CroatianSoccerReport.com was created for the purpose of getting the important news to the Croatian soccer fan without them having to search the Internet aimlessly. It’s all here with one click. In recent months, it has also turned into a place where devout and extremely loyal supporters of the team can come and voice their thoughts and opinions on the team and how they are playing.
This has been one of my favorite things about the site. To see all these educated people on the game of football and the Croatian national team voice their opinions and have their ideas bounce off each other. Well with that, I would like to share with you a comment that loyal CroatianSoccerReport.com reader, John Prpić, left us after the Croatia-Turkey match. I thought it was genius, well-written and could not put it better in my own words. I welcome these kind of high caliber rebuttals and thoughts in the future from all our readers. Thank you once again John; for the beautifully written comment and the opportunity for us to run it.
Croatia got ‘snake-bit’ in one of the most memorable games on record.
People will be talking about this game for a long time to come. I don’t know that I have even seen such a goal, regardless of the dramatic timing of it. The sheer force of the shot, the deflection, two defenders in front of the ball, and then to the top corner. All with the last kick of the game. Wow.
Everyone knows that Croatia was the better team despite the fact that they did not perform optimally. Although, here we must also give Turkey credit, as they did very well to neutralize Croatia’s many strengths.
However, the better team does not always win, as the Turks have dramatically proved in their last 3 games. That’s ok; let them have their day in the sun, as Croatia’s will surely come down the road. The fates are fickle, no doubt, but they are also not indiscriminate. Croatia’s involvement in such a “fated” match signifies to me that the fates have identified Croatia for bigger achievements down the road (i.e. in the upcoming World Cup). This type of loss, surely signifies that bigger things are in store for this team.
Also, although the Turks were unbelievably lucky, let’s also give them credit where credit is due. Their strategy was perfect and largely nullified Croatia’s midfield superiority.
Terim taught Bilić a lesson in coaching strategy last night, and being the bright and unassuming individual that he is, Bilić and his staff will surely realize this in the next few days, and be stronger for it, in the future.
First of all, Terim knew exactly what Croatia would field for the game. Croatia’s strategy for the game was too predictable and transparent. Terim knew that Croatia would field it’s “Germany line-up”, and prepared for it masterfully.
Bilić had no plan “B”. Surely he believed that he didn’t need one, and he was right, except for the intervention of fate. He will now realize that you must not give fate a chance to intervene. And if fate does intervene, one must intervene right back. Case in point, see Terim’s substitution of Nihat after Klasnić’s goal, which served to create the last minute of extra time, in which Turkish luck came to the fore.
For example, before the shootout, Bilić might have gathered the team, and stressed the context of the situation. He might have told them that actually they were in the perfect situation, and that if someone had told them before the tournament that all they had to do was execute penalties against the Turks to advance to the semi’s, they would’ve readily accepted the chance. Nonetheless, this is much easier said than done, but with experience, this type of leadership develops, and becomes a natural instinct.
Also in hindsight, Bilić might have fielded a novel variant in the first half, with the simple goal of nullifying the Turkish preparations, while keeping his “Germany variant” for the second half, if needed.
Further to this point, it was obvious from the get go (with the Turks effectively playing 5 in defense) that they were worried about the Croatian attacking prowess.
After the 1st half, it was obvious that the Turks pulled-in defensively, even further, and were at that point playing to get to penalties. At this point, and for the rest of the game, Croatia played into Turkish hands, by continuing to run at them. This is where plan ‘B’ was needed, not in terms of substitutions only but in terms of the plan. The only way to counter this is to mimic the strategy, and draw them forward, and at the same time not expend energy fruitlessly.
Anyway, I hope that Bilić and Co. realize this on their own, but if not, we need to send them the link to this site.
Final note, R. Kovač, & Joe Šimunić played “out of this world”.
Anyway, I’d love to hear any of your comments on my analysis.