Diary of a Croatian fan at Euro 2008, part 3

by Mystical Mike

Sunday, June 15th, 2008
 

Thursday 12th June

As I board the bus with the other journalists to Klagenfurt the feeling is that tonight’s game will provide a real indication of how far Croatia can go in Euro2008, Although no one thinks Bilic will sit back and try to get a draw its likely that he’ll be satisfied with a point, however if they could somehow grab a win it could set them up for a run to the semi-finals and possibly beyond.

We arrive early and with several hours to kill I head off into the centre of Klagenfurt to sample the build up and get something to eat. Sitting down at a local cafe its noticeable how many Croatians are milling around, and that they are ALL dressed in team colours. No Stone Island jackets for lot.

After munching on (another) pizza and downing a couple of bottles of the local brew I make my way into the fan zone where I hook up with a group of Croatians who have heard of the website. Our fame is spreading. They’re managed to get tickets for the game (lucky gits) and I decide that I’ll make my way to the stadium with them to try and find one for myself. However with time to kill we sink a few more beers whilst debating what what formation Bilic should play tonight and whether or not kakitic should start. The conclusions? 4-2-3-1 and yes, and remarkably we’re right on both counts. As I’m from England they’re also keen to learn what i think of Luka Modric and whether or not he’ll be successful at Spurs.

Time soon passes and as we make our way to the stadium the nerves start to grow. Can we really beat Germany? We did in 98, but that was the only time in attempts. Win tonight and the class of 08 will then stand along side Bilic, Prosinescki, Asanovic and Vukojevic as all time legends of Croatian football. Unfortunately it proves impossible to get a ticket at a reasonable price, so I made a mad dash back to the fan zone, getting there just after kick off.

The game flies by, and Croatia play as well as I can remember. Sure the performance against England was superb, but there was no pressure in that game. This was totally different.

Croatia 2 Germany 1

At the final whistle there was an explosion of emotion, people hugging each other, friends and strangers alike. It was all too much for one woman, who I saw crying in her boyfriend’s arms. To be fair, the German fans took the defeat well, although they had been outplayed and didn’t really deserve anything from the game.

Then, it’s back to the stadium where I’ve got to wait around for the post-match press conference, as I don’t have the required UEFA pass. whilst waiting around I have time to reflex on what we’ve achieved. Beating Germany should instill a level of confidence to take us all the way. After all both Greece and Denmark have won the tournament in recent history, so why cant we?

With that thought in my mind the bus arrives to take us back to Bad Tatzmannsdorf. Its back to Klagenfurt on Monday for the games against the Poles, with a point enough to secure top spot and an easier quarter final. Could this really be our year?

 

Andrija Tadic reports for UK Football Finder from the leading Croatian football website become a croatia fan.

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  • Aslan

    haha quality stuff I’m hoping Croatia go all the way now cozza ur great bloggings Mon the Croats !!!!!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    There’s no denying Luka Modric is a quality player, he may be a bit light weight for the Premier League, but then you could of said that about Fabregas. Only time will tell. Mark Bright who writes a column for the Metro said the Spuds could have another Sergi Rebrov on their hands, a bit harsh as he had only seem him play one game. I do get the feeling that the Spuds signed because they knew Arsenal were interested, I can’t see tight-Arsene Wenger paying 16 million for 1 player.

    Now I hear that David Villa is going to Liverpool, I thought he wanted to come to Arsenal?
    Don’t let another one slip Wenger, sign this man now before it’s to late.

    Anyway, back to Croatia, tomorrows game is a nothing game for Croatia, the group is already won with a game to spare, it’s just a matter of who will they play in the QF? I think the Turks will beat a very average Czech side.

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