Diary of a Croatian fan at Euro 2008

by Mystical Mike

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
 

Saturday 7th

Departure

Euro 2008 started for us in the departure lounge at Luton airport as we waited for the cattle class flight to Vienna. A large group of Polish fans sat next to us singing their heads off whilst there was a smattering of Croats decked out in red and white cheques and holding a massive flag aloft.

What was instantly noticeable was the make up of the groups. The Poles were 100% male whereas the female Croats outnumbered the men. I still say Croatian fans are far and away the most beautiful!
The girls

Arrival in Vienna

Amazing. We are here. Croatians EVERYWHERE. Are we playing today or tomorrow? You seriously couldn’t tell. There seems to be more Croatian shirts here than any other, I’m in heaven!

Now for the hugely difficult decision of when to start drinking. It’s going to be a long day, so an early beer or two might cost us dear later on. In the end we settle on a nice little cafe MariaHilfer Strasse near our hotel, where we wolfed down a pizza and a couple of beers before strolling down to the fanzone. The Austrians look to have done a great job catering for the many thousands of fans who have arrived without tickets and we settle down with a couple of beers to watch the Swiss kick off the tournament by playing the Czechs.

 

The tournament kicks off as do the Turks

The Swiss lose, but by now we couldn’t care less as we’re chatting away with a couple of delightful young ladies from Croatia. The atmosphere is friendly but somewhat subdued, maybe its because of the fact that the Austrians don’t play until Sunday. However things start to get more interesting when large numbers of Turks turn up on mass, parading up and down the Fanzone walkways chanting and blowing the horns. This is what Euro 2008 is all about!

Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t a good day and their initial enthusiasm spilt over into what hopefully is an isolated incident. As the final whistle went, small pockets of violence erupted with staff and stewards at the nearby food counters being attacked with anything the Turks could get their hands on. Plastic cups, rubbish and food was all thrown at the attendants to the point where they were hiding under the counter to get away from the onslaught. They even had to deal with some fans mounting the counter and stealing the knives they were using to cut the sandwiches and hotdogs. Crazy.

 

Apres-football

Chaos over, we sink a few more pints and then hit a club for wondering around Vienna in the early hours looking for our hotel. As it turns out we’ve been walking in the wrong direction, or thats what the cabbie tells us as he extracts 40 euros for what seemed a 5 min ride back to the hotel. Never mind we couldn’t care less we’re really quite drunk and all we want are our beds.

 

Sunday 8th

Hangover!

After an exciting day yesterday and god knows how many beers, the BACF team slowly started rising from their beds. Revelations galore. I had been sick in the bath, Zitko was the only one to find his own bed, and Atterby had slept in his trainers. If it weren’t for the hotel’s tiny mini bar, we’d have all of died of dehydration! But it was the start of a new day, the day where Croatia would make her entrance to the tournament!

So as Atterby slept, Zitko and I got going. Tickets for the game needed acquiring as well as the normal website updates. Wireless internet is fairly easy to come across in Vienna, but our hotel only has one internet computer and it’s in a closet.

Again, as I stroll around Mariahilferstrasse looking for a cafe, I’m amazed by the diversity of Croatian fans. There seems to be just as many women as men, and not only that, it’s not just the shirt that they wear, but the hats, shorts, socks, scarves, flags and face paint that adorn virtually every Croatia fan. Perhaps it’s only small countries that can generate such fervent support?

Red and White army

Back to the fanzone

So, 3 points in the bag, and it was back to the fanzone for more beers. Packed packed packed. We finally got into the Fanzone via the back entrance to watch the Germany v Poland game. Germany looked solid but it’s got to be said, Poland played well and were unlucky not to score. Still, a draw for us on Thursday and we’re all but through to the knockouts. Back at the hotel bar we start to sort out plans for tomorrow. It’s Bad Tatzmannsdorf and our first chance to pose questions to Slaven Bilic, Truly, we can’t wait.

 

Monday 9th

OK, so it’s Monday morning and time to leave Vienna and move down to Bad Tatzmannsdorf All we need to do is pick up the hire car, load the bags and get Atterby some food; he never stops eating…

As Zitko bounds out the door on his way to get the car he offers the rather optimistic statement, ‘see you in about 40mins’, its 10.40am.

 

Things take a downward turn

So far everything had been going great; we’ve seen some good football, met some nice people and sank a lot of beers, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before something went wrong! The problems start as soon as he arrives at the car rental company. Apparently you need to use a credit card to leave a deposit for the car and due to his aversion to debt, he hasn’t got one. A quick rummage through our pockets and Atterby and myself are devastated to find that between us we have 1 credit card which expired in May.

 

Back on track

Finally it all starts to come together, after much sweet talking by Zitko he manages to convince one company to rent us a car and we’re off, arriving at Oberwart for the Croatian team’s training session at 6pm.

Those players who played on Sunday were only put through a gentle warm down, whilst the remainder are given a much sterner workout and despite the fact that it’s raining heavily the atmosphere amongst the large group of cheering fans is great.

All too soon the training comes to an end and we’re back in the car and off to search for somewhere to bed down for the night. That mission accomplished we shoot off to the media centre where we’re able to get online and write up the last 24 hours activities before heading off to try and grab a decent nights sleep. We certainly need it!

 

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

Become a Crotia fan

 

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  • Mikie

    stop rubbing it in! it sounds brilliant, I went to the Euro 2004, it was amazing, and I do tend to agree about Croatian girls, although the czechs are beautiful too, long flowing black hair, ah yes…

    On a footballing term I would make the most of it because I can’t see Croatia getting past round 2, fact, even Sweden looked better then Croatia.

    I’ve always found the Turks to be rather scary actually, thats a shame, but it just goes to show it’s not and English problem anymore.

    Good blog, keep them going 😉

  • Dexylongshot

    Wicked stuff Andrija, can’t believe you went out there with a credit card, amateurs!!!

    Well saying that, when me and my mate Champagne Briggsy hit Germany 2 years ago for the World Cup, we managed to spunk £3000 on the mastercard without even thinking about till the bill came in so it might be a godsend!
    Send Slav a kiss from me and don’t worry about the hangovers, you’ll get used to it!!!

    Good luck tomorrow!!!

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

    I went to an Arsenal game once last season, in fact I went to 3, but 2 of those were in one day.

    ALthough I did watch England get to the finals of the unofficial Euro 2008 tournament in Paddington on Sunday, but they lost on Pens. No surprise there then.

    Have fun Andrija and cheers for the blog, it sounds like you are living it up!!

  • dexylongshot

    1-0 …Spurt!

  • Mikie

    shame up to the German massive!

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

    Ibet Andria is getting hammered now!! The Croats looked very good. Crotia Czech on QF, semi final here they come!!!

  • BigpHil2Nd

    Portugal will win as they have the best manager and Chelsea bound Ronaldo. (ha ha)

  • http://blog.ukfootballfinder.co.uk/?author=14 Tef1on

    Was a good result. Made the “favorites” look a little silly, Schwienstieieieiegeiegvevers reputation has taken a serious dent and after all the press speculation in Germany about him and the manager falling out i think his tournament may just be over with his international career. Glad my money went on Spain & Villa to be top scorer.

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

    how poor are the Italians? It’s still way to early to say Villa will be top scorer. Did u know Platini scored 2 hat tricks in 1984, he ended up with 9 goals in that comp. Amazing!

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