this order:
2. Goal difference
3. Goals scored
I pretty much agree on your analysis in your first paragraph.
Croatia did not allow Brazil to move much and attempted to pressure their defenders with Maniac Magee Olic (and Jelavic), and in essence, we nearly “killed the play.” That is effectively managing the game.
Regardless, although Croatia were playing careful, Brazil still had what– 3-4 dangerous chances in the first half (Pletikosa doing excellently to stop Oscar [?]’s shot but unfortunate for the rest)? Luck was on our side.
Now let’s look at when Croatia was going turbo-mode after the penalty. How many dangerous chances did Brazil have? FEWER than in the first half! Why? Modric and Rakitic kicked in gear, and Croatia controlled the tempo! Through offense, we were also able to create a pretty nice defense. This is what I wanted: to attack just like that– the level we attacked after the penalty– but for a good chunk of the first half too and the beginning of the second half!
I would’ve LOVED a draw. However, didn’t Kovac say that Croatia would attack and that they wouldn’t “park the bus?” He was true to his word at 0-0. Croatia was dangerous. But at 1-1, Croatia did not have a great influence, not even in the second half until the penalty was called.
Overall, I’m not asking Croatia to go hyper, but remarkably, when Croatia attacked Brazil, our defense seemed to be quite stable!
This is all in contrast to the Mexico-Brazil game. This game staged a higher-tempo, and maybe that’s why it seemed more “dangerous.” Probably you feel differently about it.
Croatia vs. Antwerp- its about time somebody has common sense!
some of you are panic freaks…let the games be played on the field, no need to throw in the towel!
idem dir sto bude bice i dalje sam Bum
It’s tough to compare our play vs. Brazil, and Mexico’s play vs Brazil. Because every call was going against us in the Brazil match.
In that match, the ref blew the whistle 21 times against us–every call going against us. While blowing the whistle ONLY 5 times against Brazil–letting ’em get away with murder. This was totally outrageous. How do you play in this environment?????
Today the referring was fair towards Mexico. With an unbiased ref tomorrow, I’m interested in seeing just what Croatia can do.
And we scored a goal against Brazil, and had one disallowed. Mexico couldn’t muster anything. WE were the bigger offensive threat.
We have the quality to prevail in the next 2 matches.
I thought beating Mexico would put us through if we have the same number if points. Or does it go by goal differential.
Does anyone know what FIFA’s rules are this Tournament?
Mark my word 0-0 Kamerun Croatia i idemo Kuciiiiiiiii
Anyone believe for a second that Cameroon could beat Brazil? If they did that would leave Brazil at 4 points and if we beat Cameroon by 3 or 4 goals, plus drew Mexico that would give us second place.
Bice Bolje euro 2016 is only 2 years away maybe we then finally have a team that can play 4-2-3-1
Mainzfeldski – we did not play a back and forth high tempo match…when Brazil had the ball, we waited for them and they distributed the ball around the back and up the wings…there was little full speed attacking back and forth…we killed the play, were behind the ball at all times and in relative control…giving them only outside options, few through the middle other than Neymar’s goal!
tempo could have been faster if we were in the attack mode…getting forward and then fighting to get back…when did you see any one of our players caught out of position…once…twice?
Look at it like this, before the tournament started we would have all been satisfied with a draw against Brazil and we would have most likely achieved that if that penalty wasn’t called…so in other words…they did not have many or any goal scoring chances from dangerous areas (I actually think Pletikosa should have saved that Neymar goal). thats managing the game, limiting chances and how you get results…fast paced attack and defend soccer is beautiful but dangerous…why would you risk that type of game if you didnt have to?
idk how some of you are even thinking of tying tomorrow
mexico is +3 on goals against us
we need to win our straight up
or even more crazy,we beat cameroon, cameroon beat brazil, and we tie mexico that sends us through, blatter wont let it happen tho
Oops, scratch the Jelavic part.
Although he shouldn’t have played. 😉
wow this lovro who has been posting of late is one idiot
We definitely needed a DM. We couldn’t just charge in against Brazil; although something is not going right with the Brazilian team dynamics, they can still be a major threat, just like in today’s game against Mexico, where Brazil had huge chances too.
But seeing how Croatia was attacking courageously after the penalty, we have shown that we could maintain our defense to some extent while we attack. Without a DM or Modric’s ,,control-role,” life could’ve been more difficult for the team.
2 wins and we go through.
Jelavic shouldn’t have been used
I am huge history believer thus, History isn’t on our side Idemo naprijed sto dragi Bog kaze.! maybe we should all go skinny dip LOL.
slavonac yes I thought mexico could score…I was nervous watching the clock.If one of those shots from range beats Pleti that’s enough imagination.
Remind me never to go to war with you negative assholes.
Goal difference doesn’t matter if when the next two games.
@ Mainz Kovacic should have played out wide as Lm and Olic at Cf instead of that tupina Jelavic, and Vukojevic need to play im sorry that type of game you needed a dm,
I would be postive if NK put in the right lineup for once and stop acting smart like the neznalica aka igor stimac give us a staring 11 that has energy and dont shit the pants im sorry Jelavic vs Brazil was a mistake. Olic on wing will be funny tommorow hope he proves me wrong but I Cannot see Croatia go through unless we win 3-0 tomorrow. 1-0 will not be good enough for me as mexico at this time is better D than Cro!
To preserve a tie, or to score more goals at the risk of one’s own defense? That is the question.
Croatia did not dictate the tempo several minutes after our goal. Correct me if I’m wrong, after our goal in the first half, Jelavic’s header to Cesar was the only chance on target that we had.
Croatia did not control the tempo until the faulty penalty. Of course, we need to fight back. But why not when the game was already at 1-1? Kovac said that Croatia will attack, and that was true at 0-0, but at 1-1, where was our attack? We let Brazil advance (until the penalty, of course).
Mexico was pestering Brazil, just like we were in the second half. Mexico proved irritating at random points in the game, while Croatia was trying to fight back while the game was not in our favor.
I felt that Mexico would’ve scored. Particularly at the end. But then again, Perisic has done something similar in terms of threat level. But at 0-0, Mexico scoring near the end of the game would’ve been a greater threat to Brazil.
Lika- its our style…we don’t play that style and beat Germany, Italy, Holland and many other teams…we aren’t a team that runs up and down…we try to slow the pace down so in a game like today, sure, Mexico looked good because them and Brazil play that way. Brazil had less chances against us, thats the key…we were disciplined and did to them what they did to Mexico…kept them far from our goal!
slavonac, buttom line mexico looked much better against brazil.We let in a soft first goal.
we were preserving a tie which would have been a good result…Mexico is in jubilation for their result today!
a threat is when you are attacking the goal, not attack until 25 yards out and do nothing…over and over and over again!
In our game, we were dictating the tempo, in this game the Mexicans matched Brazils tempo and tried with no imagination…did you ever feel Mexico would score?
Actually, forget about Mexico being more threatening in the amount of times they were shooting. It was about the same, more or less so.
With the exception of the beginning, Mexico were looking to attack, while I saw Croatia sitting back a tad bit, allowing Brazil to exert their dominance.
Ok, I need to stay away from this negative atmosphere.
STAY POSITIVE FOR ONCE PEOPLE!!!
Bitch and moan any other week of the year…
Sutra je nasa festa!
Sutra se vino pije!
DUDUDUDUDU NEMA NAM POMOCI TBF
In the word of JOLE CAGALJ
OKO MOJEEEEE OTTOVO JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Err, definitely used the wrong word there. Not “bombarded.”
Rather, more “threatening.”
Mexico was more of a threat than Croatia was, shot-wise, and although Mexico was not as threatening at the start (unlike Croatia during the first 12 minutes), Mexico grew influence, while we faded away (until the controversial penalty).
We only grew dangerous when we were losing. It’s not a coincidence that we began to pick up pace, but that was the disappointing part, considering that Croatia had the quality constantly threaten Brazil, long-shots or not.
Why tie Cameroon?
Do you want it to come to goal differential?
Enough with the ties people.
Cross that bridge if/when we get there.
‘Til then, 2 wins and 6 points is what we want.
Slavonac, I agree, but every game is different. That will be of little consolation when it is the 85th minute and we are still drawn at 0-0 whilst they are wriggling on the field like little bitches.
Brazil 0 Mexico 0. Thats the end of our world cup. Mexico only need a draw against us and they will park the bus. Then possibly even get us on the counter attack. Sometimes you need luck in this game. So far we haven’t had any,
I agree, we don’t want him re-injurying himself. I read on SN he’d play with a sponge in his boot. Fuck that. We need a miracle. The spirit of 1998 has to be rekindled.
analyse these games closely and then it should be more clear…up until the 70th minute, Brazil didn’t have 1 single chance on our goal like they did on Mexico, the ref was giving Brazil every darn whistle…a penalty…a disallowed goal and didn’t call a foul against Rakitic before their last goal….
now look at this game. Mexico fought incredibly hard, were united and compact…attacked in numbers and couldn’t penetrate the defence…won several battles in midfield and when they attacked…all shots were from far out…whats so incredible about that? sure, they looked good but how good…how dangerous were they up front?
I would rest Modric for Mexico.
If we cannot tie Cameroon without him we deserve to go home.
If we had had fair officiating against Brazil, we probably would have managed a draw or even a win. We would be worrying about our goal difference now. Jebi ga.
Volim Hrvatsku roden sam tamo ali Brate mili svaki Izbornik pravi krive poteze i zove krive igrac.
Every coach does same mistakes this is not the best 11 that will play vs Kamerun tomorrow nor that 11 vs Brazil was best cro 11 and NK subs are terrible timing IMO, I hate being pessimist but that’s just the way it is, Jelavic Sammir and complany i want to lose with a strong 11 that goes like Subasic-Srna Corluka Sifo Vrsaljko- Vukojevic Modric-Perisic Rakitic Rebic-Olic vs BRazil not that soft lineup again tommorow most likely again Pranjic comes in Sammir/Brozovic Olic agian on win Stipe in goal gadi mi SE!
It’s really easy to be nervous and look at our past failures, but if we don’t want our players thinking or acting like that, then we shouldn’t either.
SAMO NAPRIJED MOMCI!!
Mainzfeldski – bombarded? maybe 2 shots on goal? from distance…Mexico fought hard, did well but did nothing in the last 3rd of the field against Brazil…1 shot on target at the end…you call that bombarded?
You’re right! We gotta be positive.
Nobody should be complaining.
If last year someone would’ve said “In Brazil, it’s going to come down to 2 wins against Cameroon and Mexico to advance in our group” 99% of us would’ve said “fuck yeah, lets’ do this!”
Quit your crying people and stay positive!
Ajde Idemo Kuci this is how it plays out for croatia in 2002 2006 we needed wins in last game and came up short same even euro 2012 and croatia failed history is on mexico side they are a round of 16 machine!
This is a tricky situation.
Mexico bombarded Brazil in the second half. How come we couldn’t do that until the penalty call? Hmmmm.
All the best to Croatia. A sliver of a chance, but it’s there.
during the Croatia – Brazil match the ref didn’t let the game have much flow, he blew the whistle often and definitely gave far more calls to the hosts…fast forward to today’s game and it was a totally different scenario, there was flow to the game, players were allowed to engage in tackles without any favortism and this ref allowed for the advantage…
I thought Mexico did well until they got to the Brazilian 3rd of the field…there were really no clear chances, most shot were from distance and the forwards had little imagination.
If we win tomorrow we have to play disciplined against Mexico and I think we can beat them…each matchup is different, we will slow the pace down while Mexico will try to increase the tempo!
win win win
We played a good game against Brazil, got screwed, and we’re already throwing the towel because there is another team in our group playing well?
Let’s wait until after the Cameroon match to judge. If we come out with a big win against Cameroon, then it means that Niko may actually have something here as it’s uncommon for us to play well two games in a row.
If they come out timid tomorrow, and struggle to create… Man, just shoot me.
It doesn’t make a difference. Either way we have to win the third game. Although if we beat Cameroon we just have to win against Mexico regardless of the score. I can’t see us winning in the jungle of Manaus though. We will need to conserve energy and we won’t have lots of chances. If we can just hold on to the draw we’ll preserve some hope for the third game.
Couple things, lets be positive here. This result is good for croatia. Puts pressure on us to actually win games, not get by on ties. The cards are in our hands, win out and we move on. I like when croatia has to win, I don’t like when we play for ties. Lets do this were at the world cup, to be quite honest if we can’t win out, we don’t deserve to move on anyway. Ajmo vatreni!!!!!!
lets go boys!!!!!!!!!!! amjo hrvatska!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE STIPE STIPEEEEEEEEEE!
jebi ga idemo kuci ali nema veze we are going home and so what look forward to euro 2016 if NK is smart smjena genracija and Subasic-Vrsaljko Jedvaj Lovren Gorupec-Kovacic Modric-Halilovic Rakitic Rebic Mandzukic include Bench/possible 11 Kalinic Maric Corluka Sifo Leskovic Males Milic A Muric Basic Perisic Perica Livaja Radosevic Mocinic Brozovic Coric Pjaca Lulic Misic and some other prospects and maybe Srna sticks around Goodbye to Eduardo Jelavic Sammir Olic Simunic Vida Badelj Strinic Pranjic Kranjcar Vukojevic Pletikosa!
It’s as simple as this…
Croatia wins both remaining games.
Brazil win their 1 remaining game.
Pretty realistic to me.
No we need a win against Kameroon no tie if we tie then we don’t deserve to go through simple as that we can’t keep letting it go down to the last match saying ” We’ll just tie in our second game and win in our third”
We need a draw against Cameroon and a win against Mexico of 2-0 or more.
We need 2 wins to advance, even if we win, we are a point behind.
2 wins is the only way to go.
Mexico played very well. I don’t know how we’d beat them unless they bunker for the tie and we found a way to break them, I doubt they do that though.
Sorri man im just stupid croatia need 2 wins
Don’t have to win tomorrow- a tie and a win by 2 goals over Mexico puts us in I believe… I’d rather just beat Cameroon tho
jebem mater izvikanom Brazilu pitcke i onaj japanc krepavi i NK sto nije bolje taktiku slozija.Tako se igra protive BRazila aggressive i zatvoris prostor a ne one nase balerine ima da zgazimo Kamerun i onda meksiko.
Marcelo did a late dive in the penalty box he wasn’t rewarded with the penalty. Both looked happy with 0:0 draw.
Man of the match Brazil vs Mexico was the Mexico goalkeeper saved everything quick to react on all counts. Jebi ga looks like mi idemo kuci.
Chupe that makes no sense…that would give us 4 points and Mexico 5. We need to win out
Goals scored that count not agianst. so we already scored 1 and mexico only have 2 i think we need a huge win tommorow
Gotta win 4-0 tomorrow and that would be +2 goal diff and 0-0 croatia go through head to head is only if we are tied on goal diff.
Scolari just said to the Mexican coach – “Ok, all you need to do is tie – I could not lose to you” – hahaha
Good site with gifs being posted during the match.
And yes, Ochoa is pretty much the man of the match.
wheres the penalty there, just as much contact as lovren
To be fair the header did go straight at him.
think on this.. mexico can tie us 0-0 and go through the group with 1 goal!
are you kidding me with this goalie, jesus
bilo,we will have a hard time with this team even then.
im praying with mexico we can use our height advantage and heading like SMM… if rakitic can deliver just one of his great free kicks he has done at seville
but seems to me cousinbilo we don’t do well with that… just thinkig back of the greece qualifying campaign… but im thinking no one parks the bus quite like the greeks
Maybe its best that mexico goes into our game only needing a tie…they can sit back and park the bus…maybe we can punch it through.
omg free kick
they were just saying how brazil never loses points in group play… well…..
lovro is ziva aka boo boo aka sammirsserbianwife
jebenti joe u glavu, jelavic would have done better with that
Lovro your a retard!!!
ya goalie is sick… same ole story just like hockey, you can ride a hot goalie a long way
You can’t fault brazil for not trying. Ochoa is playing a huge game.
OH MY GOD
if anyone cares we want a yellow for CB Hector Moreno who is the only Mexican player coming in on a yellow
yes the shots from teh outside
i would have really like rakitic to have a couple of go’s from a bit of distance… maybe get lucky with a straight goal… maybe get a junk rebound for olic…. oh well its done
but for sure mexico looks dangerous and playing a system
mexico likes to shoot from distance…fuck they look scary…that is one part of our game that is missing.
Don’t worry boys, Mexico’s goal is coming – no need to watch the last 2 matches.
Niko can spend the rest of the World Cup running around with towels for the boys at the swimming pool. Just about the only thing he’s qualified to do.
Fuckin’ Kovac also said ” I usually don’t complain about referees after a loss, but this was a circus”,
Well, guess what Niko? This was your first loss. So, you are now 1 for 1 complaining about the refs after a loss.
Mexico looks good! we are going to have a hell of a time with them. Wow what a goalie!!
WHO IS GOING TO SCORE THOSE GOALS? WE HAVE NO STRIKERS. NOBODY ON THIS TEAM CAN SCORE GOALS!!!
Mexico are made for tournaments as for Croatia another summer of sto je moglo biti
They will beat Cameroon easily and advance. This game means nothing to Brazil.
You really think Scolari has any other intentions other than winning the World Cup?
You really think he’s like “we need to win the WC, but first we have to fuck over Croatia and then worry about getting out of the group.”
Being old is not always a good thing 😉
If Mexico win then 4-0 vs Kamerun and beat Mexico i idemo dalje gol razlike
If you don’t think Scolari took Kovac’s rant as a slap across the face and changed his approach on this match – you are young and haven’t been out of the selo much.
What did Kovac’s accomplish? I haven’t seen FIFA change the score yet. He only repeated what the whole World already saw and knew.
You guys here are young and have a lot to learn about pissing crazy people off who have power.
Mexico wins this game – Croatia is already out.
How can they fuck croatia 2 wins i idemo dalje unless mexico win if it stays 0-0 still 2 wins
I meant in the past timley saves not last game. 2014 Q he has best player.
they just flashed a clip of scolari and mexico coach shaking hands… i wonder if they are like lets tie this and fuck croatia
The keeper made timely saves something that Stipe has done
No matter what we need 2 wins 6 points i to je to.
come on you neymar u picka do something
Every team’s gonna get up to play Brazil.
Mexico started strong and was taking it to Brazil early. However when I wrote the comment, Mexico was on their heels, giving possession away far too easily when transitioning out of the back, and they couldn’t string 3 passes together. It looked like they were losing control.
Both teams have settled in now and it’s pretty even.
look at the weather for game time… the weather was much more favourable for the enlgish/wops game… this just keeps getting better
fucking mexico goalie… fuck
GK Ochoa is keeping Mexico in this game
wow we are done Mexico is much better than we expected. At least we have thise nudy pics to get us by. Sramota!
Comment….iPhone sucks again
This is a close and good game….don’t understand your client from how it’s been played so far?
i didn’t see much of this game so far but saw mexico keeper had an unreal save… fuck
Mexico wont hold onto this game much longer.
Missed offside call there…odd
Pretty fast tempo in the first 10 minutes but Mexico is keeping then wayyy out on the outside so far!
Physical match. Hope these guys just kick the shit out of each other.
Mexico looking dominant.
I think it’s really tricky to feature all 3 (Kovacic, Modric, and Rakitic) in their natural positions, all at once.
But what are we supposed to do, not play our 3 most talented players at the same time?
I like Rakitic deeper because one of his biggest strengths is his eye for the long ball. If only he played defense better he’d be ideal for the holding midfield spot.
I still say make him more of the “holder” and let Luka roam up top.
Pletikosa did not play that bad. The first goal, when he was taking a step to his right, it was the right thing to do. Neymar COMPLETELY scuffed the shot. That was NOT where he was trying to put it. Got kind of lucky actually. And the penalty?? Never blame a keeper for missing a penalty. Sure he got his hands on it, but it was struck well. It happens. The third goal?? maybe he could have done better. He was on his heels, and wasn’t covering his near post quite well enough, but at that point, it didn’t matter too much.
After Eduardo’s comments after the Brazil loss and his mild happiness to Brazil winning I don’t need to see him play for the rest of the tournament. In fact I’d rather see Sammir play at this point lol
For anybody that said that Pletikosa had an anywhere near good game, please go back and watch the tape. He should have saved at least 2 of the 3 goals, but he did have one brilliant save on Oscar.
I think Jelavic should get subbed out at half for Eduardo or Rebic. His nose for goal isn’t sniffing like it used to. Olic plays a hell of a game, but needs more support with somebody that can receive the ball.
On the whole midfield, it’s all an armchair quarterback thing. Kovacic is being groomed as the next Modric, so it’s not too far fetched to have them playing aside one another. Modric has been doing well at Madrid in that more defensive minded midfield position.
You let him lay back and throw balls to the wings, who can then play off Rakitic who does well closer to the attack, or you drop it off to Kovacic who can dribble through just about anything.
With all that being said, I didn’t mind Kovac’s tactics. I think we should have been a little more aggressive and less fearful of the Brazilians after 45.
Please Brazil, take a shit on Mexico.
We deserve it after you lucked your way to a win.
Eduardo did not deserve to play lol.
And Brozovic and Zelenika selections are some what justified since both started for Kovac in the u21s, and played very well, especially Brozovic who could not stop scoring.
Man does it hurt to type this, but come on Brazil you cheating little bitches, do us a fucking favour!!
Re: Pletikosa, I don’t think he was as bad as people are making him out to be. He made some good saves, and while he let in the penalty shot, he did get his hands on. Even the best goalies in the world let in penalty kicks. That is why referees better be darn sure when making that call. If that was a bad game by Pletikosa, then I don’t think he did that bad.
The article is a good read, and as others haves said I apprecite your opinion and passion. I guess hindsight is always 20/20. The people I watched with thought Croatia did well, and any changes made to that line-up may have helped Croatia, or may have made things much worse. However I would liked to have seen Alen Halilović though, and I agree he should be there. I think most countries would have played someone that talented, or at least had themon the bench. Otherwise I think Kovac did a great job.
Totally true about Eduardo man.
The guy mos Def deserved start over smellovic(jelavic)
Great job on the article, Ante. Good insights and I see nothing wrong with reporting the possibility of Pleti sitting out. Wish him and his family the best as well. Hope we’ll get your thoughts after the Cameroon match as well.
So, I certainly had my doubts regarding Vrsaljko playing last week, but he shut me up. So happy to see him working hard and doing well in such a tough environment. He definitely deserves to keep his spot in the back line against Cameroon.
With Mandzo back, this should be a different game. With a real scoring threat up top, we should be finishing the chances we create. Anyone expecting to see Rebic make an appearance? I am. Play him along with Mandzo perhaps? Keep Olic and Eduardo ready as subs? It’s going to be hotter than hell, and almost as humid as Florida tomorrow. Gotta keep the guys fresh.
In order to have beaten Brazil, Croatia would had to have beaten the actual team of Brazil (the easiest part), the officiating squad, FIFA, Sepp Blatter, Nike, Budweiser (enter any other from the array of corporations sponsoring the WC), the UN security council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the British Foreign Office, MOSSAD, ADL, JDL, Simon Wiesenthal Center…. YOU get the picture.
Perhaps – perhaps – we’ll pull out some favorable results from the remaining two games. But I haven’t and wouldn’t bet on it. Croatian ineptitude begins where the “conspiracy” ends…
Point being, everyone take a load off. Most things are out of our control.
Regarding the article, not very tactful.
Hvala Anthony Zoric! I always appreciate a different voice/viewpoint and I know it takes a lot of time, desire and love to write such a post! thanks for sharing your thoughts
Put me in the camp that blames the Ref, as lame as that is to do it’s actually pretty valid this time. Ok I can see giving Brasil the non-Red for Neymar, the hand ball for Olic’s face, the non-penalty for Olic in the box… but the ridiculous “penalty” on Fred, the Olic “foul” on Julio Cesar and Ramires blowing Rakitic up to get the ball and pass it for Brasil’s 3rd “goal” were all total bullshit (ok Olic on GK not total bullshit but close) and cost us a goal or goals against us. Even at 1-1 in @ 70′ with his bad calls up to that point being pro-Brasil, had he not called that penalty I would just bitch about the Ref but not get so hung up on it. But after the penalty he just continued to ruin the game and he became the focal point! So douchebag referee was really who was to blame, without him I think Hrvatska gets the draw, maybe even a win! but I don’t think we would’ve lost
when people discuss soccer and then start grasping and finger pointing to all the reasons as to why somebody else was wrong, I read and listen….but when that person has not been able to back up their comments and continue to finger point…I see right through them….its clear Zoric gave his “opinion” but its baseless and has no merit! a player that’s played can only learn as much as he is taught…and then it depends who taught you…so many people think they get this game and then throw out the criticism’s as if they knew all the answers…ma daj molim te…pocetnik!
Pletikosa played an amazing game with tons of saves. Why do Croatians always feel the need to blame our own guys. Fifa and that ref is who we should be blaming! And nothing beneficial comes from posting this ludicrous story about Pletikosa! You’re only hurting our team more, and for what? Stop trying to be TMZ and just stick with the facts guys. This is the third time you have tried posting this story and you are just losing respect from all Croatians around the world! Sram vas bilo!
Well done, spot on article.
You know your shit brother.
You read my mind.
I do not agree with you, I don’t think Niko would have taken the job if he did not have autonomy to make his own decisions, Also it is easy to nitpick the game after the fact or play monday morning quarterback on coaches decisions
You think you have some big scoop that other journalists don’t have lol? Hate to break it to you but you don’t. The difference is that some people have tact and aren’t reporting it, something you clearly lack.
garbage article, basically someone upset with Mamic,
just like Nije bitno said, worldwide picks it up and next you know Pleti life is all around the world
Kovac did an outstanding job but people have their agendas and this article is no different, garbage,
you believe this based on what…a theory that’s never been proven? do you know that Kovacic didn’t play with Inter for the majority of the year because they played a defensive system that he didn’t fit into…did you know that?
are you sure Kovac bases his decisions with Mamic’s influence?
Zoric…you’re a pessimist and providing poor reasons to back anything up you’ve said…I’m not personally attacking you, this is simply about what you said…you didn’t respond to my comments questioning your theory…you now turned this into a Mamic thing which I see no reason to do so! Kovac is inexperienced, yes, but his decisions for the most part are logical…especially if you understand the make-up of a team and understand what elements of the team you need to get a result….Kovac was looking for a draw and praying for a win, that’s not unreasonable considering all the factors we were up against…one of the key factors is player personnel! Mandzukic was out, he knows he needs both Rakitic and Modric but will face an attacking team at their stadium in their country on opening day…do you have any idea of how tough that is psycholigically…maybe explains why Brozovic was scared shitless and made some terrible touches on the ball? So he keeps Modric, Rakitic and has a choice…can Kovacic do the job of defending well enough in not such a dangerous position, high in the centre of the field, and then he can hopefully utilize Kovacic for offense and let him do his thing…he tried…it was a challenge that wasn’t great offensively but it didn’t hurt them defensively…what was the alternative…Rakitic up high, Modric with Vukojevic…right? would you want Vukojevic on the field against Brazil…knowing he’s clumsy and half a second slow to every tackle? we’d have had tons of stoppages in play because he can’t seem to tackle without causing a foul…more chance for Brazil!
we can’t talk about Boban, we all love him but he isn’t willing to throw his hat into the pot and offer his services to the Savez…that point is done!
Zoric – buddy with all due respect, Stipes story maybe true. But how is this information beneficial to the team? Once the Croatian media get a hold of it, it will go worldwide. This info that you put out has potential to be a huge distraction for the team.
I knew this would be controversial but its what I believe. To beat a team like brazil we must outplay them. The info about Pletikosa is absolutely true and he should not be playing. I’m sick of Mamic influence at Dinamo and national team. Mamic learned his lesson when he hired Halihodzic and could not control him. He gives coaches partial freedom but he in the end is the reason we have an inexperienced coach at the World Cup. I hope we win and advance for the players sake but ask yourselves if Boban would ever compromise with Mamic. Answer is no way. Kovac was a legend as a player but he does not yet have the experience to lead us here. Just as Bilic learned his mistakes on the national team so will Kovac. Why can’t we ever combine an experienced coach with our talented squad? Because it just doesn’t make business sense for mamic. I believe his time at Dinamo will not last much longer and hopefully he will disappear magically from Croatian football all together.
i agree with you for the most part. you were on point with your general jelavic comments. the guy might not be the most in form, but he was likely the best at playing that lead striker role that needed to be played to try to wear down the brazil back line
kovac’s tactic were generally pretty solid. we did a good job of exploiting the space given to us on the wings. kovac was ultimately limited by his personal. up 1-0 he had the decision to either keep attacking or defend (with non-defending players modric, rakitic, kovacic). he chose to defend. i can’t say i blame him
Anthony Zoric- “Kovač should have moved Rakitić forward and put Kovačić next to Modrić. With Kovačić and Modrić combining in the middle I believe we would have caused many problems for the Brazil defense. Instead, Kovač showed he was just like Štimac- another Mamić pawn, accepting the job from him and delivering his side of the bargain.”
what in God’s name are you thinking in saying this? where did you ever get the idea Kovacic would be useful in playing in a deep position after running his balls off for the first 60 minutes…all of those minutes in an offensive position, far closer to the opposing goal than where Rakitic plays. Brozovic was a questionable sub but he was most likely put in for an assignment his coach gave him….I’m curious to know what makes you think Kovacic would be useful in a role where he would have to absorb even more pressure?
you then said: “Jelavić is too slow to put pressure on defenders and has not been in great form lately” – ok, so who do you put in full well knowing we will defend for the majority of the game…Eduardo…Rebic? Olic is already running miles up and down the left flank, ensuring Vrsaljko is getting help…who else could provide that? Jelavic did well defensively but we already knew he won’t create anything on his own, he’s always been a tap-in type of goalscorer…did you expect him to dribble 9 players and score?
If we ended up the game in a tie, which it should have been, would you be saying Kovacic should be dropped to a more defensive position and that Jelavic was useless? Both of them were responsible but had little opportunity to do much on the attack…its what happens sometimes in this game, you expend a lot of energy being accountable and ensuring you are covering all lanes to make their passes difficult…its a lot harder than it looks!
If we went with all your suggestions…ie Rakitic more forward, Kovacic more defensive…play Eduardo who wouldn’t be able to defend well…we would have lost 6-0…5 of the goals in the first 30 minutes!
article on the weekend a disgrace (conveniently taken down) and this one is garbage
Shouldve couldve ajmo naprid.
Zoricu, I love you buddy but man you can drive me insane sometimes.
I blame Cico for all of this and to a lesser extent, AllenSteven.
Everyone is a tactician! Relax people. Kovac was a very intelligent player/leader on the field. He knows what he is doing and knows how to win.
i’m a bigger fan of Subasic than Pletikosa…but none of you have any idea why NK made his decisions…
Blame the tactics from Kovac around the 65min should have gone with ognjen and pushed raketa to am and sub jelavic for rebic push olic to cf then sub olic off for brozovic or vids to up the d but so je tu Brazil would have scored because of ref.
interesting info on pletikosa
hulk not going to play vs mexico
our biggest obstacle vs cameroon continues to be the climate. this matters greatly. just look at how well homes team with climate advantages play like ecuador in quito. cameroon is much better adapted to the heat and humidity
croatian sports: http://www.24sata.hr/nogomet/evo-kako-hrvatska-dijaspora-slavi-ludo-i-glasno-u-la-u-371807
Pranjic is not and never was a left back.
I’m surprised he would even consider starting him over Vrsaljko.
the blame: the blame for the loss goes to FIFA for allowing such a unqualified ref and to the ref himself who was disastrous on many levels…starting from calling almost every call in Brazil’s favor, to only cautioning Neymar for his intentional elbow to the penalty, then the disallowed goal and finally for not calling the foul against Rakitic when they scored their 3rd goal!
the game: one thing is certain, you have to understand soccer, the tactic and strategy utilized and know why that particular lineup and formation was utilized to be able to fully grasp that game.
I think Kovac did well with what options he had. We are used to seeing players like Kovacic have more time on the ball and utilize his offensive skills to create, many wondered why he didn’t do that in the past game. Our team played under immense pressure…psychologically and physically. When you play in front of 60,000 fans cheering for the other team…on their home turf its a HUGE task…when you play on the opening day of the world cup against one of the most elite teams in the world…it is HUGE pressure. Brazil have several offensive options, if you noticed, up until we scored we held them on their side of the half which requires an enormous amount of running…Kovacic was very responsible…so was Jelavic…and I’m certain they did an excellent job, it requires a ton of energy and concentration to cover all the area which makes it even harder to go forward in numbers…the assignment was to be responsible, protect their own goal and counter…something most teams would do against Brazil, especially in that environment!
On another note…I am today openly admitting I may have been wrong about the Dudu topic! I’ve loved the guy for years, I think he’s an amazing guy…very respectful and kind and I know he loves Hrvatska. After listening to his comment when we lost, I’d never play him…its impossible to put someone on the field that has 1% love for their opponent…he definitely has more than that! lets not even get into the Sammir discussion…I’ve never liked him as a person and although from a soccer perspective I know he covers a lot of territory on the field, he’s physically strong and quick…has some good tools…I’d take any other player before I’d play him…I never thought I’d say it but after hearing the comments from the Brazil game…this is about National Pride, not club pride…
why still talk about this when we play cameroon tomorrow? this is in the past and it wont change. its obvious we played our best football that game. I hope the players and coaches are focused on moving forward.
“Danijel Pranjić dobiva mjesto na lijevom braniču gdje ga je “glumio” Šime Vrsaljko”, jeli Niko glumi budalu ili stvarno je toliko lulav da ce ovog srgaca meknuti umisto Vrsaljka? Ljudi moji jedino nas jos moze molitva spasiti, jer izbornik nas je poludio.
Pletikosa or not we still lose against brazil! He had a few good saves as well, that people forget to mention. The fix was on and we took it up the ass with no vaseline!! This game was 5 days ago and we have a new game tomorrow to concentrate on. In my opinion this post is way late to even debate about, its already game day tomorrow. Just an excuse to expose Pletikosas “trgedy/drama” (in a nice way) first! SRAMOTA!!!!
Hindsight is 20/20. Get over it, no one is to blame.
If Croatia fails to advance I want the ring leader of nudygate off the team no matter who it was. What men do this stuff?
Pletikosa shouldn’t have stepped to the right.
Who’s to blame? The miss of the great sammir maybe? 😉
We could discuss this all day..let’s just win the next two and we move on!!! ZA DOM!!!!!!!
If’s and but’s candies and nuts.
Full respect to Kovač for righting the ship.
Now he has to make the real moves against Kamerun.
-Rakitić behind MANdzukic .
– Rebic starts
Subasic between the pipes.
Big time opportunity in Manaus.
Just to be clear – the ONLY person to blame for this loss is the incompetent or crooked Japanese ref. None of the players should be beating themselves up about this.
The analysis on the Rakitic – Kovacic problems is spot on, however. Both looked uncomfortable in the positions they played and neither was utilised very effectively on the basis of their stengths or the roles played at club level this season.
Good point too about NK should have gone with Olic to play up front in Mandzukic’s absence to play Brazil.
However I just can’t see how Eduardo would have been the right choice to play against Brazil, whether or not it’s anything to do with Mamic. No matter what he did in the past, that doesn’t justify his current selection. If I was NK I’d also feel deeply uncomfortable at playing Eduardo after he insisted on singing the Brazil anthem as well as the himna – a sure sign of divided loyalties, no matter what anyone else says. Neither Jelavic or Dudu should be playing any role in this World Cup on the basis of recent form in any case.
It’s easy to say what Kovac should have done after the game.
Good read and good analysis. We definitely got scammed, but tactical analysis is spot on.
There is no blame or shame losing to Brazil in their home stadium.