Croatia who were considered the underdogs are one Win away from scripting history in the Football World Cup. They defeated Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland in the group stage. This was followed by three knock out matches all of which went in to extra time which adds up to 90 minutes of extra time. So it is like they have played one match extra. Players should have been hit with fatigue but none of the players have shown even a glimpse of that.
Croatia will play their final World Cup 2018 match on the 15th of July, 2018. A Win against France will make sure that Croatia will be part of the elite list of World Cup Winners. Till now only 8 countries have managed to win the World Cup.
Croatia’s FIFA ranking at the start of the World Cup was 20. They were considered the underdogs. Even the best of the football pundits would not have predicted that this small country will manage to reach the finals of World Cup. So far they have scored 12 goals and conceded only 5 except the penalty shoot outs.
It was not very long ago that this country was fighting for its independence. Though the history related to this place goes back to the 6th century but the current Republic of Croatia declared independence on 25th June 1991. This was followed by attacks from the Yugoslav People’s Army & certain Serb paramilitary groups. It was only by 1995 the war ended.
There were refugees, who had fled during the war, coming back in to Croatia. In addition to this they had to reconstruct the places which were damaged during the War. It would have been tough to live amidst the sound of grenades, tanks, etc. The will power of Croats to come together and recreate everything needs to be admired.
The current Croatian Football squad consist of players who were born during 1984 ~ 1995. Some of the players had to manage their early lives in hotels which were converted as refugee areas while other players grew up outside Croatia as their parents considered to move out of the country during the war. Though they were not affected by the war but they definitely would have seen the fighting spirit shown by their parents during that tenure.
Luka Modric, the captain of Croatia team, had to stay in hotels as their house was burned during the war. He started playing football at the hotel parking lot.
Mandzukic is another player who had to move to Germany along with his parents during his early years because of the Independence War.
Lovren also had to spend his childhood in Germany. Lovren was born in Zenica, now part of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and his parents along with him moved to Germany due to the Bosnian War.
All players would have seen the strength shown by their families during the War period. This would have helped them shape in to psychologically strong individuals.
The fighting spirit is there in all these players to keep winning. This has helped them come a long way in the current World Cup. Playing their best game and giving everything for the team, this squad of players are just one Win away from lifting the World Cup Trophy. If they manage to do that then it will be biggest victory for Croatia after the Independence War triumph.
One thing is sure: They will make France sweat to win this contest. Croatia had lost to France in 1998 semi finals. So that will add fuel to the fire.
Win or Lose , these players have already made their mark and will make sure that footballing world talk about this night for years to come. They have become an inspiration for the next generation,
Zagreb city center turns in to a football maniac house during their celebrations of reaching the Finals. Hope the celebration will continue…!!!
” #CRO is among the leading countries in the world according to the number of donated and transplanted organs per million inhabitants. There are some good people living here!” – Courtesy HNSCFF
Pics courtesy @HNSCFF ( Croatian Football Federation)