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Croatians Around Europe *XIX*

February 10, 2017

 

SPAIN

 

football-soccer-alaves-v-barcelona-spanish-la-liga-santander-10

Ivan Rakitić back on the scoresheet for Barcelona

 

 

Ivan Rakitić and Barcelona are trying to close the gap between themselves and leaders Real Madrid, who have two games in hand on Barca, and played to a convincing 6-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday. Rakitić played the full 90 minutes and capped off the match with Barca’s last goal in the 67th minute when he blistered a shot top shelf from inside the box from a tight angle. Champions League knockout round matches begin this week and Barca still trail Real Madrid by one point. Alex Vidal has been ruled out for the season which depletes Barca’s starting XI down the stretch.

 

 

Rakitić blisters a shot for the final goal

 

 

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Luka Modrić returned to the Real Madrid starting lineup on Saturday in a tight 3-1 away win to Osasuna. Modrić played the full 90 minutes but was quiet during the match returning from a 2-week knee knock. Real Madrid remain top of La Liga with Mateo Kovačić coming off the bench in the 88th minute; moving back to a supporting role with Modrić back.

 

 

Šime Vrsaljko came on at halftime for Atletico Madrid in a nail biting 3-2 win over Celta Vigo Sunday. Vrsaljko was not at fault for the second half Vigo goal but was part of the Atletico run in the last five minutes of the match which saw Atletico score twice to win the game. Atletico remain one point in front of Real Sociedad for Spain’s last Champions League berth. Alen Halilović got the start for Las Palmas and played 81 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Sevilla. Duje Čop remained on the bench for Sporting Gijon but picked up a yellow card in a 2-0 win over Leganes. This was a huge result for Gijon as it pulls them within two points of the safety zone at the bottom of the La Liga table.

 

 

ENGLAND

 

 

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Dejan Lovren was left off the Liverpool squad list on Saturday in a huge 2-0 win over Tottenham. Lovren is resting a minor knee knock and should return in Liverpool’s next game. With the win, Liverpool pull within one point of second place in what should be an exciting finish to the season with clubs 2-6 all within two points of each other.

 
 
Italy

 

Mario Mandžukić with a header against Cagliari on Sunday

Mario Mandžukić with a header against Cagliari on Sunday

PHOTO: Juventus
 
Juventus responds to Napoli and Roma and keep 7 points clear following to their away win in Cagliari 2-0 on Sunday Night. Mario Mandžukić kept his new position on the left side from the first minute to go the distance. The former Atletico star looked a bit tired, but did a solid job defensively. Mario managed to be dangerous in the second half with two headers, the second of which unluckily hit the top bar. He picked a seemingly intentional yellow card to miss the next match against Palermo.Marko Pjaca looked on from the bench.
 
La Gazzetta dello Sport ratings
Mario Mandžukić 6 “Well marked by Pisacane, is limited to defensive duties. Even without impressing manages to hit the bar.”

 

Inter beat Empoli 2-0 on Sunday Afternoon. Ivan Perišić missed the game for a 2 match ban that has now been reduced to one. He will be back for the next tie vs Bologna. Marcelo Brozović was sidelined due to a problem to a fracture to a finger. The Croatian international got injured during the match vs Juventus and should miss the next match as well.

 

Josip Posavec can only watch as the ball crosses the net against Atalanta on Sunday

Josip Posavec can only watch as the ball crosses the net against Atalanta on Sunday

Photo: ilnapolista.it

 
Josip Posavec’s Palermo surrenders to Atalanta 3-1. The former Inter goalkeeper could have definitely done more on the first goal but was not at fault on the following two. The first half could have ended by a higher margin without his contribution. He cannot do miracles, but definitely needs to work on his technique.

La Gazzetta dello Sport ratings
Josip Posavec 5 “No particular faults but concedes 3.”
Napoli got away with a solid 2-0 vs Genoa on Friday and are now ready to face the Santiago Bernabeu. Marko Rog came on with 17 minutes to go in the second half. The former Dinamo star took Giaccherini’s place on the offensive right end of the usual 4-3-3. In spite of such a limited time, the Croatian international shone several times and made himself useful. Ivan Strinić looked on from the bench.
 
La Gazzetta dello Sport ratings
Marko Rog 6 “A few minutes to show some of his repertoire”
 

Hrvoje Milić picked up a rare start against Udinese on Saturday

Hrvoje Milić picked up a rare start against Udinese on Saturday

Photo: ilnapolista.it

 
Fiorentina are back in contention for an European spot following their neat 3-0 vs Udinese on Saturday. After 2 months spent mainly warming the bench, Hrvoje Milić came back into the starting eleven and went the distance. The former Hajduk full back looked a bit rusty in the first half and almost caused a penalty on Widmer. His defensive support turned out to be rather solid eventually but his offensive skills rather inadequate.
 
Milan Badelj was also a starter for Paulo Sousa. The Croatian international retained his usual place in front of the defense to protect Borja Valero and arrange ball possession. The former Hamburg midfielder did his homework diligently and also tried to score with a good shot which found an attentive Karnezis.
 
Nikola Kalinić was left out of the intial formation for the second time in a row. The former Dnipro star came on in the 67th minute with the result set on 2-0. Kalinić looked lively and busy, his tries to convert always stopped. He showed that the bench didn’t affect his desire and that he is ready for the remainder of the Europa League campaign.
 
Stipe Perica came on in the 54th minute with Udinese being 1 goal down. The former Chelsea forward was relegated out wide on the left side. As a result he struggled to get in the match and left no trace. Andrija Balić warmed the bench the whole evening.
 
La Gazzetta dello Sport ratings:
 
Hrvoje Milić 5,5 “Not convincing”
 
Milan Badelj 6 “Playmaking without glimpses nor faults”
 
Nikola Kalinić 6 “Warmed up for the match in Germany.”
 
Stipe Perica 5,5 “Never really dangerous.”

 

 

Mario Pašalić’s Milan is already in Rome to face Lazio on Monday night in clash that smells of Europa League preliminary round. Sampdoria beat Bologna 3-1 on Saturday. The felsinei went ahead in the first half but did not manage to stop the blucerchiati’s come back. Ante Budimir and Bruno Petković remained sidelined for the whole 90 minutes.

 

 

France

 
 

Subasic

 

 

Danjiel Subašić (above) was in net as AS Monaco’s impressive form continued on Saturday, as they cruised to a 5-0 win over Metz. The clean sheet came easy for Danijel Subašić, as he was called into action just once. Monaco remain atop Ligue 1, three points above PSG and five above Nice.

 
 

Germany

 

 

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Tin Jedvaj (above) started at center back for Bayer Leverkusen as they won 3-0 against Niko Kovač’s Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. The versatile defender made five tackles and four clearances as he helped hold Frankfurt to three shots on target. Ante Rebić came off the bench in the 52nd minute and was productive but ultimately fruitless, as he fired three shots off target and created one chance. Leverkusen move up to 9th in the Bundesliga with the win, while Frankfurt hold onto third position with other top sides falling as well.

 

Germany Soccer Bundesliga

 

 

Andrej Kramarić started at forward for Hoffenheim in their 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg on Sunday. Kramarić was subbed off in the 58th minute, after failing to make much of an impact (0 shots, 1 chance created). Hoffenheim remain 5th in the Bundesliga after a very strange round of fixtures that saw the teams in places 2 though 7 all lose.
 

 

Next Matches:

 

 

 

Tuesday, 2/14
 
Barcelona at PSG(UEFA Champions League),
 
Wednesday, 2/15
 
Napoli at Real Madrid(UEFA Champions League),
 
Thursday, 2/16
 
Fiorentina at Borussia M’gla.(UEFA Europa League),
 
Friday, 2/17
 
Monaco at Bastia, Bayer Leverkusen at Augsburg, Palermo at Juventus,
 
Saturday, 2/18
 
Darmstadt 98 at Hoffenheim, Ingolstadt at Frankfurt, Atlético Madrid at Sporting Gijón, Espanyol at Real Madrid,
 
Sunday, 2/19
 
Internazionale at Bologna, Napoli at Chievo, Sassuolo at Udinese, Fiorentina at Milan, Leganés at Barcelona,
 
 
~Ante Kvartuč reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN and Salvatore Cagnazzi reporting from Italy

 

 

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Denis Svirčić
Posted By: Denis Svirčić 61 comments





  1. Lazio says:

    With Dortmund losing to Darmstadt (Colak scores with a neat finish), Eintracht are still third, but I am disappointed that we conceded 3 goals against Leverkusen, that’s now 6 conceded in our last four games.
    Even Leipzig lost to Hamburg!



  2. BZ says:

    @Idemo-Not sure if that is a reference to SoulChamp & I wishing Rebic well last week, but notice how bad Frankfurt loses when Rebic doesn’t start. :)

    Modric played, so that bodes well on the injury front.

    Glad to see Rakitic play well. Between Copa del ray, champions league & league play, Rakitic should also get some good minutes. Too bad Real Madrid git bounced from the Copa del ray the other week, as Kovacic would have gotten some much deserved playing time. Can’t stand watching Casemiro play.



  3. Maminjo says:

    Kovac is the Bundesliga equivalent of Dwayne Casey in the NBA.

    Tries to instill a ‘drill sergeant’ style discipline to motivate his players, and (over a span of a large amount of games) this generally works, especially in regular season play.

    But when it comes down to actual tournaments, when the stakes are high and it requires more than just ‘hard work’ but smart lineups and substitutions…then he’s a bonehead.

    I’m happy for Kovac, but you won’t see him do well as a coach in any Champions League tournament or International tournament with a National Team. Anyone who watched Cro during those qualifiers and World Cup (when he was in charge) would agree.



  4. Poglavnik says:

    Dwane Casey has 2 all star guards. That’s the reason for their success. Having no other quality on the team is the reason they’ll only get so far. Nothing more. Nothing to do with coaching when the rest of your team is second rate.



  5. Poglavnik says:

    Trump’s opposed because he’s a lying piece of shit thats chosen a cabinet full of billionaire bankers oilers and morons. America is opposed because they were stupid enough to fall for his shit. Bring on the apocalypse already!



  6. idemo says:

    @Poglavnik
    niko kovac had two top 10 midfielders whats the reason for his lack of success

    he makes europa league ill clap for him, does something next year ill admit it, but this is just too dam early, they are literally 3 points off 8th place, i guarantee you wouldn’t even be taking a second look at the if they were 8th.

    I get it, i am happy for our guys, but we have to look at things honestly and not through a Croatian lens



  7. Poglavnik says:

    Are we talking about soccer or basketball?
    Kovac lost because of discord in the dressing room, a toxic atmosphere between the Savez and media/public, a lack of a better than average lb keeper and holding midfielder, some untimely missed scoring opportunities, and a few bad calls here and there. I’m going with that.



  8. Rob I says:

    I agree with Poglavnik. the main thing that players kept on repeating during euro 2016, was that Cacic was making it fun and enjoyable. it seems that wasn’t the case during the Kovac era. If the players are relaxed, they play without stress



  9. Idemo says:

    But your logic was that dewayne Casey has 2 stars and that’s the reason for his success
    Should that logic apply to KOVAC having 2 star mids?

    By your account of it sounds like the manager in Brazil2014 had nothing to do with our poor performance



  10. Poglavnik says:

    Absolutely not. Basketball is a different sport where 2 stars can take their team a lot farther than in soccer. In Toronto’s case it won’t be enough but those 2 stars have them consistently near the top of the East.
    Read my logic again. First thing I mention is discord in the dressing room. That would generally be directed at the manager of the team.



  11. Poglavnik says:

    Basketballs a game where you can lean on a small group of players to get it all done for you. In a sport like soccer you can’t expect Modric and Rakitic to do the job of 11 guys.
    Are we really making comparisons between soccer and basketball and the amount of influence 2 All Stars can have in those games? It’s pretty obvious to me.



  12. Idemo says:

    Porugal 2016? Wales 2016? Supposedly warriors had the better big 3?
    Don’t even want to go down the road and argue semantics

    If you wanna talk Eintracht Frankfurt I’m here to talk, wer giving way too much credit just because they’re our ppl, I think a certain past member on this site would have called that being a “homer”……but what did he or his guy in the savez know



  13. Maminjo says:

    @Poglavnik

    “Kovac lost because of discord in the dressing room”

    – Ummmm, the discord in the dressing room was caused by Kovac and only Kovac. Nobody on the team had anything positive to say about him, including the mild-mannered Modric (and that says a lot).

    “a toxic atmosphere between the Savez and media/public”

    – You mean the one that peaked during the Euros and still exists today? This didn’t seem to derail Cacic at Euro 2016 after that Czech game when everyone thought we were done. Nobody expected us to come back focused the next game (and beat Spain) but somehow he made it happen.
    Kovac had it easy.

    “a lack of a better than average lb keeper and holding midfielder”

    – Again, we still lack a LB and Holding Midfielder, but you don’t see Cacic calling up DANIJEL PRANJIC to fail miserably game after game with fans, media and players all calling him out for his incompetence.
    You also don’t see Cacic rotating a new HNK Rijeka player in our CDM position every game just to prove that Mamic doesn’t own him. Kovac constantly calling up a new, mediocre player like Mocinic and Males (and a few others) was moronic.
    Kovac actually had a good keeper, but he chose to keep him on the bench in favor of his pal. That’s on him.

    “some untimely missed scoring opportunities, and a few bad calls here and there.”

    – Nothing worse than the bad calls that our boys had to endure during that Portugal foul fest, and the unlucky misses and non-penalty calls that game.

    Aside from that Brazil game (which didn’t matter anyway since we humiliated ourselves against Mexico), I can’t even think of a game where Kovac lost or drew the game due to a bad call. Actually, we got pretty lucky with a few games with Kovac at the helm…beating Bulgaria with an own goal, drawing Italy in ZG on a bogus continued play goal…can’t really think of any others.

    Cacic on the other hand has had quite a bad spell of luck in that Czech and Portugal game. He’s been excellent in qualifying, but we still were unlucky against that fluke deflection free kick against Turkey, which cost us a couple points.

    Honestly, Kovac was poor in his tenure with us.
    He wasn’t “Igor Stimac poor”, but his only notable feat was not getting rocked by Brazil in the opening match in 2014.



  14. Lazio says:

    @Maminjo
    “the discord in the dressing room was caused by Kovac and only Kovac. Nobody on the team had anything positive to say about him, including the mild-mannered Modric (and that says a lot).”

    “Kovac has set the bar in line with his German-bred mentality that order, hard work and discipline are essential ingredients for good results,” Perisic told Croatian media on Tuesday before the team’s departure to Brazil.

    “I was not surprised because he built his career in the Bundesliga, whose virtues I have become very familiar with myself and cherish the principles.

    “Just to emphasize how much he is on the same wavelength with the squad, Kovac canceled a practice session when he and his staff sensed we were a little bit weary,” added the 25-year-old Wolfsburg player.

    “after that Czech game when everyone thought we were done. Nobody expected us to come back focused the next game (and beat Spain) but somehow he made it happen.”

    Cacic made it happen? Well then you have to say he made Portugal happen, with what Modric called a better generation than 98!
    Portugal best 3rd placed team, didn’t win a game in the group stage! Modric was bought back in and sucked. Mandzukic was bought back in for Kalinic and sucked, and perfect timing on the subs, bonehead?

    “I’m happy for Kovac, but you won’t see him do well as a coach in any Champions League tournament or International tournament with a National Team.”

    Can you see Cacic doing well, and why, because maybe I’m not seeing something?



  15. Poglavnik says:

    I never indicated Kovac wasnt a big part of creating that atmosphere.
    That Brazil game is not some throw away. That game could have been ours. Neymar could’ve been redded much like another Kovac was against England a long time ago. Instead we’re in a must win against Mexico after all hell’s broken lose. We get a result against Brazil and that atmosphere could’ve been at lot different for the rest of the tourney.
    A result against Brazil.
    Getting an easy bracket for the ko’s.
    It’s a thin line between being a Kovac or a Ciro in our annals.



  16. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Poglavnik makes several good points about Kovac. I think Kovac has a good grasp of the disciplined and structural part of the game, but he falters in imagination, strategy, overall identifying how and who to utilize. His overwhelming demand for structure and discipline limit his vision and I think its why he made several poor choices as the coach of the National Team!

    I still like Kovac as a person but I think he’s not a talented or a creative mind, he’s all hard work…which is only one part of the game.

    With regards to player relationships…it’s imperative to have your players believe you have the solutions and they buy-in. If players loses that belief of their coach, its all down hill from there.



  17. Maminjo says:

    The whole German-bred discipline had everybody excited, but it’s only useful if it is consistently applied to everyone on the team.

    It’s also not good to take the discipline out of hand and try and take too much of an authoritarian stance for petty things.

    Pranjić constantly getting off the hook for his lack of defensive discipline, while others are benched or called out for their so-called lack of effort in the media made Kovač lose all credibility.

    Telling players that they are not allowed to speak at all during practice, or banning flip flops in the hotel rooms is just flat out ego-driven nonsense.

    It’s hard enough to pull off the authoritarian coach when you’re only a few years older than the players you are coaching (usually, only the much older father figure coaches can pull this off). Doesn’t help when you have a big ego, and very little coaching experience to begin with.

    I’m glad Kovač found success in the Bundesliga, but I don’t want him near our NT until he compiles at least 10-15 years of successful coaching experience.



  18. Maminjo says:

    The only thing that I think Kovač was good for, is putting strong value on fitness.

    Unfortunately, he fucked that up too and exhausted our players right before the tournament in Brazil. Everyone complained about it.

    His biggest strength ended up hurting us as well.



  19. Lazio says:

    Niko Kovac: “You need the right blend. A totally authoritarian approach doesn’t work any more. The relationship between the players and the coach has changed and you need that relationship if you’re to succeed.”

    If you don’t have that relationship with your players, the players can’t even beat Azerbaijan or Norway, even though they had a 4w 1d start when the relationship was good!

    The one thing players have to realise though is, that “it is the coaches team whether the players like it or not!” If the players don’t like it, what are they supposed to do then? It doesn’t matter what they do, they wont have success!

    Now to Cacic, he’s got a great relationship with his players, and that worked a treat against Portugal the best 3rd placed team that didn’t win a game in the group stage!



  20. Maminjo says:

    @Lazio

    Yea yea, we get it.

    Čačić lost to the Euro 2016 Champions in extra time therefore Kovač is a much better coach.



  21. Lazio says:

    @Maminjo
    If you read the Niko Kovac qoute in my last comment, and if you’re not talking out of your arse, Kovac didn’t want success with the NT!
    So we shouldn’t even talk about Kovac’s coaching with the NT, because Kovac knew that the authoritarian approach dosen’t work anymore, and that you need a good relationship with the players to have success!
    Do you get it?

    “Unfortunately, he fucked that up too and exhausted our players right before the tournament in Brazil. Everyone complained about it.”

    “Just to emphasize how much he is on the same wavelength with the squad, Kovac canceled a practice session when he and his staff sensed we were a little bit weary,” added the 25-year-old Wolfsburg player.

    Were the players exhausted at the pool party at WC 2014?

    When Cacic lost to Portugal they were a team that didn’t win a game in the group stage, and they finished 3rd in their group!



  22. BZ says:

    Kovac’s personnel moves were his biggest mistakes. Along with playing zone on set pieces against a Short Mexican team.

    The team under Cacic has shown much better fluidity. Cacic knows you just let your world class players play. No need for over coaching a team that is together about a month a year at best.

    Napoli v Real Madrid should be a great game to watch.



  23. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Lazio, not only are you illogical, you are clueless and throw silly insults.

    Kovac did run a very hard pre tournament physical program and yes, several players struggled after their long season only to arrive for an intensive program he offered. I don’t think it was crazy to try and use fitness as part of your tactic, but at some point you have to see how the players overall health is and react appropriately.

    the situation vs Portugal was 100% Strinic’s fault, not Cacic’s.

    it always surprises me when people say things like “When Cacic lost to Portugal they were a team that didn’t win a game in the group stage”…in 1982 Italy tied all 3 of their first round games to Poland, Peru and Cameroon…and then went on to win the World Cup! Please don’t tell me Peru and Cameroon were powerhouses!

    I’m not someone that would consider Cacic a good or smart coach, I haven’t seen enough of him yet to really make that assessment. I think he was far too slow in making subs in the last tournament, but I also think he gets it right for player selection and formation. There’s a few things about him I have liked and respect and I hope he does well going forward. When he kicked Lovren from the team, that was a very good move on his part. When he started that young line-up vs Spain and put Rog who battled Iniesta, Fabregas and Busquets in the middle of the field…I never imagined he would have done as well as he did by limiting their chances and fighting hard.

    I’ve always thought discipline and structure are crucial for a team environment, but there are limits to that. No flip flops in a hotel seem like a silly request…its all about Kovac and his demands…no talking at practice is a normal request during instructions and drills, but its also quite normal to communicate between drills, in line…seems a bit unusual for a coach to bring that up…and sounds more to me like he was treating them as children, not professionals.



  24. Lazio says:

    Slavonac from Canada
    “with regards to player relationships…it’s imperative to have your players believe you have the solutions and they buy-in. If players loses that belief of their coach, its all down hill from there.”

    Niko Kovac: “You need the right blend. A totally authoritarian approach doesn’t work any more. The relationship between the players and the coach has changed and you need that relationship if you’re to succeed.”

    Kovac didn’t want success with the NT? Because you guys are saying that he was to authoritarian, you guys are saying that he was doing the exact thing that he knows, doesn’t work anymore, that is, taking an authoritarian approach.
    Can you see that now you jerk?
    And all this no talking, no flip flops, who is your source?
    Also, I didn’t insult anyone you dickhead! We were having an argument, what’s wrong with that, there is no quarrelling going on here?

    “in 1982 Italy tied all 3 of their first round games to Poland, Peru and Cameroon…and then went on to win the World Cup! Please don’t tell me Peru and Cameroon were powerhouses!”

    Who was the best 3rd placed team that Italy beat, I didn’t watch that WC?



  25. Lazio says:

    @Slavonac from Canada
    “I’m not someone that would consider Cacic a good or smart coach, I haven’t seen enough of him yet to really make that assessment.”

    Cacic so far has coached 6 games with the NT.

    Niko coached 13 games.

    Slavonac, just how many games did Niko coach before you made an assessment of his coaching? Remember he was a young coach still learning his craft, and there was good results early.

    How many more games does Cacic have to coach before you can give us an assessment, because I really look forward to your assessment in the future?



  26. Croatianperson says:

    Very good points Slavonac.

    In all fairness that militant disciplinarian type coaching usually works best when you are much much older than the players and works horribly when you are almost the same age and have played on the same team as some of the players before.

    Andre Villas Boas in Chelsea and Tottenham was a prime example. The guy thought he was Jupp Heynckes with all these demands meanwhile Lampard and Terry are older than him.

    No flip flops? In the hotel? In BRAZIL? Zero logic with that and I read the same thing about him overworking them as well. And then talk shit about Mexico like we’re going to destroy them? That’s not Cro’s game, running their mouth. I knew we were going to lose once I heard how he was talking before the game.

    Say what you want about Cacic at least he lets them play and now he changes guys earlier. And who the f$&k else did Cro have available FROM CRO because we all know they’re not finding a foreign coach any time soon.

    Some people on here are naive and think we should get a foreign coach. Lol ya good luck with that. Wake me up when that happens which is never.



  27. Lazio says:

    “I think we are a better team and better individuals than Mexico, and I think we’ll show that tomorrow.”
    – Luka Modric

    Like they say, thinking isn’t knowing. After the match Modric knew who the better team is.
    But let’s investigate this, why would an “overworked” Modric think they would show anything against Mexico, doesn’t he know he’s “overworked” at this point? Let’s be honest guys, Mexico is a team that plays with a lot of spirit and getting to the second round is almost automatic for those guys.
    I will say this though, I’m a Kovac fan, and if he said that about Mexico, that is silly, as silly as Modric thinking an “overworked” Croatia is a better team than Mexico.



  28. Lazio says:

    I would’ve wanted him to say something other than what he said! I knew we were gonna lose when he said that! Lol



  29. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Lazio, you’re trying to prove a point using a phrase here and there. Yes, Croatia should have beaten Mexico. If you look at the majority of where the Mexicans play and the competition level they play at, we definitely had the edge…BUT, thats only one element to the game.

    When Pranjic was effective at left back, it was because he used his speed and constant pressure going forward. his effectiveness going forward outweighed his weakness coming back…when he played for us in 2014, he was already 33 and had been playing in the shitty Greek league, his effectiveness going forward was non existent and his defensive abilities are zero. If the entire world could see we had a liability at left back, why didn’t Kovac? why would he insist on using a washed up, useless guy like him rather than find a decent and solid left back…not everyone has to have offensive abilities.

    you said: “Who was the best 3rd placed team that Italy beat, I didn’t watch that WC”…I have no clue what you’re talking about!

    On the topic of Cacic, I can say its difficult to really assess him. The team has had to play behind closed doors, without fans…thats tough at home as it usually is a bit of a boost…and they’ve performed relatively well. if I remember correctly, we have 1 goal against us in 4 matches, our tie was against Turkey in a shitty game we played and I think if we can sort out left back and a centre defensman, we will be ok going forward.

    My issue with Kovac wasn’t that he was an authoritarian, it was that he refused to recognize his own failures and was stubborn to the end. its one thing to demand rules, its another to behave overly confident when in fact you can’t see your team isn’t functioning as it should be. if he was confident, it doesn’t mean he had a reason to be, it means he failed to see his teams weaknesses and didn’t adjust for them. I’ve always thought every player must respect his coach, but there’s a responsibility from the coach as well, to be someone that commands respect, not only demands it…and in my opinion, Kovac lost his players commitment to him, which cost him his job….he should be humble and recognize that.

    the reason I can’t make a judgement on Cacic is because I don’t feel the team has had to face adversity yet, during his time there…once they do and we see how he reacts, I’ll be able to make a better judgement. if they get good results and if he introduces newer elements, it can be good…if he is blinded and doesn’t offer any solutions to obstacles he will face, I will then be able to criticize him. my one and only frustration with Cacic was that he made subs very late during this past tournament. as per the loss to Portugal, I would have liked to see Croatia attack more, but I’m not stupid either. nobody in their right mind would create a big distance from their midfield and defense, knowing Nani and Ronaldo could counter attack you in a heartbeat! once you push forward, you leave space for the opponents…and in a game where neither side is willing to take that risk, it would be incredibly stupid to attempt it. the one time Portugal did counter…because of a really stupid play from Strinic, we paid for it!



  30. Slavonac from Canada says:

    regarding Kovac’s comment prior to the Mexico game. Only he thought we would win with confidence…and that, right there demonstrates a total lack or respect to his opponents (why give them a greater inspiration…such stupid politics) and an even greater lack of understanding of your opponents!



  31. Lazio says:

    @Slavonc from Canada
    “I don’t think it was crazy to try and use fitness as part of your tactic, but at some point you have to see how the players overall health is and react appropriately.”

    “Just to emphasize how much he is on the same wavelength with the squad, Kovac canceled a practice session when he and his staff sensed we were a little bit weary,” added the 25-year-old Wolfsburg player.

    The 25 year old Wolfsburg player was Ivan Perisic.

    1) Why did Kovac and his staff cancel a practice session?

    2) Were Kovac and his staff on the same wavelength as the squad, according to Perisic?

    3) Do you reckon Kovac reacted appropriately when cancelling a practice session, because he saw how the players overall health was, they were a little bit weary?



  32. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I can’t remember what happened and why, but you seem to focus on this one topic when I’m talking about his gafs on a few different levels. just because he cancelled one practice doesn’t mean he did so on time…who knows what the overall condition of the team was by that point? they could have already been fatigued…I wasn’t there but I do recall it being reported. Pripremen at that point of the year should not be the same as prior to the season starting…its more of a maintenance period and I believe he felt he was going to raise their physical level in the short period they had to prepare….IMPOSSIBLE!

    you’re throwing all your eggs into one basket. that one cancellation doesn’t mean much!

    you gave 3 points…all the same. you could have used 1 point for all 3.



  33. Lazio says:

    “Who was the best 3rd placed team that Italy beat, I didn’t watch that WC”…I have no clue what you’re talking about!”
    I guess it’s because I didn’t know what I was talking about, I’m a humble guy and I can admit I messed up.

    I didn’t know that at the 82 WC it didn’t go to a knockout round after the group stage!
    Italy beat Brazil and Argentina in the next group stage, there was 2 group stages!

    I was to young to watch that 82 WC. Italy ended up second in the first group stage. Portugal ended up third in their group at the last Euros. They both won their respective titles by not winning a game in group stage play, in Italy’s case, first group stage play!

    So Croatia beat a shit Turkey, they couldn’t even beat the shit Czech team, and they beat Spain without Mandzukic, Modric, Strinic and Vida who all came back in for the Portugal game. But no one should be surprised that Portugal beat us because Italy won a WC in 82 without winning a game in the first group stage! I get it now.

    I don’t think our team is that good! But a lot of people think we were great at the Euros. When I say that we lost to a best 3rd placed team all I’m doing is trying to find out from the guys why they think we lost if we’re so good. I said after the game, I’ll say it again now, Portugal is better than Croatia! Croatia is an average team without any world class players.

    People that think it was fixed, stop looking at it through a Croatian lens!
    Also we’re not mental midgets, we’re just not that good.



  34. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Lazio, its obvious we see things from a total different perspective.

    First and foremost, there are few if any “shit” teams in Europe, to say Turkey is a shit team really reveals just how little you value this game.

    In the Portugal vs Croatia game, neither side wanted to open up…so it ended up be a compact game in the middle of the field…both side of the field were being doubled up defensively and chances were scarce. Perisic was very ineffective that game, he had no room to play, Ronaldo was also marked closely. so when you say things like “all I’m doing is trying to find out from the guys why they think we lost if we’re so good”…you should go back and review the game. The one time we gave up a ball we should have either sent into the box (first touch) or send it into the 27th row and get back into position…no, Strinic decided he would try and settle the ball while two Portuguese players were closing in on him and eventually stripped him of the ball. they quickly countered us, transitioning the ball from their end to ours within seconds while many of our players caught out of position…we all know what happened.

    Is Croatia “THAT GOOD”? we were good enough to advance…we lost on a personal mistake, not strategy.

    Overall, we had 6 corner kicks to their 2, they committed 28 fouls to our 12..we had more overall possession but soccer can be cruel if you make a mistake.

    your comments are really juvenile at times…saying things like “they couldn’t even beat the shit Czech team”…I’m not even sure how to respond to something like that?



  35. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @Slavonac

    I see what you’re saying about giving Cacic time but he already dealt with adversity with the bullshit flares and late collapse to Czechs and then to comeback and beat the reigning Euro champs without major starters and kids to take the group. If that’s not an example of dealing with adversity and coming back I don’t know what is.



  36. CroatianPerson85 says:

    Kovac’s adversity was dealing with naked soccer player pool parties.

    And he was probably the one who took the photos!



  37. Slavonac from Canada says:

    CroatianPerson85…when I say adversity, I mean when there are injuries or the team isn’t performing well. when he has to utilize his personal skills as a person/coach to help make the difference.

    I have always thought Bilic was awesome. he made his mistakes, but he is scientific, charismatic, technical, tactical, strategic…he was smart enough to learn to play the FIFA ranking system…something many people don’t do but should! Bilic continues to grow as a person…he’s fallen and then picked himself up and dusted himself off…

    I wonder if Cacic has character or will we see him collapse at the first major sight of a challenge?!



  38. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @Slavonac

    Agreed on Bilic. He’s a bright guy and I think he’s forever changing and adapting himself and his game. Maybe he’s our guy in 2018 if Cacic is let go or steps down. He will coach the NT again in his lifetime I think.



  39. Lazio says:

    @Slavonac from Canada
    I will never watch Croatia vs Portugal again, watching it once was brutal, one of the shittest games I’ve watched in a long time.
    I do remember Strinic shitting himself and losing the ball.

    Slavonac are you saying that once Strinic lost the ball that a goal for Portugal was a forgone conclusion? Even after Strinic lost the ball I remember thinking that we could’ve defended that breakaway better, but like I said I’ve only watched the game once. I don’t like Mandzukic and I don’t like Vida, but I also remember stupid Vida going for a header when he should’ve left it for Mandzukic.
    But this is Croatian sports.com and I also know that when Croatia lose, it’s the LB’s fault, whoever it is.



  40. BZ says:

    Strinic lost the ball then compounded the mistake by not hustling back.

    Regarding Vida, If you can make contact with a header, you make contact.

    Refs allowed are players to get pounded all tournament.
    I expect more of the same in Russia. It’s a freaking joke.



  41. Horvat says:

    “They couldn’t even beat the Czech team”.

    Regardless of the score, that was one of the best games I have ever seen Croatia play. We should have won by five or six goals.



  42. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Lazio…you said: “I will never watch Croatia vs Portugal again, watching it once was brutal, one of the shittest games I’ve watched in a long time”

    that says a lot about you and your understanding of the sport…you are limited and can’t appreciate much.

    not every game played will be action packed, there may be 0 goals scored in regulation time, there could be 10 goals scored. teams may open up and play full offense or they may decide to play defensively and wait for their chances…that is how the game is played.

    your type of comprehension about this sport is the reason I can’t watch with some of my friends…even though they’ve played for years, doesn’t mean they’ve ever been coached properly or had the opportunity to learn about the inner details of soccer. just because someone has been around the sport, doesn’t make them knowledgeable about it…I’ve been around hockey my whole life but I couldn’t identify the other teams strategy or how to approach a situation.

    you most likely enjoy watching the parts of the game that take up 5% of the events that occur and you miss out on 95% of it cause you can’t identify…this is why you think the way you do. you’re an armchair fan, not a student of the sport!



  43. Lazio says:

    @Slavonac from Canada
    I asked you a question because you’ve watched the game many times, and you’re telling me about your friends, are you drunk?





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