Lots can be said about today’s embarrassing defeat to Austria in the Nations League. Regardless of the situation, 3-0 is never a desirable score to lose by. However, it’s really not the end of the world – actually, it’s hardly a problem at all if you examine the loss with a clear and open mind.
Again and again, this Croatian side continues to prove that they don’t give a damn about friendlies – glorified or not. On the other hand, the squad will step it up when they have to. They’ve shown that time and time again, beating Scotland in the Euro, Russia in World Cup Qualifiers, good competition in the Euro 2020 Qualifiers, a whole bunch of solid teams in the 2018 World Cup. Before the 2018 World Cup (don’t forget about our glorious silver medal), the Vatreni fell short to both Peru and Brazil in scoreless fashion. Do we ever talk about those games now? No! In 2018-19, Croatia lost to Tunisia and Hungary, drew with Azerbaijan, and scraped narrow victories against Jordan and Georgia. How often do we mention those matches nowadays? Never, because Croatia went on to qualify for every single major tournament since. And how about this one – 6-0 loss to Spain, fresh off World Cup silver, in the glorious, wonderful UEFA Nations League. Doesn’t matter now, folks! And it didn’t matter a week prior to the defeat either.
I want this team to win just as much as anyone, but sometimes, as supporters, we need to take a step back and be rational. Zlatko Dalić’s father passed away this week unfortunately. Managing a national team only a few days later cannot be an easy task. Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić, and Joško Gvardiol were not amongst the starting XI – the three best players in their respective positions. Chances are, all three will be fit by the time November rolls around. Nothing was in our favor, and although we probably should have beaten Austria on home turf, it’s unlikely that the Croatian National Team extended any extra effort into ensuring a victory today in a glorified friendly.
The Vatreni play France next, and will most certainly pour quite a bit more effort into that match. We all want to beat France and get some taste of revenge from the 2018 World Cup final. Surely, Poljud will be electric and Modrić should get the nod to start the match. Expect to see a better performance from Sosa and Pašalić vs. France, as they hardly play two poor matches in a row. Duje Ćaleta-Car and Marin Pongračić should be a little more awake after a blunder of a performance against Austria, and who knows, maybe we can score a goal too at some point?
Hey, France and Belgium lost embarrassingly on home turf too. End of the world for them? Not at all. For us? Most certainly not. If the Vatreni manage to beat France at Poljud on Monday, all these frustrating emotions will disappear.
Now please, take your anger out on my optimistic writing in the comment section below. 😉