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Why Mother Russia Will Be Croatia’s Greatest Test

July 2, 2018


Will Luka the Lion prevail in Rocky fashion?



Yes guys, your “ONE” World Cup conspiracy post is here! And if you thought you were going to make it the entire tournament without getting one, you were wrong. 





I’m not here to burst anyone’s bubble for Saturday’s game between Croatia and Russia. I’m just a bit concerned. And I want everyone to be prepared “IF” something “funny” should happen. “IF”- I can’t stress that enough. “IF”…



Pound for pound, this Croatian side would beat Russia nine times out of 10 on any given day. But guess what? Other factors come into play. Here are some FACTS about Russia and home sides that have hosted the World Cup:



1. Home Field Advantage: This is Russia’s World Cup and it is 100% certain their fans will show up in full force in Sochi Saturday for the quarterfinal clash against Croatia. Historically, hosts have always done well at the World Cup. Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), England (1966), Argentina (1978) and France (1998) all won their first (England and France their only) World Cup titles on home soil. West Germany won their second title in Munich in 1974 while South Korea got all the way to the semifinals in 2002 while co-hosting with Japan. The hosts usually get their way. Call it home cooking. Call it what you want. But this will be a dangerous game for Croatia on Russian soil no matter what you call it. The Vatreni have yet to win a World Cup match against a host. They are 0-2: France in ’98 and Brazil in 2014.



Former UEFA president Michel Platini went on record weeks ago and stated the draw for the 1998 World Cup in France was fixed so the French could meet Brazil in the Final. And that’s exactly what happened. France won their first World Cup.



As soon as the World Cup draw was released in December, I immediately rolled my eyes at Group A: Russia’s group. It was pretty soft consisting of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay.


Russia have always been a mediocre football country. And we’re talking about Russia right now, not the Soviet Union. Russia will qualify for tournaments here and there but have never been a threat. This is the first time the Russians have made it out of group stage in the World Cup. They previously qualified in 1994, 2002 and 2014. They’ve only made it out of group stage at Euros once, in 2008, when they finished as semifinalists. Remember how Russia qualified for that tournament? Croatia beat England 3-2 at Wembley with that Petrić strike. You’re welcome Russia!


 2. Russia & Doping




Russia’s Artem Dzyuba looks to have a needle mark on his left elbow



The above picture of Artem Dzyuba went viral on the Internet Sunday during Russia’s penalty kick victory over Spain. Dzyuba was the player who scored the equalizing penalty that sent the game into extra time against the Spaniards; ultimately winning in a shootout. But what kind of mark is that on the inside of his left elbow? Surely, it’s not a mosquito bite- a product of hot, humid, sweltering Moscow nights? Or is Dzyuba a model citizen that enjoys going to the Russian Red Cross to donate blood?



Look, it’s no secret that Russian likes to dope their players. They are the epitome of the phrase, “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” We know it, they know it, and the IOC knows it. They just don’t care. The clean Russian athletes weren’t even able to play under the Russian flag at this year’s winter Olympics in Korea.



And if you really want to see how deep the Russians go, you need to watch the documentary Icarus. It’s available on Netflix and won “Best Documentary” at the 2018 Academy Awards aka The Oscars. It will blow your mind if your are a sports fan. I promise you.



The doping doesn’t concern me too much. I think this Croatia side has more than enough talent to beat Russia, even if they do have 11 Incredible Hulks running around the pitch.


3. Putin and Politics


Putin reacts to Russia goals vs. Saudi Arabia 



Guys, politics are not my department. I’m a sports fan. That’s what I like. That’s what I know. Although I know what’s going on in the world, I’m not an expert on American, Croatian or Russian politics. And I’m not going into a political rant right now, but I just want to say…I don’t trust Vladimir Putin.



If (and remember I’m saying “IF”) Putin had any kind of influence on the last American presidential election, you think he can’t make some “things” happen to go his way in a soccer tournament he’s hosting in his own back yard? I don’t trust him.



Spain looked uninterested to play Russia in the second half on Sunday. The Russians parked the bus, got a penalty call and go through to the quarters with 26% ball possession. Call me cynical, but Croatia v Russia has Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago written all over it!






Croatia are on the brink of immortality. Three games away from being enshrined in football lore forever! And if they get by Russia on Saturday, THEY EARNED IT! THE OLD FASHIONED WAY! Hard work and pure talent!



Remember, ‘Nije U Šoldima Sve!’



Croatian team singing ‘Nije U Šoldima Sve!’after Denmark win


My message to the team: You’re not playing against 11 Russians, you’re playing against ALL of Russia! Leave every drop of blood, sweat and tear on the field! Be legends! Be forever! Beat Russia!



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 57 comments

  1. Iggy Iggy says:

    Great image for the topic lmao

    I said all the knockout games for us will be 50-50 and i think that’s prolly right give or take a few %. Maybe it is + a few % for us for this one but we definitely have at least an even chance

  2. WorldCuoConspiracyGuysDAD says:

    Notice all the top countries already out of the tournament? That’s right, nobody wants to pay the refs anymore because of VAR.

    It will be no coincidence that we will have a first time winner at this year’s final.

    Should have prevented corruption with this a long time ago. With this in place, Albania, Bosnia and Azerbaijan would have all win Cups by now.

  3. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    VAR (or lack there of) screwed Serbia and Sweden big time. Morocco got no love. I still don’t understand why it’s not used on every big box play.

  4. Poglavnik says:

    That’s the best way to look at it Iggy.
    We’ve got a shot!
    Anyone we play against we can say that about but so could they. We don’t have some unbeatable reputation.
    Most games will come down to just a few key moments. Gotta take our scoring chances and stay laser focused. Not turn off for a second.

  5. Bobby V says:

    Apparently, Dalic called out 4 players to shoot penalties and then asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to be the fifth.

    Pivaric stepped up. It actually was well taken, but well saved.

    All the players then went on the field and were all saying that Subasic will stop more than one. Dalic said in his press conference that he saved 9 in the semi-formal practice the day before.

    Croatia is already guaranteed to receive 17.5 M Euros for reaching the quarterfinals. 22M if we beat Russua, 24M for semi-final, 28M for 3rd Place, and 38M for winning it.

    Watched an interview with Subasic’s parents who live a stones throw from Stanovi Stadium in Zadar. Mom hasn’t watched a game since he left Zadar. He’s the youngest of 4 brothers.

    Maybe they should take that FIFA money to help build a new stadium for them.

  6. Soul Champ says:

    It’s no accident that once again we have to be READY to take care of Byzantine BS geopolitics.

    Dalić needs to make adjustments.

    We are getting into that cruise control mode that makes us too easy to defend and actually makes us work way too hard on the ptich.

    Kovačić starting is the simplest move to make.

    Master what you what we do well.

    We have the two best midfielders on the planet?

    Add Kovačić and make them even better.

    This game is begging for Kramaric to score a crafty goal or create an assist.

    Is Pivaric better than Strinic?

    Pivaric looks more lively going forward and more alert on D?

    Is there a slight tactical shift that could be made?

    We have to have the best start in the history of Croatian football.

    Fresh legs have to be called on early in the second half.

    U boj

  7. Iggy Iggy says:

    Yeah i saw his parents on HRT news too. They certainly live a humble life in a very, very humble village (being as kind as i can there) so i agree with funds going back there for sure.

    Obviously a huge prob with the demography issues in Hrvatska atm. Less people being born than dying, most young people leaving the country. Pretty soon the whole country is gonna look like that village, which is depressing to think about.

    Won’t be anyone left to even PLAY soccer for us!

    And yeah Pog i think we are about 50/50 with most teams, except the one team that i think we can’t beat is Brazil. I just don’t think we can do that so it’d be nice if they lost at some stage. Everyone else we have a decent chance at least.

  8. Darko says:

    I’m kinda worried about the game someone was saying history will be repeated by us being knock out by the hosts just like 98. Even during qualifying any country from ex USSR was always tough to play in their homes for many teams let alone a host of a world cup. They managed to knock out Spain they have a good goalie good defence home field advantage. It’s not going to be easy. Some people here are looking past Russia so easy. But i would be abit cautions.

  9. Canuckcro says:

    england was thinking about boycotting wc because of the skripal and daughters poisoning,1980 olympic boycott,Reagan called Soviets while at empire on earth.Yes ,there is politics in sports,,I recall the east German female weightlifters were asked to strip,,they thought they were men just females taking to much male hormone steroid testosterone..older fellow worker told me this year’s ago.

  10. Maminjo says:

    I’d be surprised if we played two bad games in a row though.

    I would hope that we bounce back after this grueling win over the new Greeks of football.

  11. Ivan says:

    @ivo Its natural for Serbs cheering on Russia just like we would cheer Germany vs Serbia because we are fascists and our Nazi past binds us with the Germans.

  12. Brkic says:

    Any word on the injuries? Are Strinic, Pjaca, Mandzukic and Kovacic training with the team or are they resting and getting treatment?

  13. Brkic says:

    …and everyone in the free world is rooting for Croatia. Those that reminisce about the former Yugoslavia will root for Russia, but who needs them.

  14. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Spain kinda reminded me of Argentina in this tournament. We all know they have great players but they just aren’t totally impressive. Russia beating Spain while Spain isn’t effective and dangerous isn’t a huge deal. Spain have been declining lately, Russia winning wasn’t a conspiracy.

    We need to play our game and stay away from the conspiracy bs…let the game be played and we can talk about if things were a conspiracy after. Goddamn you Zadarians are conspiracy theorists! Every week I hear a new conspiracy!

    Croatia won’t be bribed Kvartuc!

  15. canuckcro says:

    Extreme cetnik nationalist leader,look what he said..
    2 days ago · 10 posts · 5 authors

    Aleksander Vučić (Serbian Prime Minister): “I believe Croatia has one of the Best teams on the World Cup, but I will Cheer for Russia” The most …

    Extreme nationalist cetnik leader ,look what he said..better to say nothing.thats what these people do.

  16. Dannyj says:

    I don’t think cro players can be bought
    At least not this game
    Threatened families?? Who the heck knows then
    I wouldn’t think Russia would do that but not like putins reach doesn’t extend all over lol

    Will be a tough tough game
    But Uruguay broke em pretty good
    We need to mimic what they did

  17. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Our boys have played Serbia IN Serbia..they have been in hostile environments before and have performed.

    Our biggest stars compete in high profile/stressful games for their clubs in the respective countries or for Champions league.

    All of those experiences have been preparation for games like this.

    Nobody can obviously prepare if the game is fixed in some way but aside from that …there is absolutely NO REASON why Croatia shouldn’t be able to beat Russia

  18. LAknat says:

    Dalic is a better coach that we have so far.

    He has a character like Blazevic and could be better if He quickly to change a fatigued player with a fresh one
    1) He got lucky because Strinic wisely decided to retreat!
    Even though still better than the previous coach about utilizing our subs players, He doesn’t have a gut to change a flop star player!
    2) look at Perisic still inside the pitch and brought out Brozovic instead !~ Perisic has an ability in defense but not in offense ~ that’s why Denmark went out in attack because we had no intense in the offense once some player like Mandzukic and Strinic became worn out + Perisic wasted our opportunity with his shoot and sloppy pass. .

  19. Anonymous says:

    Laknat. Pick a language and try to use complete sentences to convey what you are trying to say.

  20. Golden Ball Winner Modric says:

    @ Ante Kvartuc You said VAR Screwed over Serbia not really even if they were up 2:0 they were outplayed in the second half would have been 2:2 Serbs dont score many goals. Xhaka and Shaqiri were to good for Serb defence. Morocco is a borung team they couldnt even defeat Iran no one cares about them.The VAR is dodgy just like the NFL review system they will review it but still shady decisions will be made.

  21. Ivan says:

    @golden ball winner Modrić VAR did screw Serbia now question is would he have scored on penalty and so on. It’s hard to say in any situation what would happen would the team play better with a 2-0 lead who knows it didn’t happen so it’s erelevant at this point.

  22. KRO says:

    Looks like Russia 2018 and South Korea 2002 World Cup hom e team are very similar in the World Cup. 2002 South Korea also knocked out Spain on penalties. Fernando Hierro was captain of Spain that 2002 loss to South Korea and he was the Manager of the 2018 penalty loss to Russia. South Korea went out in the Semi Finals that World Cup. Could be 20 year anniversary of Croatia Vatreni finishing third or Russia in Semi Final feel good story.

  23. Danijel says:

    I was talking to a Serbian coworker and told him there is nothing to be upset with Serbia’s performance. They have missed 3 tournaments so this was not bad to be at the WC and they played ok just unlucky with Swiss game. It took us how many WC tournaments to get to knock out stage so its well deserved on our part. We were unlucky in the past 4.

  24. Maminjo says:

    Spain’s problem is that they hire inexperienced shit coaches just like we do.

    Looks like we finally got lucky with a decent coach in Dalić.

  25. Crotown says:

    I agree withToronto Croatia- I’d rather our boys play as underdogs any day over a game against Denmark- when we have our backs to the wall- we’ll come out swinging rather than that crap we played in the second half of Denmark- we’ll be like our dog Joko on the delivery man’s leg – don’t let go till their down begging for mercy- ajmo decki- fight like we know you can

  26. KRO says:

    We are favourites versus Majka Rusija. Even if Serbia was up 2:0 early on the Swiss had plenty of time to Score two goals. Look at Japan was leading 2:0 in the second half they lost 3:2. Even though Japan lost to Belgium who is a good team you should be able to hold a 2:0 lead with about 25 minutes to play.We have a really good team now so who knows if it is Dalic or not or maybe Modric, Rakitic,Mandzukic know its their last World Cup and are playing lights out.

  27. KRO says:

    Serbia did not qualify for the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 they did not qualify,2006 World Cup out in group stage,Euro 2008 did not qualify, World Cup 2010 out in group stage, Euro 2012 did not qualify,2014 World Cup did not qualify,Euro 2016 did not qualify, World Cup 2018 out in group stage SRAMOTA they have proven to be below average as well as their players.

  28. KRO says:

    Serbia has missed 6 tournaments since 2002 including World Cups and Euros and they have been out in all their World Cup group stages since 2002.

  29. Danijel says:

    Serbs in football are like Croats in basketball and vise versa thats why i said they should consider it somewhat a success for them just to have qualifed after missing tournaments.

  30. Anonymous says:

    You can’t be the underdog when you’re the favourite to win.

    Why are we favourite to beat Russia, answer me that?

    Unlike you guys, I love being the favourite and believe it’s a great position to be in, and the position every player should wanna be in because it means they’re doing well.

    What you can be though, even if you are the favourite to win the game, is the hunter.
    If we hunt the Russian scum I have no doubt the kill will be made within 90 mins.
    Also, being the hunter is in our control, it’s an attitude that can’t be taken from us by the Russian scum.

    Anyone know how many of our players consider Russia their Mother?

  31. Lika Joey says:

    Danjiel, actually Croats are better at basketball then Serbs are at soccer. We have a golden generation of basketball coming.

  32. Danijel says:

    We have not been on the podium since the 1995 curse so i would disagree with you. I hope we improve in the future but over 20 years we have not looked good.

  33. Danijel says:

    We have not been on the podium since the 1995 curse so so im going to have to disagree with you. They have good players in the NBA and have results on their side.

  34. Danijel says:

    I have been hearing of this golden generation for years but always end up disappointed . Since 1992 we fell of the map in Basketball. I hope things change soon.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you guys stop jocksniffing Serbs, even Serbs must be getting sick of the Croatian peoples fascination with them.

  36. Maminjo says:

    Nobody cares about Serbs.

    It’s one guy here that is commenting about them suddenly, using different names… But IP addresses don’t lie.

  37. Croatianperson85 says:

    @Slavonac “Goddamn you Zadarians are conspiracy theorists! Every week I hear a new conspiracy!“ this is gold right here, pretty funny and true.

    I think it gets passed down to some of us through our parents.

    There’s a laundry list of superstious things working for us this tournament they believe over there but at the same time It’s just 90 min and one game at a time. Russia could be an exciting and interesting game. I think it will. What do you think?

    Regardless of the score you can look and find any meaning on either side. Cro should beat Russia 9 times out of 10 as someone else posted. They won in Ukraine and Turkey on the road at least some of them mind you it wasn’t the World Cup but still important wins.

  38. T Bone says:

    Who thinks Dalic should start Kovacic, Modric Rakitic v Rus?


    Perisic. Modric. Rebic

    Kovacic Rakitic

    Strinic. Lovren. Vida. Vrsaljko


  39. Croatianperson85 says:

    No ligament damage or tear and he played the rest of the game. He should be fine. Hopefully.

  40. Kralj Zvonimir says:

    Fuck danijel the svrrrrrrrrb fuck svrrrrrbije. Hrvatska is going to be in the World cup final this year. I feel it in my balls. All three of them. Who gives a flying fuck about those half turks? Hrvatska za pobjedu protiv Rusije….! Ajmo decki….! 3-1 to Croatia vs Russia. Semifinals against Sweden will be 2-1 Croatia. And then the final against Belgium. Ajmooooooooooo. Samo naprijed. Za dom spremni. Uvijek!

  41. Iggy Iggy says:

    No ligament damage but a dislocated shoulder.

    Can’t see him playing again this WC with that. Isn’t the same thing what happened to Mo Salah? Think he needed 3-odd weeks

  42. Croatianperson85 says:

    @Iggy – agreed but everyone’s recovery and pain threshold is different. Dislocated shoulders can be popped back in and ok fairly quickly. I’ve seen guys do it mid game after falling and coming back to play. He also played the rest of the game. Either way we’ll find out Saturday. I know it’s wishful thinking.

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