Diary of a Croatian fan at Euro 2008, part 4

by Mystical Mike

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Friday 13th June

The morning after the night before. From Klagenfurt to Zagreb, yesterday was an amazing day. Croatia not just beating a top team but pretty much spanking them into next week has got everyone in the ‘Potting Sheds’ (BACF HQ for anyone not in the know) chuffed. The guys got back around 12midday, not bad considering they got to sleep at 3am. I amused myself with a little light reading in the meantime. Book of the week campers is Zoe Oldenbourg’s “The Crusades”, a gentle look at murder and slaughter on a grand scale!

Who had the best night is the topic for most of the day, and despite not admitting it I think I’m beat. As great as Klagenfurt was, Zagreb sounded mental. And to think they were in the Hotel Dubrovnik overlooking the square! I utilize the fact that there were 80,000 Croatians with me though, which effectively made Klagenfurt a mini Zagreb and manage to hold my own for most of the day. The media sesh is a scrum which we manage to stay well clear of. Bilic and Gavran are 45 mins late and turn up looking a little worse for wear. Gavran more so than Bilic it has to be said. Rock star football for a rock loving country.

We can’t learn Croatian quickly enough. Who do we blame for not getting in touch with our heritage sooner? Ourselves, certainly, but I’m definitely poking an accusing finger at the parents. If they’d have just spoken to us in two languages like normal folk, we’d be sitting here understanding every word. As it is, we resort to playing who can get the funniest close up with the cameras. I get a corker of Gavran’s left eyeball whilst Atterby concentrates on a fly crawling over a photographers head. Zitko’s pretending to know what he’s doing, and failing miserably.

When he finally gets a chance to ask something in English, Bilic is so visibly bored that his question gets the merest of comments. It was an acceptable question, it’s just that Slaven had probably answered it in Croatian, needed the loo and/or an aspirin and still couldn’t work out who the idiot in the half England half Croatia shirt was asking him this stupid question. We laughed, we pointed, Zitko sulked.

Board Bilic

The public training session and an incident with Klaus the scary but oh-so-friendly campsite maniac, I mean manager aside, it was a pretty chilled afternoon. I think we’re all shot from yesterday’s exertions. So before bed, I mused on our travails so far.

Tomorrow is our one week anniversary of being out here, reporting on the team. It feels like a month. Vienna, Zagreb, Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Klagenfurt. It’s been a non-stop ride which doesn’t seem like ending, although with qualification in 1st place now assured, the game against Poland doesn’t feel so ‘important’. Croatia are through to the quarters against the Czechs or the Turks, the BACF media machine keeps on rolling, the Plastic Croatian has visited his homeland, and the Canadian girl I’m chatting to on Facebook has given me the horn something chronic. Thank god I’ve got one of the potting shed’s’ to myself!

Potting shed

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

    The potting shed sounds like the place the be!!

    Good article Andrija, sounds like you guys are living it up big time!

    So you’re English with Croatian parents right?

    Good luck with the Canadian.

  • http://www.becomeacroatiafan.com AT

    I wouldn’t say that, lol! If I was in there with the Canadian though…..

    Anyway, back to work, if you can call it that. 😉

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

    Turkey for you lot, it’s going to a tough game, they were superb 2nd half.

    Mind you, half the team will be suspended!

  • BigpHil2Nd

    Quality game, I can see the Turkey side going all the way. (ha ha)

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

    I found this in a few papers this morning

    Poland coach Leo Beenhakker has suggested Croatia boss Slaven Bilic should ask his own mother-in-law to play in the Euro 2008 Group B encounter between the two sides because he reckons that is the only way his team can beat Bilic’s men on Monday.

    Reverse psychology I’m sure, maybe he should look to the stars for inspiration?


  • dexylongshot

    Andrija, i’m so jealous, gutted i’m not there, potting used to be a favourite past-time of mine until I started doing this in my blog den, not exactly the same!!
    Tell you what mate, you better save up your energy, i reckon you might be there for the long haul, after a bright start, Ze Germans are looking very average, if you progress against Nihat & co which will be a cracker but you will do it, i’d fancy you to beat them again. Gomez hasn’t had a kick all tournament.

  • Brian Smith

    The German league is very average, and Gomez’s performances in this tournament have proved that. I do fancy Turkey to cause an upset here.

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