Separating the beautiful game from politics can be challenging. Between 2012-2013, I stopped watching the sport and closely following the national team. Former manager Igor Stimac changed the formation for every qualifying match. Inserting Sammir into the squad was an insult. The inclusion of Davor Suker as president only increased poor morale surrounding a once-exciting Croatia team.
After nearly defeating Italy and Spain at Euro 2012, they looked disorganized and uninspired one year later. There were plenty of other things that agitated me about the sport from clubs spending absurd amounts of money on recruitment to players diving for advantages. After my family introduced me to this amazing sport in 2006, I viewed everything from a negative and pessimistic mindset.
Eventually, it was time to put everything aside and focus my attention on world-class players competing at the highest level. When it comes to sporting events, nothing comes close to World and Euro Cup. Countries come together supporting the best players representing their nationality. When I went to San Pedro for the 2014 World Cup’s opening match between Croatia and Brazil, my passion was revitalized.
I always promised to visit my good friends and CroatianSports.com co-founders Denis Svircic and Ante Kvartuc in their hometown. To watch Croatia on such a massive stage with 200 Croatians at St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church was surreal. Nobody will forget the outrageous officiating that essentially cost Croatia’s chance at earning a valuable point. At the same time, they played their hearts out. Combine that with the loud atmosphere on a Thursday afternoon in California and everything felt positive again. This experience helped me truly realize the joy of being with fellow Croatians and appreciating what this sport offers on the grandest stage.
It’s impossible to ignore the political corruption and trouble surrounding Croatia’s football federation. The list is endless with Zdravko Mamic’s record, favoritism towards Dinamo Zagreb, and major crowd incidents being caused at matches. Monday’s game against Turkey is a prime example, as it will be played behind closed doors. Despite all the controversy, Croatia managed to overcome the drama and put together several outstanding performances at Euro 2016.
After a mostly underwhelming qualifying campaign, there were major concerns about them attaining small expectations such as making it out of the group. A difficult group on paper increased those odds. Croatia smashed those concerns and played better than any country during the group stage. With the usual powerhouses failing to make any major impressions, the Vatreni were producing eye-opening performances. It opened my eyes about being a loyal supporter.
You always want to show pride and support the national team. Euro 2016 reminded me of why I love watching Croatia more than any other of my favorite American teams. The players are incredibly talented and showed tremendous unity during a difficult time. When Luka Modric is fit, he is arguably the best central midfielder in the world. Vedran Corluka bled like a stuffed pig and refused to be subbed out. Alongside oft-criticized captain Darijo Srna, who performed valiantly following his father’s death, Corluka’s experience proved to be massive in difficult circumstances against Czech Republic and Spain.
Ivan Perisic’s relentless motor and technical brilliance is unbelievable. The speedy winger brings an element that Croatia hasn’t had in over a decade. A fearless winger, who can take on defenders and deliver a perfect final ball. Solid contributions from Milan Badelj and Ivan Strinic were crucial, as they covered up previous flaws in the starting eleven. Everything culminated into Croatia emphatically winning a tough group, despite enduring crowd trouble and possible exclusion from the tournament. Beating Turkey and Spain were proud moments based on being eliminated in devastating fashion by both sides in the past two European Championships.
The journey did end in bitter fashion. A well-organized Portugal team mustered one successful counter attack. The most talented Croatia side since 1998 suffered another cruel exit from a major tournament. While some pundits and fans remain critical of their conservativeness from that match, this tournament brought some much-needed stability back to Croatia. Ante Cacic went from a widely criticized figure to quietly developing into a player’s coach. His laid back approach suited the current crop of players. His starting lineups were excellent for the most part. Although his failure to make in-game adjustments played a role in Croatia’s demise, he did far better than previous manager Niko Kovac, who essentially lost the locker room during qualifiers. Cacic recalled Strinic to fill a gaping void at left back, along with utilizing Badelj as a holding midfielder to protect the back four and allow Modric more freedom.
There is no denying that problems are still lingering. Anything is possible with Mamic and Suker remaining as the most powerful men in Croatian football. Cacic’s inability to make timely substitutions is concerning. Between Mario Mandzukic struggling to score goals and Nikola Kalinic’s inconsistency, the lone striker options aren’t inspiring much confidence. Hopefully, a solution can be found within the next two years regarding each issue.
Euro 2016 will hopefully be the launching pad towards playing more consistently. The national team hasn’t managed a successful qualifying campaign without any major hiccups since Euro 2008. With talented young players such as Marko Pjaca and Marko Rog, Croatia’s squad looks as good as ever. It’s hard not to salivate about the current and future generation playing together. As much as this sport can be marred by off-field misfortunes, a successful entertaining on-field product is a great solution. Between Modric’s volley against Turkey and Perisic’s winner against Spain, these are unforgettable moments that should be admired. The memorable performances were rewarded with over 2,000 fans showing up in Zagreb to welcome the national team home. Heartwarming moments like that makes me more invested than ever going into what should be a fascinating World Cup qualifying campaign.
A cro canada friendly could happen. However, chances are slim under these bandits that run the hns.
Well said Peter, I seen it the same way.
Portugal dominated Hungary and Hungary still scored 3 goals.
We “dominated” Portugal and couldn’t score a goal.
This team was not as good as some of the players thought they were.
Well said BZ. We were the better side. Just unlucky. And of course cacic should have used his bench….
Peter-We lost but dominated in all the stats that best indicate a superior team. ..
3 times as many corners.(6-2)
Almost 3x more shots (17-6)
Almost double the crosses (37-20)
Chances created (14-4)
Only key stat Portugal beat us on was 2 non-carded stomps to 0 for Croatia.
Thanks for the reply Denis. I heard something like that about Hajduk many a time lol. I don’t get it. Rabid fan support, great stadium, but losing to garbage bottom tier euro opposition consistently.
Re: the money I figure a few hundred from this guy a few hundred from that guy and you have a few hundred thousand to table. I shy away from the politics and I did meet Suker in Toronto but if a reasonable deal could be worked out re: appearance money and who was paying and what the savez would get out of it beyond money would be a worthwhile thing to do I believe. Also Canada’s mens national team has improved a bit lately (minus a 2-1 loss to Honduras a few days ago which prob eliminated them from Russia) so a match between Canada and Cro would be decent. To me it makes perfect sense to get the HNS to fly to NA and play Canada and the US during a friendly break.
@ T Bone,
“Disappointed that you guys didn’t do a feature on the honoring of the Toronto Metros Croatia team last TFC game at BMO. You guys have been running this site for years and don’t have a single Toronto based correspondent out of about a 70,000 strong Croatian community? Typical Hrvati lol.”
We are always accepting applications for new writers.
“Also I know you guys mentioned something about trying to get the HNS to come to North America. Given where you guys stand with Mamic and Suker I doubt you care whether Cro ever comes to North America but where do you guys stand currently and what is holding such an appearance back.”
No chance in hell I work with Suker and Mamic. I tried bringing Hajduk on a MLS tour five years ago. Lets just say that a McDonalds assistant manager could do a better job at running Hajduk.
“If money is an issue I’d pony up a few hundred toward to getting Hrvatska to play Canada at BMO field in Toronto.”
If it was only that easy.
Btw anyone seen that film “dawn of the planet of the apes” ? I loved it, first good film I seen in a while, took my kids to see BFG at the cinema today as well. Terrible, my daughter loved it she was all smiling as we left the cinema, I wished she hadn’t asked me but she did, and I can’t lie to my kids “daddy did you like it?” What do you say in that situation? ” it was a pile of horsecrap baby….”
Game on sportsnet 360 in Canada
BZ – did you actually watch the game? What did the stats say, Croatia dominated possession? Who cares, what did they do with it that was productive? nothing.
How many shots on target did they have the entire game? Maybe one and that was after Portugal scored late on. It was a listless game where both sides played conservative football.
Statistics never tell the full story.
What happened to you? You turn injun?
sorry I cannot reveal my true identity. the situation is too hot right now
if you are asking about what I’ve been up to, I’ve spent some time in frances for the euros and then was in lijepa nasa for sometime…. lijepa nasa is a reference to Croatia for those diaspora hrvati… and a hrvat is a Croatian….in addition, to say multiple croats rather than just 1, you add an I….so it would be hrvat-i rather than hrvat….. after my experiences at the bars in Croatia with the diaspora I have learned I really need to increase my educational efforts
Yeah just watched the kids goals against st Vincent. He’s good. Cold as ice
I’ll have to watch more of pulisic, sounds like he’s very good, but at the end of the day once he chooses not to represent hrvatska I have no more interest in him than any other young player from around the world. I appreciate that for US hrvati it represents a nice moment to have him become a top player for MNT. Just for you guys, I will keep an eye on him and wish him the best
Bog I hrvati
PS I hope fabian benko chooses to represent us, he’s a great talent too. Maybe he will want to play for cacic and suker/ mamic…. Lol
@the truth, ok now you’ve mentioned ordering drinks, I know it must be you, where have you been?
True about St. V.
But the kid is the goods and with a crew like Croatia would have slotted right in and flourished for 10 years. All good as he will bank millions in endorsements as soccer grows in the US. I am waiting to buy my son a #10 USMNT jersey for him to compliment his Modric one.
We gave you a pass on the Luka “the bust” Modric saga.
How about Pulisic becoming world class?
Very easy to be NEGATIVNA.
We know what Istina means. Thank you Ziva Istina.
At least now you aren’t trying to lightly mask your writing style.
Pulisic is a talent, but St Vincent is weak opposition.
I could bet with you but I’d run up on some issues
1) i already placed a bet with my bookie for Croatia to win. I’d be too conflicted
2) what if you won?! What would the site do without me here to draw viewers and to educate people on how to be a proper domoljub
I returned from summer time in lijepa nasa and am more convinced Than ever of how much help the diaspora needs My help in being proper hrvats…. That is Croatians for some of you
So much butchering of drink orders being done.
It’s not an easy job to educate some of you but it’s the kriz i must bear….
For those of you into clues and mystery and from the diaspora…istina in Croatian means truth
Croatian history shows were best as underdogs both conflict and sports- we win all are against us- need to get back to all are against us and we’re the bad boys- love to see Siminic take an expanded role
…futhermore with Pjaca on the other side (as opposed to Brozo) Perisic will definitely get more striker like chances.
Soul Champ-True Perisic would probably be our best striker, imho he is way too good on the ball to have him await deeper service. On the wing, he gets more touches; and everything he touches turns to gold nowadays.
Jedvaj played some time at LB a year ago, but I think it was just some spot minutes here and there.
Pivaric is a decent stop gap, but he’s not a natural talent. Vida has also played there. He won’t give you any of the offensive output expected from a LB, but he’s played there.
The only other option would be trying to poach Jeremy Toljan from Germany. But we’re probably a distant 2nd choice for him behind Germany.
I’d try Jedvaj there in a friendly to see how it works out.
Agreed we have more “talent” then ever.
Pulisic is more advanced character wise than 90% of all of our players and is right there at the top with his speed and technical ability.
The US has it issues AND was there with Gerrmany for Oluja.
The roughly 1 million US Hrvati have thrived here and continue to support our families in Hrvatska.
Pulisic will become a world class player.
At present we have Modric, Rakitic who are hands down world class with Perisic right there.
Bilić recruited Rakitic.
Who in HNS can attract the world class potential players across the globe?
The conversation is in the context of winning a World Cup.
There needs to be a vision for Croatia that transcends being the best of the Balkans and is centered on becoming ELITE.
We are a nation of people who live all over the planet.
This site is part of a movement to unite us all!
Bog i Hrvati
@soul champ, we don’t need pulisik. US can keep him, we have plenty of talent now in the attacking third. Brekalo, halilovic, coric, rakitic, perisic, lovren, pjaca…what is so special about pulisik? He’s American? So what. US sucks satans cock long time. Anyone who regards themselves as an American rather than a croat can kiss my ass 😉
Perišić IS our best striker.
Perišić can be the Croatian version of Lewandowski.
What would the attack look like with a full service attacking forward, who can run all over the channels, take on defenders and score from every where AND put in headers.
We need to take the next step in generating goals.
Perišić is our best goal scoring attacker.
Now we have Pjaca coming of age and host of attacking wingers in the pipeline – Brekalo, Halilovic, younger Lovren …
Pulisic … Oh wait ?
I remember back in the day on this site when all the cynical self hating American Hrvati said there would never be an American Hrvat good enough to play for the vatreni.
I sited Rossi has breaking that paradigm.
Ironic how Pulisic is growing into that classic #10 role that both Hrvatska has not had in 20 years and US has maybe ever had.
Now I know the family made the best decision to go with JURGEN KLINSMAN and not Moe, Larry and Curly.
But Pulisic could have helped us this past summer and sure as hell could help us going forward.
Not since the likes of Boban, Prosinecki have we had the real attacking #10.
Pulisic would have probably been cut by Hajduk and screwed by Dinamo when the father would have refused to sign his son’s soul away for proper soccer development.
If HNS was organized like Germany you would have every top Dijaspora Hrvat under the flag and winning World Cups!
We need a decent left back, I’d prefer to see jedvaj and vrsaljko compete at RB for now, eventually jedvaj will move to the centre and vrsaljko will get 5-6 solid years as first choice RB. Shame pivaric is injured again. Maybe Vida can go play on the left if lovren plays well? Don’t trust strinic too much, definite weak link. I don’t think it’s fair on vrsaljko to play LB now that srna has retired, let him prove that he is our best RB above jedvaj….
Would not complain if the team Crnkovic has picked took the field!
Henceforth I would like to see Vrsaljko starting even if it has to be at left back, he’s waited long enough to be a regular starter for the national team, and it’s not like Strinic ever plays for Napoli.
@laknat, good teams
@coco the monkey, our teams are very similar…
Kalinic; jedvaj, corluka, lovren, strinic; brozovic, rakitic, modric, perisic; kramaric, pjaca would be my line up to start, vrsaljko has not found his feet at atletico yet and ultimately I think jedvaj is a better player, enough of the beanpole strikers as well, time to start playing some skillful striker who can actually get involved in the game and have some pace to to threaten the opposition defence….. 😉
Holding midfielder. It’s the only position that we don’t seem to have a natural fit for. Pasalic is strong and a good all around midfield player, but he likes to be on the move with the ball like all our other midfielders. Ultimately he’s another number 8 rather than a genuine holding/pivot player. What busquets has shown at barcelona, and the likes of makelele previously, is that one of the most important qualities for a holding player is the ability to move the ball on efficiently and quickly without using up space by moving with the ball. Rog has the aggression, the stamina and the defensive ability to play as a defensive midfielder but again he loves to drive forward with the ball. Radosevic is a true holding midfielder but his career has stalled. Yes I think tin jedvaj would be capable of becoming a top holding midfielder, but he hasn’t hadn’t any game time there. In terms of formation, another advantage to playing the 442 is that you don’t use a pivot or holding midfielder,you just need 2 intelligent, capable all around midfielders who fill the responsibilities as they arise in the game. We have about 10 players good enough to do that. So we should play 442. Like BZ said….
No problem. We’ve got Kalinic.
Kalinic injured too?
No problem. We’ve got Vargic.
Vargic too bald, and sunburned his head in Turkey?
No problem. We’ve got Josip Posavec.
…Seriously, where were these guys back in the day when we had Butina kicking balls out of bounds every time he took a goal kick?
Re: your comment…
“Anyone have thoughts on who could fill the holding mid role that Badelj played in the Euros?”
I’m hoping that Mario Pasalic can fit into this role. He’s bigger and stronger than Badelj, he plays the pivot, and has succeeded at securing a starting spot in both loan spells that he’s been given (Elche, Monaco) despite being under 20 years of age and a lot younger than everyone on either of those teams.
Now he’s at AC Milan. It’s a dysfunctional team, but I’m hoping he continues his development and secures another starting gig there, and most importantly, stays healthy.
I think if he wasn’t injured, he probably would have gotten some time in place of Badelj in this past tournament (last few minutes of the game of course, Cacinjo style).
@peter north-I said it, and the stats back it up. Check out the stats on that game & you might just blow a huge wad!
I will lullaby you with this starting lines up.
don’t you think we need agile players and optimized the formation like kovacic and jedvaj that can piercing with their speed thorough Turks obstacle 😉
That’s a good team!
LAKnat – good thing you’re not the coach. Subasic is hurt. Kovacic has in no way earned a start- he actually looked completely lost in the recent playing time he had. Perisic is a wing player, not a forward. Are you playing Jedvaj as a defensive/holding MF? He doesn’t play this position and, if not, who is the holding MF there?
Someone in a post above said Croatia dominated the Euro champs, get real and take you’re rose coloured homer glasses off. That was one of the worst games of the tournament, neither side took the hammer and dominated any part of that match.
I don’t like to look back but rather look forward, but that comment made me chuckle.
Subasic injured I heard.
We could play third stringers and get a result.
Disappointed that you guys didn’t do a feature on the honoring of the Toronto Metros Croatia team last TFC game at BMO. You guys have been running this site for years and don’t have a single Toronto based correspondent out of about a 70,000 strong Croatian community? Typical Hrvati lol.
Also I know you guys mentioned something about trying to get the HNS to come to North America. Given where you guys stand with Mamic and Suker I doubt you care whether Cro ever comes to North America but where do you guys stand currently and what is holding such an appearance back. If money is an issue I’d pony up a few hundred toward to getting Hrvatska to play Canada at BMO field in Toronto.
professor LAknat always right ->
this formation will bring us to victory
stupid Cacic won’t listen to me and
let his stubbornness ruins the team..
Just ignore truth aka ziva istina…the goof will eventually got away.
No wonder Atlanta fans have that rep. 😉
Anyone have thoughts on who could fill the holding mid role that Badelj played in the Euros? Could Rog or Jedvaj do it with time? I have not seem enough of them to know, but Badelj kind of stood out as a weak link this Summer.
I too am praying Cacic can make a second half tactical shift and bring on all 3 subs to make a positive impact.
Looking forward to:
1-Modric being captain.
3-What Cacic does in the second half ?
If Cacic saves all his subs for the last five minutes I give up on the guy. I’m hoping he learns from his past mistakes.
I’m not confident in him, but our options seem very limited since we don’t have the cash for a coach who is at the level of the players.
Demanding Croatia to get thrown out of the Euros? Why would I write about the team, if I wanted them out of a major tournament? That makes zero sense. Poor try.
Shame on me for wanting to enjoy a parade in my home city. That Giants-Falcons game was soooooo competitive (they lost 27-2 in humiliating fashion, I paid 270 bucks to see that live). It was also during the first round in the playoffs. Falcons couldn’t have been played worse. Happy for the Giants.
The Truth is Ziva Istina, Although better translation is Real Truth….he just cannot stay away.
Also the same Allen that was at the Giants Super Bowl parade after they knocked out his beloved Falcons.
Hey, Truth…Ok–I’ll bet the “overhyped” nickname infested Croatia squad beats Turkey. If I win, you can never post here again, If I lose, I can never post again.
The truth trying to sound like Ziva is like Hillary trying to sound like Obama…why aspire to such low levels?
Cro gets 3 points. Perisic winner.
Wasn’t this the same Allen Strk that was horrified about the flare incident at the czech game and was demanding Croatia get thrown out of the EURO? LOL. What a donkey.
All of you that are talking about corruption in Cro make me laugh. Look at the wider world, World War 3 is ongoing and no one says shit. And somehow Mamic and Suker are Sith lords corrupting everything. Come on wake up and smell the coffee. There’s bigger and more affecting things that you should be concerned about.
If you’re from Croatia or raised in the diaspora and like or love soccer/football you should be proud of the Croatian NT and if your not your not, period.
Shall we take wagers for this game?…. Here is my list
1) mandzukshit scores a tap in goal
2) kranjcar eats a big Mac wondering what happened to his career
3) chode-luka contracts an std before game time
Thanks man, appreciate it 😀
Nice pic! You 2 look happy.
THIS is a toned down Iggy?!
I couldn’t tell..
here’s a pic of me and wifey from recent wedding:
no kids on the way yet, but yeah kinda more happy than usual with my Cali girl 😀
@Iggy- I agree with Soil Champ, we like the new you. Do you have a little one on the way or something?
Full enthusiasm sans Australian profanity ?
I see the married life is settling you down.
Well done my Croatian homie from down under.
He cost us the Euro’s, face the facts.
1. Plays the same formation Kovač used.
2. Does not make subs even with a deep bench.
3. Plays Mandzokurać, who has been out of form for 4 yrs.
4. Mamič puppet. Plays players who have not earned the right to play on the senior team only to boost there transfer fee.
I’ve been following Croatia since the 2014 World Cup and I must say, this Croatian team can do fairly decent. Modrić, Rakitić, Ćorluka and Subašić still have a tournament or two left in them and plenty of other younger players can go further. And as corrupt and manipulated as Croatian football is, Croatia played brilliantly though the controversy. And with Lovren back in the squad. Things can only get better from here.
Well said Soul Champ
I for one cannot wait for this game.. im super eager to get this new qualy campaign going and to look forward to Russia in 2 years.. Zivjela Hrvatska !
Nearly time for some Turk-smashing, fellas ! 😀
His resume sucks, but it’s better than the resume of our past three coaches.
Not saying he should be coach, but until we commit to dropping big money on a coach, Cacic is the best you’re gonna get for $250K per year.
Čačič is going to ruin this team…..why do people still defend this guy? Look st his resume.
Not sure why everyone is always so concerned against Turkey.
We’ve played them like half a dozen times and, even though the final scorelines seem to be close, the games never have been. We’ve utterly dominated them when it comes to possession and scoring chances. It’s never even close.
They’ve only ever scored once against us in all those games, and it was that fluke hail Mary goal that they scored to tie us at Euro 2008 (the guy even had his eyes closed).
We are such a bad matchup for the Turks because whatever strengths they have, we top them in all of them. They’ve succeeded in tournaments by playing weaker teams physical, and they can’t do that against us. I would be surprised if Turkey scored on us in either game. We’re getting a minimum 4 points against them in these qualifiers, and that’s assuming one of the scorelines is 0-0.
Ps Subasic out, Rakitic probably in.
Although we outplayed Turkey this past summer, we only won 1-0 on, as Iggy noted, one of the best goals ever scored by a Croatian international.
I hope the sting of the loss to Portugal is still there. I want them looking for blood.
I also think our guys finally realize that they belong. They dominated the eventual Euro Champs. Knowing this, I hope they play with a superiority complex, rather than the usual inferiority complex.
Hnns soccer tourney this weekend boys if anyone is in Kitchener area maybe go check it out. Surprised this site hasn’t made their way to report on the festivities considering its one of the most decorated and celebrated soccer tournaments in North America
We have seen many a national side look like sranje the last couple of years: Holland comes to mind and the rest of former Jugo didn’t even make the Euro’s.
There was a time when I was nervous about the viability of Croatian football. With the lack of infrastructure we could of gone into a mediocre malaise like our Baksetball program did for 20 years until this past summer run.
I am aware, like most, of all the Mickey Mouse clowns who are involved with HNS.
But when our Vatreni suit up and compete for nasa država then we are truly ONE people united round the world.
Plus we have a handful of transcendent players who produce moments of magic.
Yes Čačića is limited but with Modric at the peak of his powers, the leadership will come from within the squad and manifest out on the pitch.
ok guys lets hear your predicted line ups?
i would have liked to seen that forward lineup for part of the game vs portugal… i think kramaric could have had some open space with mandzu doing his thing and pjaca for the fact he would have put some fear on that wing with portugal
even if he isn’t as good as some think he will be. he would have had that portugal side a bit worried cause of just the hype from the spain game
live and learn
i like that line up BZ
We all understand Mandzukic’s limitations, but he is still world class at 2 things:
1-winning balls in the air
2-pressing D, might be best defensive striker I have ever seen.
Madzo is definitely in decline, but his overall workload still merits a starting position.
Where is ziva?
Well, no, the answer is because Mario Pasalic was injured for like 6 months and Alen Halilovic can be a total prick to the point where every coach on every team he’s played for has had problems with him.
But, sure, whatever. Mamic je kriv, etc.
Although Spain were former champions, they really did not have a good showing, nor did Turkey for that matter.
With respect to your analysis about Cacic, don’t forget that he has only coached 6 “meaningful” games, not including friendlies. He did not have a set lineup coming into the Euros and was even tinkering with a 3-5-2 lineup, which Ciro used to use, and looked to be disastrous.
He changed the lineup with Spain by adding Pjaca, Rog (who did not deserve the nod and, despite what some may say, he did not play well), Kalinic, and Vrsaljko.
Mandzukic was obviously not in form and Kalinic should have definitely have gotten the nod ahead of Mario.
He clearly does not make tactical changes during the game, when need be. He was unable to calm down the players during the flare incident against the Czech republic (we were extremely fortunate to pull out a draw). He came out with the wrong tactics and lineup against Portugal.
Cacic is not the quality manager with a team as talented as this. I would love to see what a proven world class manager could do wirh one of the most takented squads in the world. Of course, that would mean actually spending money, which Mamic and Suker would never approve of. After all, that’s their personal fund.
By the way, don’t you think Halilovic deserves a call up? How about Mario Pasalic? Why Rog or Duje Cop or Caleta Car over either of these? The answer is that the former mentioned playerd are not under the Mamic umbrella. It’s quite obvious that Cacic is just a puppet and ia directed to select the players on the squad.
You think Croatia is world class!?. Ha! More like world ass!
We have one difference make in modric that can only make a difference with greatPlayers around him, which we don’t have.
And then there is perisic….a one man wrecking crew
Do you realize that without perisic this team would’ve never qualified for euros!? And in the euros they would not have advanced from the group without him.
There is no good football being played here. Just perisic individual performance
Agreed. Most refreshing thing about the next generation is the amount of wingers emerging as potential starters. Still recovering from watching Olic try to do stepovers and wasting opportunities. Credit to him for retiring before Euros.
That’s the spirit. I’m very excited about Monday’s match. Croatia-Turkey will always be a big matchup to me. Also, love that the game falls on an American holiday. Perfect timing.
In a pretty forgettable tournament as a whole, Croatia impressed everyone with their style of play. Hearing pundits and friends say that Croatia might be the best team in Europe was incredible. As someone who watches the Atlanta Falcons weekly and been a long-time St. John’s Red Storm fan, I’m not used to a favorite team of mine being ranked amongst the elite.
I will always support Croatia, especially now that I love soccer/football again. 80 percent of my family is from there (mom was born in Melbourne).
While I agree with your message about getting rid of the mafia, I couldn’t disagree more about the OK showing. Beating the former champions (Spain) and potential sleeper according to analysts (Turkey) was impressive, especially by how they did it. Cacic doesn’t deserve to be manager, but at least his starting lineups made sense. He wasn’t tinkering with the formation every game like Stimac. He actually used a defensive midfielder (Badelj) instead of forcing Brozovic there, who clearly isn’t that type of player. Also, finally got Pranjic out of the squad and brought back a suitable replacement in Strinic. Kovac was a major letdown as manager. When it came to making decisions about the squad, it’s hard to dispute Cacic’s decisions. The Lovren fiasco is finally over, which should be viewed as a positive. He played the players that deserved to be in there minus Lovren. Now when it comes to substitutions and in-game adjustments, he is a liability. Not bringing on Kalinic and Pjaca earlier for Manzo and Brozovic will always have people wondering what if.
Only praise Cacic deserves is organizing a logical starting lineup and having the locker room behind him (for now). For the first time since Bilic was in charge, morale seemed high. Buy into the hype if you want. Will see how qualifiers I go. All I know is that they are capable of playing with any team on their day. Now can they stay inspired? Monday should be a good test.
Just enjoy our footy boys!
We are world class at it despite the corruption that will most likely never cease.
The corruption within the country needs to be handled before anything to do with football gets resolved.
At least we didn’t bow out to Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey or Australia this time. We could’ve had the run Portugal had but I’m sure most would find something to complain about if we won the way Portugal did.
I’m sorry, Allen – but I have to disagree with you. You begin this article by pointing out, correctly, the problems and corruption of Croatian football.
However, you then go on to say that you began rooting harder for the team due to their performance. What if Croatia did not perform well in the group stages? Would you still not root for them?
The fact of the matter is that this was NOT a good showing by Croatia in the Euro Cup. In fact, it was a failure. Croatia had failed to, once again, win a match in the knockout round. This is due to the corruption of Croatian football – i.e. Croatia’s inept manager (Ante Cacic) who was completely outcoached against Portugal. Croatia had the talent and the path to make it to the finals and they lost – bottom line.
The players won 2 matches and drew another despite Cacic, not because of him. What has Cacic done to earn the spot as manager of Croatia and what has he done to earn any praise now? The answer is NOTHING. Cacic’s biggest accomplishment was coaching Dinamo Zagreb and was sacked by Mamic. He was coaching Lokomotiva! when selected to head a once holy national side. A puppet to do Mamic’s bidding.
In sum, don’t buy the hype because of an ok showing at the Euro. Cacic will mishandle the team during these qualifiers and then where will you be? Back to square 1. Don’t give up the fight – We have to get rid of this Mafia from Croatian football!!!!
Good for Kaep!
Off topic, but I feel I have to share….
All of you must have heard the Colin Caperneak(however you spell his adopted name) controversy by now. Here is a letter to him by a retired police officer…
Suker and company taking away media passes for sportske Novosti claiming that they were “spying” at the team hotel and training grounds.
If you ask them, they would prefer the games playing behind closed doors and without media so they can continue this shit show.
Good job Allen!
Iggy, we just can’t count on Cilic being consistent. And losing easily to Sock is sad. Sock has a horrible backhand. He should have lost to an 18 year old in the first round.
As for the comments above about Mandzukic, exactly how does he help? He has been an absolute liability since Euro 2012. One goal in the last qualifying, and that goal was only because Italy just had a clear goal called back and was too busy arguing and Croatia came down the field with Mandzukic tapping it in from 5 yards. In the same game, he missed a penalty shot and gave a penalty with a hand ball. And there’s the red card in the playoff with Iceland.
Please keep him off the field. When I saw him starting against Portugal, I just cringed.
Wtf.. Cilic got smashed by Sock, again.. can he not play that guy or something? fucking shithouse
If Livaja gets his shit together with Las Palmas, who is actually an exciting team to watch thus far, that would be huge for our national team.
Aside from offense, does anybody have any idea who we would be looking to fill positions in the back four once Corluka and Schilde leave?
I agree with you. Mandzukic will help us through qualification, but it would be great to see Kramaric continue to improve and lead the line within the next 2 years.
I also want to see our defenders develop. If Lovren can become a bit more consistent and Vrsaljko/Jedvaj continue on their trajectory we’ll have a great top to bottom squad.
Actually looking forward to playing behind closed doors. Sucks for the proper fans but it’s one less thing to worry about.
Well written Allen! I am on the same page as you. I may be biased about Euro, but I really feel it was just one mistake that cost Croatia advancing to a much higher round. Even in the game where Cacic rested the veteran players we still looked pretty great.
Here in Canada we are actually starting to get some Croatia World Cup qualifying games on TV, and TSN is showing Croatia vs. Turkey. Will definitely be cheering the boys on!
i’m pretty worried about mandzukic as the starting forward
i fear he is quickly declining
Last qualifying campaign and euros: 1 goal per 973 minutes
Juventus 2015-2016: 1 goal per 161 minutes
Atletico 2014:2015: 1 goal per 161 minutes
Bayern 2013-2014: 1 goal per 112 minutes
obviously he’s not going to match his bayern output, but even on the national team before he was at a much higher clip. and i’m worried he might be difficult to replace in the same way srna was
Good post Alen.
I think it’s a great time to be a Croation soccer fan.
Ever since 2008 Croatia’s soccer future has always looked bright, however, the crop of talent we have coming up the pipeline is unprecedented. Kids like Coric, Halilovic, Pjaca and Brekalo have tremendous talent. Not to mention the assembly line of other potential stars.