Written by Vedran Ćavara
Something funny happened during Croatia’s 2012 EURO campaign: our expectations were suddenly raised, and the team made us proud. Here are a few observations I’ve made. Feel free to disagree.
–Slaven Bilić made this team into a bona fide unit that played within themselves. They worked hard for each other and defended as a team.
–Ivan Strinić did a great job defending. Not only did he do that, but he also provided wonderful service and crossing from the wings.
–Gordon Schildenfeld and Vedran Ćorluka made up a hell of a center back pairing. Tall, strong, winning aerial duels as if they had worked together for ages. Remember, Ćorluka is a natural right back.
-I was dead wrong about Stipe Pletikosa and I admit it. He couldn’t have saved Pirlo’s free kick and was stellar against Spain especially. I’ll have my crow deep fried.
-Croatia can hang with anyone. We put eight guys back against Spain, time and time again, and should have won the game if not for Ivan Rakitić missing a wide open header. Credit to Iker Casillas for saving that one. We went after the best team in the world without any fear.
–Mario Mandžukić has the killer touch and knows how to finish. Rumor has it that Everton FC want to pair him with Jelavić. They sure performed well together at the EUROs. Anyone else notice how nicely Mandžukić tracks back and defends for a striker?
–Ivan Rakitić needs improvement. His shooting and defensive work rate aside, the lad needs to improve on his passing and ball control.
–Luka Modrić has “IT”. He has the skill and ability, but needs to show up more often in the first half for Croatia. He did brilliantly in the second halves of games during the EURO’s. He’ll look good for Real Madrid next year, at least according to Mate Bilić.
–Ivan Klasnić was a player lots of people were asking to be included in the squad. “Killer” might have some left in him, but he clearly wasn’t needed.
-A HUGE SALUTE to Ivica Olić for giving us great memories and great goals throughout the years. His heart and hustle will be missed. He recently announced his retirement from the National team, but if Štimac were to make a strong case for him to come back, Olić would definitely have to consider it.
–Danijel Pranjić hustled when he was on the field, but the guy needs a change of venue before his career ends.
–Niko Kranjčar didn’t show much, but that might be because he didn’t get any playing time the past season at Tottenham. Hopefully playing at Kiev will re-envigorate him.
Something everyone can agree on is that these boys made us all proud and they played their asses off. It’s a damn shame we didn’t go further. Let’s hope Štimac doesn’t mess up what Bilić has put in place for the Croatian national team.
Big baby indeed. Can’t understand why the guy is complaining. The CB pairing of Charlie and Schifo was arguably the best combo going for us. If those two were exposed all tournament then his banter would have some merit but it couldn’t be any more opposite to that.
Simunic acting like a big baby. I never cared for him, always seemed like an average center back that was fortunate to start.
Bilić: Šimunića neću komentirati
I don’t agree with what Joe had to say but for some reason I take it with a grain of salt. For some reason I cannot take anything seriously from the mouth of Otto Baric. It’s not that I disagree with him but I find it very hard to take him seriously. No offense.
Thank you for the very nice words as you are doing a very good job with this website and you did one heck of a job on the football/soccer telecast! Stick with that as you have a future in it.
It is really great to have a place to shoot the preverbal shit about our National Team!
On a side note. After the Italy and Spain game I was just drained of emotion. Especially the Italy game for some reason?? Living beside hundreds of Italians will do that to ya I guess.
Hvala Bogu for alcohol!
What did you think about Pirlo’s penalty kick yesterday? That took some big kahuna’s!
Let’s Go Deutschland!!
@Slavonac from Canada
“i know he was suggesting we changed things up and went for the win but its easier said than done in hindsight!”
Hindsight is always 20/20 in sports and life.
As much as I don’t disagree, and I am not going to get into the particulars as I have done so already, but your statement is beyond accurate. Well beyond accurate.
@ Svircic- I agree with you with regards to Simunic and his comments. some players feel slighted…I’ve felt it in my life many times…but our emotions are our own problem and nobody else’s…professional athlete’s should understand and especially a guy like Simunic…he’s past his prime and I think our defense did well…i know he was suggesting we changed things up and went for the win but its easier said than done in hindsight!
Here is my point:
“what Joe says is up to him”.
This is true. But dont say something stupid. No one agrees with what Joe said for a reason. So why come out and say it?
Its like Joe saying “I can play for an EPL club right now.” Yes, he can say whatever he wants, but in the end, he looks like an idiot or a bitter, old, past his prime, player.
When you(Mihovil) comment on the site, you have facts to support your claim or you have an opinion that at least makes sense even though I might disagree(For the record, I rarely disagree with your opinions). Joe, doesnt have any facts to support his claim and doesnt make any sense.
“I should have played” Really? If Croatia finished with 3 points, and beat Ireland 3-2, then Simunic has some facts to support his claim.
“Bilic didnt talk to me for two weeks” What is there to talk to him about? You are a soldier for Croatia. You put on that shirt and wait until you are called upon. You should be proud to wear that shirt. The end. Thats how I see it.
Kvartuc- I didnt get your email which tells me you dont wanna lose! no worries, i saw a clip of how you play so i knew it would be easy!
“Would you have started Simunic for Carli or Scifo? Knowing how well Scifo and Carli played after game three(which Simunic saw with his own two eyes, then made the comment), would you even play Simunic?”
I did not say ever that Bilic should have started or played Simunic in any of the games in this tournament. If he thinks he should have played than that is how he feels. The guy was disappointed that he did not play I guess.
“We did need Joe, on the bench just in case of any injuries. Joe is a professional soccer player. No need for Simunic to get but hurt like Lamar Odom. The manager does what is best for the team. In this case, it was Scifo and Corluka.”
When I said we did not need Joe I meant that we did not did him as a starting player. I don’t know who Lamar Odom is?
“Bilic doesnt have to tell Simunic anything nor does he owe Simunic anything. If Simunic had any questions, he should have addressed Bilic before and/or during the tournament.”
Apparently he tried but to not talk to the guy for two weeks is a bit wrong in my books. It is not the end of the world but it still leans on the wrong side of town. Once again I am not sure how valid that story is?
“Kranjcar played what two minutes in three games. Dude didnt make any comments about that or Bilic’ decision. I applaud him.”
So far he has not made any comments but the night is young. Once again in the grand scheme of things it does not matter as he can say whatever he wants be it positive or negative about Bilic or anyone for that matter. I would like to applaud him as well though.
For the record, what Joe says is up to him and I really do not care or see how this is relevant to anything? If he thinks he should have started than so be it. Personally I don’t think he should have started but that is an opinion just like Joe’s, yours or mine.
Big Joe is smart enough not to criticize the coach during the Euro. The last thing he wants is to be sent home and remembered like this in his final tournament.
I dont think he did anything wrong either by making a comment about Bilic. But his comments just dont add up.
1) “Corluka and Scifo were pretty shaky in the first game”
Would you have started Simunic for Carli or Scifo? Knowing how well Scifo and Carli played after game three(which Simunic saw with his own two eyes, then made the comment), would you even play Simunic?
“We did not need Joe in this tournament and Bilic knew this. Although if what Joe said was true about Bilic not saying anything to him in a two week period I find that to be a tad unethical.”
We did need Joe, on the bench just in case of any injuries. Joe is a professional soccer player. No need for Simunic to get but hurt like Lamar Odom. The manager does what is best for the team. In this case, it was Scifo and Corluka.
You will never hear players say, “I suck, I’m not as good a Scifo or Corluka because I’m past my prime. Bilic was right in benching me. I was there just in case of injury.”
Some players need to be babied. “Will I be traded coach?” ~Lamar Odom. As if the owner would say, “Na, you are Lamar Odom, hall of famer, untradeable.” Thats part of the business.
Bilic doesnt have to tell Simunic anything nor does he owe Simunic anything. If Simunic had any questions, he should have addressed Bilic before and/or during the tournament.
Kranjcar played what two minutes in three games. Dude didnt make any comments about that or Bilic’ decision. I applaud him.
“Do you think Stimac will call him up for our friendly in August?”
Maybe to get him closer to 100 caps. Also, our defense is thin. I wouldnt be surprised by a Simunic call up. However, dude needs to retire from the national team. F*&k the 100 caps.
Personally I do not think that Big Joe did anything wrong as he did not create any tension within the camp and in the grand scheme of things what he says about Bilic after the fact does not amount to anything noteworthy.
1) criticizes Bilic for not including him on defense after our defense stunned the world.
Corluka and Scifo were pretty shaky in the first game and the first half of the second game. The second half of the Italy game and the third game speaks for itself.
2) criticizes Bilic’ strategy after our best tournament since WC98.
“Some” of what he had to say had merit. Is this a better tournament than Euro 2008? We were one second away from the semi-finals. We had a much tougher group this time around that is for sure.
“Dude is not putting in a good word for himself. Simunic couldn’t even hang in the HNL. You might make a point of starting him on the right side in place of Vida against Spain. But even then, that’s only one game. Vida at least has speed and youth going for him against a fast and young spanish offense.”
We did not need Joe in this tournament and Bilic knew this. Although if what Joe said was true about Bilic not saying anything to him in a two week period I find that to be a tad unethical. Not sure of the validity mind you.
“Simunic is another well past his prime player that doesnt know when to hang it up. Maybe he’s bitter that he will most likely leave the national team with 95 caps instead of 98 or how he thinks 100 since Croatia would have made the semis with him starting in the back.”
He is past his prime and he has seen better days.
Do you think Stimac will call him up for our friendly in August?
Like I said, Simunic is one of my favorite croatian players. I even have his croatian jersey and a game worn Simunic Hertha Berlin shirt sitting in my closet.($200 if anyone is interested haha). He is also entitled to his own opinion. This is true.
However, I am saying that he would have been smarter to keep his mouth shut.
1) criticizes Bilic for not including him on defense after our defense stunned the world.
2) criticizes Bilic’ strategy after our best tournament since WC98.
Dude is not putting in a good word for himself. Simunic couldnt even hang in the HNL. You might make a point of starting him on the right side in place of Vida against Spain. But even then, thats only one game. Vida at least has speed and youth going for him against a fast and young spanish offense.
Simunic is another well past his prime player that doesnt know when to hang it up. Maybe he’s bitter that he will most likely leave the national team with 95 caps instead of 98 or how he thinks 100 since Croatia would have made the semis with him starting in the back.
If you create a website called “CroatianXenophobesReport”, maybe ill pay it a visit and chat about my love of George Orwell.
Poglavnik: “Love ‘1984’ Might be my favourite book.”
That tells me all I need to know about you, your favorite book is one you got shit out of.
Modric is not going to Real Madrid I can say this with 100% certainty. He has a deal in place with Manchester United or Manchester City I am not sure of which one.
Poglavnik: “You’re shits just way too radical dude.”
What’s “too radical”? Please explain.
Bilic had the perfect game plan throughout this tournament other than the first half against Italy. He was pretty much spot on everywhere else and I definitely have no complaints. On top of that the players gave everything they had and they were great!
I just would have liked to have seen a more “there is no tomorrow” approach after we tie the Italians. Call me crazy and if I offend anyone I am sorry but that is what I would have liked to have seen and that is how I feel.
That does not diminish in anyway shape or form what Bilic did throughout this tournament or our players. He gets an A in my books.
I was proud of how we played in this tournament and we showed what we are capable of doing!
If we go to Brazil please count me in for the road trip.
This stuff from Simunic is no different than any other post-tournamnt reaction you get from guys who sat on the bench.
Anyone thinking Simunic deserved minutes at this tourney is blind and has not watched Joe play at all this season. He stole money from Dinamo.
Now, do some of Joe’s comments have merit. Maybe, but Bilic also knows his squad. One side can argue we should have attacked and had more balls, while others can point out that going all out against Spain will result in a 3-0 defeat. Using the approach we did gave us the best chance at winning.
“A little bit of luck and a few calls our way and Croatia is in the semifinals playing Portugal.”
Sorry Denis, you’re right on the money with that statement! Along with venting hangovers are not a good option either.
Simunic was a rock @ Euro 2008 and for our qualifying campaign for that tournament. The midfield we had in 2004 was garbage in front of him. Joe could be inconsistent in his play throughout the course of his career for certainty but that is not the point as he is talking about his experience at this tournament. His play previous or present are tangibles but the point is the interview more so I believe.
At least he waited until the tournament was done to say what he had to say about Bilic. As I said before it means nothing in the grand scheme of things as he is done and he knows it but he does have the right to publicly speak of his experience and give his opinions as such. It does not mean that we have to agree with what he has to say or take him seriously in anyway. Let him talk it means nothing at the end of the day. Why does he not have the right to say what is on his mind or criticize Bilic? He is allowed to criticize anyone if he pleases and that is how it should be. Right or wrong. In the same way we are allowed to voice our opinions on this website rightfully or wrongly. Theoretically Joe has more right than anyone as he was there and can comment with more relevance on the topic at hand.
If people have an issue with him venting than that is another story altogether as venting your anger is never a proper game plan or solution for anybody.
Bilic did one hell of a job with our team @ the Euros!
“If we went balls-out against Italy and Spain, we would have given up three goals in each game.”
That would have been suicide.
We should have showed a little more urgency for the second goal against Italy once we scored the tying goal. If we do this we would have capitalized on it I am sure. I am sorry for my persistence in this area, but I feel strongly that we should have. It would have been nice to have Olic available at that point of the game as well but that was not an option.
Bilic did a tremendous job to readjust going into the second half and we were in the driver’s seat after that. To be honest the game changed completely our way once Balotelli was substituted off the field. It’s my only marginally negative critique of his work during our time @ Euro 2012 and it does not hamper his overall grading. He gets a solid A for the job he did! His game plan for Spain was the exact template needed to play against them and we almost pulled it off but due to bad officiating or lack thereof it was not meant to be. I really do not know how anyone could say the officiating was good or fair when we played Spain? On top of that luck was not our friend in this tournament at all.
“A little bit of luck and a few calls our way and Croatia is in the semifinals playing Portugal.”
Croatia would hopefully be awaiting the victor between England and Spain or would be playing today against England with a little luck that I can whole heartedly agree with! When we played Italy and Spain it seemed like we were destined to figure this out and go through but it just never came to fruition.
I just really really hope we make the WC 2014 tournament as missing the last World Cup was just awful.
Sorry my friend, the urgency factor for the second goal against Italy has not left my cerebral hemisphere as of yet and I don’t think it ever will. Please don’t hold that against me.
Rakitic is one of our best players technically after Modric your basing his ball control and passing solely on the first 10 minutes against Spain
That should have read Libero…..:))
Simunic natural position is a Liberia, hence he would have positioned himself more appropriately than Corluka who is wing back naturally. You don’t win 95 caps for your country unless you have talent. Admittedly, he has slowed with age, but still he is je most technically gifted player in the team with a better soccer brain than anyone. This wa also echoed by the legendary Z Boban an R Prosinecki too…..
@ Kanga King
If Balotelli was always yards ahead of Corluka, then he would’ve been MILES ahead of Simunic.
No matter which way you slice it…Bilic not playing Simunic was the right move.
Fox has some kind of Masters-All Stars game on now. It looks like they are playing in a Hurricane.
And what about the Ivica Olic situation….Bilic also had no regard for him and his comments regarding Bilic, like Joe’s are justified too. Bilic was only concerned about his future plans coaching at club level…..
The interesting thing to note about the Simunic saga is that Bilic did not speak to him over a 2 week period. This is no way to treat a “vitez” of the squad(if in fact the allegation is true)
I think Joe will still play a part Under Stimac, as he usually build his foundations on a solid spine with experience
Agree with Nige. The only thing you forgot to mention was the situation with Corluka. Interesting how he ends up at Lokomotiv-conflict of interest???? Furthermore, he continually complained about playing left back…..so instead Bilic played him alongside schifo at CB-leaving Joe in the outer and forcing Strinic into left back. When you recall the Italy game Balotelli was always yards ahead of Charlie…..he looked like a goose at best of times. If people think Strinic had a good tournament, have a look at the lost ball statistics, and maybe ask perisic how much ground he covered when Strinic got caught out every time. Glad to see bilic go…
heres something hilarious:
Mark Cuban owning Skip Bayless
Great interview in the sportskenovosti with Josip Simunic. Although people may think Joe’s comments are bitter and twisted, he merely stated some facts and as a great servant for our country he should be respected and not ridiculed. For people with any soccer know how, the politics within Croatian football neglected Joe of a starting position in the first 11. Agents, who have Bilic in their pocket, influenced the decision making process in the selection of certain players, namely Strinic and Corluka, with the former only earning a call up due to his relationship with Bilic’s brother-acting as his agent or on behalf of his negotiations. Furthermore Bilic has self promoted himself throughout this campaign not having the team’s interests at heart. He should have been axed after his non qualification for the WC in 2010.
Perhaps I am still bitter, but I watched Australian Rugby today rather than the Euro match.
I think the game is starting to make sense to me.
I am/was a huge fan of big Joe Simunic. Dude was inconsistent for us as a CB, Euro 2004 coming to mind, but nevertheless had a good career for the repka.
His comments against Bilic were uncalled for. Simunic is a bitter old man that expected to start. However, he doesnt have a right to question Bilic especially after our defense’s performance.
Even though our defense performed well, they had plenty of help from our midfielders. Our defenders are slow. If we went balls-out against Italy and Spain, we would have given up three goals in each game.
Bilic made the mistake of letting the Italians control the midfield in the first half, but redeemed himself with a genius formation change and double substitution.
Bilic’ strategy against Spain was genius as well. Sit back patiently, awaiting the counters in the first half, frustrate the Spaniards and go into halftime with a 0-0 draw. Surprise the Spaniards by opening up halfway through the second half and go for the win.
Opening up against the Spaniards at the start of the game is a recipe for disaster.
Besides the first half against Italy, Bilic did wonders. A little bit of luck and a few calls our way and Croatia is in the semifinals playing Portugal.
At least I have next year’s Dinamo season to look forward to.
Your words hurt more than the splinters in my rear. I don’t go to your workplace and fuck with the BigGulp machine.
“Even if he had a decent game against the Turks, his blunders over the entire qualifying campaign nullifies that.
Simunic should really just shut his mouth and praise Bilic for continuing to call up a defender who hasn’t played professional football for three full years.”
Decent would be downplaying it as many reputable websites and football pundits considered Joe MOTM in the first Turkey game. As I said previously he is entitled to his opinion and he can make a better assessment of the situation than any of us here can. Whether I agree or disagree with his opinions of Slaven Bilic is completely a moot point. Personally I could care less if he has problems with Bilic or not. It means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
“I agree that maybe we should have attacked more, but this is Bilic’s style. He’s a safe coach. Who knows what would have happened if we opened up a bit more in the Italy and Spain matches. But this is all hindsight, and none of us would be talking about any of this if Rakitic hits that header or if Wolfgang actually calls any one of those two non-penalties.”
Once we score the tying goal against Italy we are in total control of the match and Italy scoring a second on us was a non-issue. If we get a second goal against Italy we are not talking about the Rakitic miss and Wolfgang being a horrible referee as it would have been redundant as we would have qualified already. You have to go for it as there is no turning back especially when you have all the momentum. To top it off we would have knocked Italy out of the tournament. Which would have been sweet times 1 billion! Italy did not take a sniff of our goal area from the time Mandzukic scores and onward. To not go for the jugular was wrong by all accounts and to equate the lack of urgency to score that goal to style would make me question Bilic’s philosophy and mentality towards winning.
All that being said I have nothing against the guy and I wish him all the best.
What exactly did he say that’s so great? He’s washed up, old, and bitter. Wooptie do.
AND, Jozo waiting for the tournament to END to open his mouth is more admirable than Bilic announcing he’s leaving the national team PRIOR to the start of EURO2012.
“Crazy” Jozo Simunic purportedly blasted the cult-figure Slaven Bilic. Deservedly so. Putting aside the fact that Jozo is all but washed-up, thank the Lord Jozo had the MUDA to tell the public what many are thinking or are afraid to say. Even if they do say it, they are drowned-out or ostracized by Bilic’s sycophants.
Bilic is basically ball-less, and “Crazy” Jozo has said it urbi et orbi.
God Bless You, Jozo! Your 95 caps speaks for themselves! ZA DOM SPREMNI!
Even if he had a decent game against the Turks, his blunders over the entire qualifying campaign nullifies that.
Simunic should really just shut his mouth and praise Bilic for continuing to call up a defender who hasn’t played professional football for three full years.
Bilic is loyal to a fault, and this is a typical example of what happens when you’re too loyal to your players. They take it as a weakness and they bite the hand that feeds.
I agree that maybe we should have attacked more, but this is Bilic’s style. He’s a safe coach. Who knows what would have happened if we opened up a bit more in the Italy and Spain matches. But this is all hindsight, and none of us would be talking about any of this if Rakitic hits that header or if Wolfgang actually calls any one of those two non-penalties.
What did we learn? Rakitic can play as good as he can sing the anthem. Modric is overrated. The team should play until the whistle is blown. How many last minute defeats and questionable offsides will it take for these retards to learn to play to the end?
Joe Simunic just read that article in SN and hes an ass if he played we would have lost to Ireland Italy and Spain.Moj Joe one thing he said good was that Bilic didnt have the brave heart go for the win vs Italy i agree with that if we beat those Zabari today we would have played France!
Dude, punctuation is your friend.
Stimac will fuck up i believe in that the Sammir saga has already started, the first thing i read is Will Stimac call Sammir, instead of will sifo be a call up, is Srna the permenant rb is Carli the cb will Strinic still be Lb will Kovacic be called will Vida turn into a dm,No i hear will Stimac call Sammir Jeben ti majku Mamic influence lets got Denis let get a Bojkot the Reprezenatacija if Sammir gets called up, and no one better mention Balotelli becaue Balotelli i itlaian he was born in palermo and raised it doesnt matter hes Black, Eduardo was pushing it but he is the only exception SAMMIR NIJE DAMIR CHAGO NIJE DRAGO I ETTO NIJE SJOR BEPO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just post the links my friend and I did not even bother to read it.
After reading the article some of what he had to say had merit. We definitely should have had more urgency to score that second goal against Italy and to a lesser degree against Spain. In regards to what he had to say about Bilic, I don’t pay much attention to it as he is bitter for not getting playing time and he is venting. That is his opinion and I guess he is entitled to it.
He was not done a few years ago as he was stellar against the Turks in the Euro 2012 playoff round. Especially the first game. His future does not bold well that is for certain.
@Mihovil… don’t you think “Skandal” is a bit of overstatement…? Joe was done a few years ago and was only on the bench for leadership reasons… and rightfully so.
@Vedran, nice article, although I’m not buying your praise of Strinic… yeah he played ok, and that was a nice cross to Mandzo for the goal against the Digice, but he also is very far from as good as we can be at that position. He’s quite the bad passer when you watch him live, and has horrible communication with Stipe. One of the main reasons that Stipe always plays the longball (with long odds of us retrieving it) is the fact that are wing backs are close to horrible with the ball. This is definitely an area we can improve with Stimac.
Skandal nakon EURA: Šimunić teško optužio Bilića!
Portugal vs Spain semi final is brutal. I’ll be happily working that day, I have zero interest in that game. England or Germany is all that’s left for me in terms of teams rooting for. England is going to run riot tomorrow hopefully.
VOTE FOR PEDRO
I dont know.
Can he grow a moustache?
Is Pedro, the player that just came in for Spain, the same Pedro from the movie Napoleon Dynamite?
Davor Suker is giving out the man of the match trophy after the game today.
Says he hopes Spain win and he gives it to a Spanish player.
Would love to see France win and Suker’s face if had to give a Frenchman the award.
How could any team leave Alonso alone like that with all that space?? I could have scored that. Just poor defense on France’s part. Hopefully they wake up in the second half and maybe end this Spain domination/UEFA love fest with them.
France had only one/two threatening chances against the
Spanish (free kick, and Casillas stumbled a bit with the possession). Not good enough with 40% possession.
But then, France are doing well with creating chances (more so than us, anyway).
But their defense is weaker than the Croatian defense against the Spanish. I don’t think Xabi Alonso would have a chance heading such an early goal against us.
1-0 Spain HT
Yeah screw the Greeks!
Well if the ref didnt see it, he would still have the help from the linesman who was in just as good a position to call it.
Might be my favourite book.
You’re shits just way too radical dude.
People dont come here for that.
all those challenges made by the Spanish would have definitely resulted in Croatian yellow’s -U-
Maybe Ante is trying to tell you to shut up…just sayin’
Of course. But this penalty, I believe, is pretty simple to call. However, whether the referee saw the foul may have been the reason he didn’t call it…
I’m not really angry at Spain or whether or not they “deserved” penalties based on how Croatia didn’t get them at all.
I blame the referees for that, and it’s only a mystery why only the Greeks received penalties, hehehe.
Well if u want to go by the book, and if you think ref’s are black or white when deciding these things then thats fine.
If that were the case there would be tons of penalties in this tournament including 2 in our last game.
There’s a huge grey area in the rules when calling fouls and penalties.
You know this…
@Poglavnik you took the words right outta my mouth, that’s all rakitic needed to do was head it down -U- and did you see all THE reffs in the tunnel before the game started shaking hands and high fiveing -U-
**I myself don’t believe it, but if I see a foul in the penalty box, I call a penalty, no matter how early the game has started off.
Many people here say that Spain is bound to go to the final by a “script.” Why hasn’t a penalty occurred then?
I myself don’t believe it, but if I see a foul in the penalty box, I call a penalty. That’s how it should be.
It is a penalty. Fabregas was trapped by the French defender’s HANDS and put him down to the ground. I didn’t see any intent by the French defender in trying to get the ball away. Fabregas was moving for the ball, and the Frenchie illegally pulled him down.
@ slovonac everyone seems to want to throw salt in rakitics wound. Anotherheader goal today. This time by Spain. more similar to rakitics chance then Ronaldo s.once again headed to the ground. …goal
I just dont see any intent?
Their feet just get caught a bit.
There’ve been 2 penalties this tourney. No way that should be the 3rd. The ref’s dont need to ruin a game that early. You’d have to have some real balls to call that one.
Textbook from Alonso.
All these well placed headers are starting to hurt my fucking heart…
How is this not a penalty?
So far, we do look better. But if it is a dodgy penalty, I’m surprised the scripted referee didn’t call it.
Thats no penalty! Especially after the shit they were allowed to get away with last game.
Notice Blanc using Bilic’s 5 mid, 1 striker formation.
I know Bilic isnt the first to that but like Srna said “We showed the other teams how to beat Spain, but we forgot about the referee.”
Too bad it looks like France cant string together 2 passes!
We looked way better!
Allez Les Bleus!!!
Spain didn’t get an early penalty!
Bummer for Fabregas.
Very good article Vedran.
I was one of the people that did not think Strinic had it in him against “quality” opposition but boy did he prove me wrong. He was solid defensively and that cross to Mandzukic against Italy was just awesome! I hope he does well going forward!
I am not completely sold on him yet but that is not the point as he was great in this tournament! He is going to be starting steady for us going forward and I wish him all the best!
“Anyone else notice how nicely Mandžukic tracks back and defends for a striker?”
He does track back nicely but in the first half against Italy he could have done a bit better job of tracking back on Pirlo in the firt half. We had the wrong formation in the first half and once it was adjusted for the second half he was fine but his tracking back skills still could have been a bit sharper in the first half. Please do not think I am picking on him as he was stellar in this tournament and hopefully he has a bright future ahead of him!
Luka Modric is a STUD! Period. The guy has nobody else to work with that has his capabilities. His vision, ability of taking players on one on one, and passing efficiency are just unreal. Even when he was double and triple teamed he found a way to get the job done. On top of that he has some wheels and a good burst of speed when he wants to use it. With Spain you have 4 guys that play like him and they are just unreal in the depth and talent department. Maybe we will see Modric and Kovacic in our midfield one day?? It will not be anytime soon but I really hope the kid pans out!
“Not playing Simunic a single minute was one of the best things Bilic did this tournament. We easily give up a penalty to Italy during that first half if Simunic was there instead of Scifo.”
It seemed to work out well as Corluka and Scifo really built some nice chemistry in the middle.
“Someone mentioned it when it happened, but Olic going down for the tournament was a blessing in disguise. No way does Mandzo start if Olic was available, and if you think Rakitic’s wide open miss against Spain drives you nuts, I think Ola would have done well to place himself in a good scoring position, but miss a sitter or two. I love the guy, but we don’t need him anymore. He picked a good time to retire.”
I am not sure who would have started if Olic was in the lineup? I will agree that it probably would not have been exactly the same as it turned out.
However, we needed one more goal against Italy to go to the next round and we needed one goal against Spain to get us to the next round and we could not find it in both instances. Nobody we have scores big goals in big games better than Olic. We really missed him off the bench as he would have literally drove Italy and Spain completely nuts and he would have been able to stick with Pirlo better in the first half of the Italy game. I realize that was a more of a formation issue but I still say that Olic would have been better suited to stick with Pirlo all things being equal. That guy could stick to Usain Bolt if you asked him to.
Does Stimac call upon Olic for the upcoming qualifiers? I would use him off the bench against the Serbs without hesitating if we needed him. If he retires I wish him all the best. For the record I think Stimac will give Olic a call. What happens after I am not sure?
“Believe it or not, but Lovren going down was also a blessing as well. He made lots of mistakes in qualifying (ie. Greece, Malta, Georgia) and never found his strike when playing for Cro. To his credit, he was mainly paired with Simunic in the back, so I’m hoping these breakdowns were moreso a result of that. Future core piece, definitely, but having a more stable Corluka and a surprisingly steady Scifo in this tournament was a huge benefit.”
I would really like to see Lovren step up in our future as he has quite the upswing from a potential perspective as he is 22 years old!
Marca: Levy i Perez idućeg tjedna o Modriću!
Ouch! I have feeling too you know.
Excellent post Ivica. You pretty much nailed it although I have hope for Lovern. He’s still young and he’s playing for a solid team so I think he has hope.
Olic is finished after that. I think someone posted a link but he’s got to go. If he sticks around, he’s just a nuisance at this point. Olic is a respectable striker and he deserves a round of applause, but he needs to be like Nico Kovac and let the young guys play the major games.
Simunic is another guy that has to go. He has no value anymore even if he’s considered the fourth choice as center back. I rather have Vida at center back at this point.
This tournament was a disappointment for me.
I have been practicing my Brogue for weeks in an effort to beat my personal best of three yellow cards in one match.
Additionally, Kelava borrowed my GPS and lost it. There goes $100 I will never see again.
Still don’t see what you you people see in Pletikosa…he made two great saves in the italy game…he’s still a bum
News out of Spain has said that Modric has agreed to sign with Real Mardid
Not playing Simunic a single minute was one of the best things Bilic did this tournament. We easily give up a penalty to Italy during that first half if Simunic was there instead of Scifo.
Someone mentioned it when it happened, but Olic going down for the tournament was a blessing in disguise. No way does Mandzo start if Olic was available, and if you think Rakitic’s wide open miss against Spain drives you nuts, I think Ola would have done well to place himself in a good scoring position, but miss a sitter or two. I love the guy, but we don’t need him anymore. He picked a good time to retire.
Believe it or not, but Lovren going down was also a blessing as well. He made lots of mistakes in qualifying (ie. Greece, Malta, Georgia) and never found his strike when playing for Cro. To his credit, he was mainly paired with Simunic in the back, so I’m hoping these breakdowns were moreso a result of that. Future core piece, definitely, but having a more stable Corluka and a surprisingly steady Scifo in this tournament was a huge benefit.
That is one of a myriad of reasons we lost, but certainly not the main one.
This is all opinion based, so my opinion might be about as awesome as Jerry Sandusky’s defense was. However, I write this for fun, not to achieve journalistic excellence.
Thank you Mainzfeldski!
I really don’t think Rakitic missed a seater.
If it was a seater, many comments would go, “OMG RAKITIC SUCKS, HOW IS THIS A GOOD SAVE?”
Instead, I see either, “Nice save by Casillas!” or “Awesome cross from Modric!”
Rakitic had a bit of work to do, just like when Jelavic scored his first goal for Everton against the Spurs (different situation, but Jelavic had to carefully hit the ball to edge out Friedel’s stretch).
Rakitic was nearing close to Casillas, and Casillas was well aware what Rakitic was about to do. I read a quote by him:
Casillas added: “Fortunately, I was running to the ball, [and] in the good place, and I could stop his header. I was feeling good tonight. And I left the pitch with happiness.” (goal.com source)
If Rakitic was able to head the ball to the ground, who knows if it will succeed? Could Casillas read him? Who knows. IMO, CR7’s header was easier in his situation.
Rakitic did not have an awesome tournament, but it was not a horrible one.
Great article Vedran Cavara.
Joe was last seen sitting on the bench, smoking a pack of cigs with Bilic.
After Croatia was eliminated, Joe opened a bar with Vlade Divac called “Pusi Mo Nesto”.
Hey what about me?
Furthermore, this is a review of Croatia’s performance and not of Spain’s. If you’d like to present a rebuttal and flip out some more, please feel free. The vast majority of people feel we were had done by and should have won the game. However, I do not argue this point for Croatia at all, I am making statements based off my own observations of Croatia’s performance in this tournament.
Explain to me exactly how I make it sound like Spain had no chances?
I said we should have won the game and Rakitic missed a sitter. I never credited nor discredited Spain. I said we should have won it based on the fact that we hung with them.
Please read next time before you start flipping out like a Croat in a drunken rage.
ffsake , rakitic had his header in the 60 min, if i hear another person say ” we shld have won the game if rakitic score ” i’ll go insane, you make it sound like spain wld have had no chances aftrer that, . absolutely no fucking idea about soccer, spain shld have won that game 3-1 . …
Thanks boys. Good fight, good night.
Not a problem Vedrane
Any one else that would like to write a piece in the future or join the team, please do not hesitate contacting us: email@example.com
Nice piece Vedran!
I really don’t have anything to add or disagree with you on.
Thanks for putting this up Ante.