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Croatia Lost 6-0 To Spain…So What?

September 12, 2018

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It was a night Croatian fans will never forget.

 

 

Croatia played in their first competitive match since a dream run at the 2018 World Cup. Expectations were high as Croatia were opening their UEFA Nations League account against 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro champions, Spain. Could this makeshift Vatreni side keep the freight train rolling from the summer and defeat a Spanish team stacked with Real Madrid and Barcelona players to keep the momentum going?

 

 

NO.

 

 

But SO WHAT?

 

 

Here’s why Croatian fans – and the team – shouldn’t care about the 6-0 scoreline as much as you think they should.

 

 

The 6-0 loss to Spain marks the worst defeat in Croatian football history. Sure, it hurts. It’s not something you want to witness. But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss.

 

 

A Croatian side missing four key starters from the World Cup squad faced a very good, and hungry, Spain team. Lovren, Rebić and Kramarić were out due to injury and Šime Vrsaljko was the tipping point of the match as he only played 20 minutes; being subbed off with an apparent hamstring injury. Without Super Mario Mandžukić up top (retirement), this Croatian side has to find its new identity alongside Modrić and company; and growing pains happen.

 

 

The Vatreni played Spain, guys. In Spain. They didn’t lose 6-0 to Malta. They lost to Spain.

 

 

The starting XI for Spain Tuesday night in Elche fielded six Real Madrid players, a Barcelona midfielder and a Manchester Uniter goalkeeper. That’s a pretty damn good squad!

 

 

Spain last lost a competitive match on home soil in 2003. That was 15 years ago. That’s quite the impressive streak.

 

 

And although the Spaniards haven’t added silverware to their trophy cabinet since Euro 2012, that doesn’t mean that they’re not good. Spain went on one of the most incredible runs in football history: winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.

 

 

The last loss they endured outside of penalty kicks – competitive or friendly – came at Euro 2016 when Italy beat them 2-0 in the Round of 16. That immediately followed Spain’s 2-1 loss to Croatia in Bordeaux.

 

 

After a somewhat disappointing World Cup that saw Spain bow out to Russia in penalties during the Round of 16, they have shown new life in September, already defeating England 2-1 in London before their 6-0 drubbing of Croatia.

 

 

It was one of those nights where EVERYTHING went right for Spain and everything went wrong for Croatia. It happens.

 

 

It may have just been too much for the younger crop of players – Kalinić, Pivarić, Mitrović, Rog – as they lost their footballing compass on the night.

 

 

Kalinić will be a rockstar for Croatia in net. Mark my words. It was a horrible debut for him and none of the goals were his fault. When shots are ringing off the crossbar and off your back for own goals, it’s just not your night.

 

 

The entire makeshift backline looked slow and gave Spain way too much space on the night to conduct their business. If it were a boxing match, Dalić could have easily thrown in the towel moments after half-time when Spain scored their fourth goal.

 

 

All of Spain’s dominance occurred after Vrsaljko was subbed off in the 20th minute. For the first quarter of the match, Croatia looked great and could have easily been up 2-0 through Perišić and Santini missed opportunities. But that’s why you need to finish and stick the ball in the back of the net.

 

 

The only two things I can criticize manager Zlatko Dalić on was his player selection; and I’m sure he will learn from the Spain game. You cannot put Kovačić on the wing with Modrić and Rakitić already playing in the midfield. All three players are too similar and a true winger like Marko Pjaca should have started instead. With Vrsaljko having to come out, it should have been an easy decision to put Tin Jedvaj in the match, not Marko Rog. That was obvious.

 

 

At the end of the day, Croatia lost to a very good Spain side, who have all but wrapped up top spot in their UEFA Nations League group with Croatia and England, having six points through two matches.

 

 

What Croatia must focus on now is not the 6-0 loss to Spain, but their encounter with England in Rijeka on October 12th. One loss is manageable. You can’t win them all. But this cannot happen again against England in one month’s time. Especially in Croatia, albeit, the match will be played behind closed doors. Both England and Croatia are now battling for second spot in the group as third place will be relegated to League B next tournament.

 

 

The World Cup honeymoon is over and the Spain game will be a great measuring stick of what this Croatia side has to work on in terms of their new generation of players.

 

 

No need to be worried. No reason to hit the “Panic Button”. It was just one game.

 

 

Dejan Lovren said it best on his Instagram account after the game:

 

 

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“Tough loss, it hurts, but wait and think (if you have a brain) before you go off like the media usually does. In these situations there is no cause for blame. We have won together, and we will lose together.  We cannot hang our heads and forget all the great things we did at the World Cup. The media likes to spit on us and we won’t progress as a people with that attitude. Boys, keep your heads up. The next match will be better. We will forget this game as soon as possible. Just a f***ing horrible night! (sad face)”

 

 

The Vatreni will rebound. It’s what Croatians do. This match is one small hiccup in the great history of Croatian football.

 

 

Remember when Croatia lost to Peru in March and everyone was in panic mode? Everything worked out in the end, didn’t it?

 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 108 comments





  1. Dani Olmo says:

    Hey guys it me Dani, listen after yesterday i think I will cap with Spain. That was mucho mierda yesterday. I have to think of my future with team that plays bueno. as you say Hvala!



  2. Andrej L says:

    Someone else already said but Spain look shaky to start. Had we finished on any of those three pretty good chances, it would’ve rattled them and increased our confidence. Instead, the opposite happened.

    I thought Mitrovic was solid as he usually is. However, he didn’t have the passing range of a Lovren or Corluka or even a Jedvaj probably.



  3. Crotown says:

    Good article but its missing the key piece- Croatian soccer is about pride unlike 90% of world soccer- we win when we remember the sacrifice so many made so Croatia can play in an independent country-

    I don’t care if it’s Malta, Germany, Estonia etc – we played with zero pride and maybe a little too much of ourselves-

    Nobody should be guaranteed of anything and a good kick ass practice is on the agenda

    Time to remember why we play like nobody else and any guy on that team forgets that- we’ll he can join Kalinic and walk



  4. Slavonac from Canada says:

    So apparently we lost our minds because Vrsaljko left the game? What kind of a comment is that?

    I wasn’t able to watch the game but I saw a few miserable hi-lights…did Kovacic start in Rebic’s position? I’m not sure my comment is accurate but if he did, what the fuck is Dalic doing? Is this a case of him letting some success get to his head and him thinking he’s some smart coach with a magic wand?

    Here’s another gaffe! How on earth can he justify playing Rog as a right back? This isn’t 7 year old boys that inter-change positions throughout a game, this is a serious competition that requires common sense and professionalism!

    When have we been most successful as a team? When we press high and don’t allow our opponents to walk into our third of the field unchallenged….quite honestly, from the little I saw, we lost our game-plan, we had a fucking horrible shape, the few players that were out of position caused an insecure environment…the players lost their heads and Dalic did diddly squat to improve that!

    I’m disappointed with this result for many reasons and there is a lot of blame to go around. First and foremost the blame goes to Dalic. If he is gonna come up with these ridiculous ideas, give me TV repairman back! Dalic was successful because he had Mandzukic pressing high and working like an animal (Yes, I know you Hajduk fans squirm when I talk about him but fuck you), Dalic depended on Perisic, Mandzo and Rebic to provide intense pressing…he got the support of Modric and Raketa to push forward as well and the team was collective and united.

    Where were the characters we saw only 2 months ago? Its often noticeable that when one guy (Mandzo) works effortlessly, others have no choice but to follow! Who stepped up and provided that blue collar work rate?

    I’ll never stop talking about Mandzukic on here because many of you…including Kvartuc and Anonymous, Crnkovic (silky skills) were Kalinic jock-sniffers, arguing with me week after week…and now, just like the anti-Modric revolution that went on here and the Facebook page, people are silent and want to move on. Well, I’m not done yet! Watching Anthony Zoric (a low knowledge individual that knows shit) recycle anti Modric articles prior to every game (in case we were knocked out so he had a story to tell about a divided Croatia)…and then Kvartuc present him as some Goddamn expert?!?! If you were smart Kvartuc, you’d bring on people like Maminjo or a few others that continue to make good comments and offer great insight to this site but instead you try to increase your value by introducing total rejects that are nothing more than your buddy but you introduce them as an “expert”.WTF dude, you look stupid everytime you do that!

    Bring back Svircic, the guy was credible and wasn’t as much as a flake as many of your experts are!



  5. Lopez says:

    Spain exposed Croatias world cup run and team for what it is and was. Nothing special. Croatia is unbelievably lucky Spain lost in a fluke in penalties to Russia or else Croatia wouldn’t been going home early. Spain and Croatia are of a different class. Anytime Croatia plays a higher power team with motivation and a half decent coach, they get crushed like the wc final. Croatia is now down 10-2 in its last two competitive games to France and Spain. Looks like the clock has struck midnight for Cinderella .



  6. Vatreni99 says:

    This article was spot on. I’ve never seen a performance in a competitive loss since 2009 against England where Croatia missed 2010 WC. But they rebounded from that and were revived. I love the Vatreni more than any team I support but this loss inexcusable. You have to look beyond the scoreline because every aspect the match Croatia were poor. No energy, lost 1v1 battles, players running around and playing out of position, no pressure on Spain’s counter attacks. Every player was 100% to blame for this loss. This is the first competitive match without many key players so it’s no shock that a team was sloppy with half the starters rmissing, new chemistry, trying new tactics. The only area of the field I’m worried about is the backend. Get rid of Pivaric. He never commits to the the team plan and makes the same mistakes. Once all players are health everyone can relax. We have a good coach, young players, hungry.



  7. Razbijač says:

    To play in a World Cup final, which they could have won if it weren’t for some unlucky calls–and then to lose 6-0 in their next competitive match is mind boggling to say the least….

    Prolly were’re the only WC finalist to lose 6-0, in a competitive match–right after playing in the final. It’s a painful reminder of the “Jekyll and Hyde” nature of Croatian football…



  8. The truth says:

    It’s interesting to hear Croatia England 2009 world cup qualifying debacle brought up now

    Because this is the example i had given when predicting Croatia would get thrashed in league of nations

    And as often is the case, history repeats

    Croatia was really hyped on themselves after beating England in euro qualifying and considered themselves the better team. That was quickly proven false



  9. iVO says:

    2010 WC Q we had some injury problems, again depth issues but also England dropped last match with Ukraine to skrew us over. We also had two draws with Ukraine that killed us needed just one win. This is why I was so happy when they beat England a couple of moths ago. They broke DaSilvas leg and dropped match to keep us out of 2010 WC. Don’t let them get over us again!



  10. Andrej L says:

    I respect your opinion Kvartuc and am happy your keeping this forum going. The fact that a perfectly healthy Ronaldo didn’t even show up for Portugal should tell you how seriously some teams are taking this competition. They play a lot of football and put their careers at risk when they don’t have enough recovery time. Probably why Kramaric didn’t show up even though he played last game for Hoffenhiem.

    Re Pivaric and Dalic tactics
    Dalic did have them pressing when Spain had the ball in their defensive third throughout most of the game which does show some sort of effort/pride/listening to the coach. However, very poor marking by our CMs.
    I thought Pivaric despite his poor showing, did stick to their game plan. When we had the ball in our defensive third Rakitic collected the ball in the LB position while Pivaric pushed up high. This forced Asensio to cover Rakitic and Carvajal to cover Pivaric (good match ups) while Perisic would tuck in a bit. This way we overloaded the left side. However, Rakitic played poorly and this meant less time on the ball for Modric. Nice try but no cigar.

    I just hope that Benkovic and Caleta-Car are ready for 2020 because the passing abilities of our CBs (except for Lovren) are quite poor. Not to mention that Kalinic can’t really play with his feet. The modern game requires everyone including a goalie to be very comfortable with the ball.



  11. Andrej L says:

    BTW Dalic said that Jedvaj was injured which is why he put in Rog. I still think he doesn’t have the speed or dribbling ability to be a RB. I’d rather see Jedvaj at CB and getting some playing time at his club. I do think he’s confident on the ball and can pass well, just not at full speed like a typical winger.



  12. Poglavnik says:

    We lost by a fucking touchdown guys.
    Quit trying to find a silver lining.
    Back to reality. We are not consistent or deep enough to be considered heavyweights.



  13. ZLATAN HRVAT says:

    To all those people saying we would have lost if we played Spain thats false we defeated them 2:1 at Euro 2016.



  14. Anonymous says:

    @Zlatan

    Also before that they needed a 180 foul on
    Corluka header because that ball was going
    In the back of the net.



  15. Poglavnik says:

    I hope beating them in 2016 and not getting a call/missing a free header in 2012 makes people feel better.
    Not sure how it would but for some people it apparently does.



  16. Anonymous says:

    it just means we are not the shit we showed yesterday. If we can bounce back next month this match will be forgotten.



  17. Adame says:

    This can’t be serious ante. What do u mean so what and they shouldn’t care? Losing 2-0 to Brazil. Scrapping by Senegal, Denmark Russia and England, losing 4-2 to France and 6-0 to Spain. You right though so what.



  18. Anonymous says:

    Some of you guys here thought we emerged as a football power. Guess what we are not. I think we barely make the top 10. You must have talked a lot of shit in the bars and to your friends. You bought those cool Nike Jerseys and proudly announced our arrival on the world stage. Croatia is a team that does form time to time score an upset. We should have killed Denmark and Russia but we won by the skin of out teeth The final aganist France was fixed in my opinion though.



  19. Mile says:

    “Argentina was really the only match I thought we were superior in”

    Are you serious? They were better than Nigeria, for Iceland they rested 8 guys. For Denmark, they were better in the first half and extra time. They were better than Russia, not by much. They were waaaay better than England (who had zero shots on goal in 115 minutes). And they outplayed France except for 10 minutes and got screwed by the ref.

    What World Cup were you watching?



  20. Adame says:

    Mile
    Rewatch the matches. We were lathargic against Nigeria beat Denmark and Russia by luck. All three teams we should be dominating every time if we’re at the point of “not having to care” about getting blown out.

    Love this team and was so happy with the World Cup. But one good tournament out of so many shitty other ones and saying that getting blown out
    By a world power is not a big deal is beyond me. This team is strong but we’re not at the level that everyone here makes us out to be



  21. Adame says:

    And Denmark?? What the hell World Cup were u watching bro? We looked like complete ass in that game. Everyone said it.
    Again not saying we didn’t do good in the World Cup cause we did great. Just not sure how we’re at the point of now having to care about getting blown out



  22. Soul Champ says:

    Mario Mandzukic
    Undoubtedly Juventus’ strongest player to this point, Mario has been everything we’ve come to expect and then some. With the highest rating of any Juve player other than Ronaldo, according to WhoScored, Mandzu has made his presence known. He has two goals and one assist so far, but more than that has been involved in most of the better attacking moves. My personal favorite was his cheeky backheel assist to Blaise Matuidi, showcasing his technical ability which some forget when watching him run full throttle for 90 minutes while taking names.

    It is clear that Mandzukic is key to the attacking potential of this team, as he does so many little things for his teammates. He and Ronaldo are able to freely roam back and forth between the center forward and left wing positions, exploiting matchups as required. He holds the ball up for wingers like Federico Bernardeschi and Ronaldo, and is a force in the box. Mario has already won 14 aerial duels in just three matches, a testament to his tireless work. Needless to say, Mandzu is still the non-stop engine we adore. He hasn’t slowed at all from previous seasons, and better yet Marione has brought his sparkling form from the World Cup with Croatia back to Turin



  23. CroatianPerson85 says:

    We had a perfect storm in th WC2018

    We had all 11 guys healthy for the most part up until Suba at the end, playing balls to wall. Usually it’s Modric and a few guys. This tournament even the so called “shitty” players did well enough and played above their level. They punched above their weight some players.

    We also had luck on our side which we haven’t had in a while.
    Nigeria own goal and penalty, Argentina goalie screw up changed the entire game, Argentina now has to open up. Modric brilliance. Iceland was a legit win but Kalinic made some big saves and they hit posts. Denmark garbage goal for garbage goal. Penalties are a lottery. Russia lottery. England Perisic goal, SOME refs would call that a high foot. I think we were better than England that game. Most convincing win.

    However I am a firm believer that luck doesn’t come to those who sit on their hands. Our high press game all out attack and possession with Mandza and Rebic flying helped unlock our potential. We can’t bunker. We are best when we come out and play. We were doing it for 20 min vs Spain but we didn’t have the quality to finish, and or keep it up. We got tired, Spain scored off poor marking and some individually nice goals.

    Good learning lesson for us but nonetheless embarrassing. I don’t think the sky is falling down.



  24. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Denmark were physically tough and ran a lot. They tried to slow the play down every chance they had and they tactically knew they had to do so in order for themself to stay in the game. We had a hard time with that game I agree…but our win was a fair win, they didn’t deserve more than we did.

    To say we were lethargic isn’t really true. Nigeria were our first opponents in the tournament, there was a lot at stake and we knew we had to be patient and cautious at the same time. They were a young and fast team…teams like that can get some wind behind their sail if they get the first goal!



  25. Mr. Black says:

    Stop the negativity.

    Okay, we lost a game (not even an important one).

    Let’s quote a wise man:

    “You deal with it. You pick up the pieces and you go on from there.. So that’s what we’re gonna do” -Tony Soprano



  26. Slavonac from Canada says:

    CroatianPerson…own goal for Nigeria was definitely the same type of own goal we scored yesterday…it was going it but it deflected off the defender, same as it did for Kalinic yesterday.

    The win vs Argentina was earned dude…when you press a goalie as many times as we did, you are bound to pressure them into hurrying up and making a mistake. We caused many chances that way…it was part of the plan…but we didn’t do that yesterday!



  27. Iggy Iggy says:

    Actually i dont htink this loss will stay with us long. It doesn’t bother me at all tbh. The momentous victories stay with you much longer than the losses. We’ll remember ’98 a lot longer than we’ll remember not qualifying for (and failing to defeat Serbia) Euro 2000. That’s just the way it is. I don’t reckon bad losses stick with you that long but great victories always do.



  28. CroatianPerson85 says:

    Slavonac agreed. We made our luck I just feel that Argentina tied Iceland and were screwed once Caballero messed up. They had to open up and push for the win and risk getting caught on the counter. They were exposed with our next 2 goals. We had way too much space. We executed the game plan against them perfectly but it started with the Caballero mistake. Argentina had somewhat of an empty netter before us and didn’t capitalize. We did.

    We tried it yesterday but Santini is no Mandza. I know it was one game and we’re all overreacting. It is our worst loss ever but also this new friendly tourney so I’m not sure how motivated our guys were. Do you think we don’t have the depth we thought we did OR we didn’t show up? Or both?



  29. The truth says:

    I think people should heed the advice I’ve always said and that is to keep an even mind

    Croatia is not a superpower
    Croatia is not a doormat
    Croatia is generally a top 8 to 15th team in Europe
    As a result, Croatia has a punchers chance in tournaments every now and then
    They got that luck in Russia

    I always said the world cup was luck and it clearly was. It doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy every bit of it

    But the level of enjoyment should have been because of how lucky we were to experience it and that we may never again

    You shouldn’t have enjoyed believing this announced ou our arrival on the world stage



  30. Lika Joey says:

    Idiots that say we didn’t earn our victories in the world cup are clueless. Just like mandzukic is a tap-in player.



  31. Lika Joey says:

    Boy, we will miss Mario. Such a unique style of play. He would have pressed yesterday broke up spains rhythm.



  32. The Golden Child says:

    Slavonac:

    Whatever you’re smoking, I would like to try it.

    This loss:

    Not surprised by the loss, but surprised by the beating. We’re coming off a huge world cup, so emotions aren’t there. The two sitters cost us any kind of momentum and hope. No Lovren, a questionable Vida, and Vrsaljko going out early speaks for itself.
    If you can’t get service out of the back, then you might as well forfeit the game. I’m not sure if Dalic put Rog in to see if he could get the ball out of the back comfortably, but we all saw it didn’t work. Barisic also won Pivaric’s spot without having to do anything.

    Shitty to lose the way we did, but with the players that have retired along with the missing and injured, it’s not surprising. At least the U-21s are showing promise.



  33. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Even comments about the games highlights on YouTube etc. are Spain fans saying things like…”Spain always wins when it doenst matter. Sigh” …

    Now I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that comment as Spain has won both the Euros and World cup before… but clearly what that person was implying was that they would much rather have seen Spain winning 6-0 in a game during the previous world cup …then this less important nations league game.

    Once again ..yes 6-0 is a bad result but our boys did show up and play on the biggest stage of them all ..so let’s not get down on them too hard after 1 shitty nations league game.



  34. Bobby V says:

    Sometimes, it’s just the obvious.

    Croatia’s back line was Rog, Mitrovic, Pivaric and Vida.

    WTF, Slaven Belupo would have scored 3-4 against that.

    Luis Enrique not acknowledging that is putting himself under more pressure in future matches. He chose to soak up the praise.



  35. T Bone says:

    The backline was garbage and once the Atletico man went down the floodgates opened. Not a huge surprise. Embarassing yes, surprising no. Win against England is the remedy.



  36. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    How many matches in total go into the UNL? Do we play each team twice?

    Personally, I would rather see Croatia go through full qualifying. It helps the team learn to play well together under pressure. That process is what got us to the world cup final. It’s also why our players played such classy football at Euro 2016. I suppose that getting to the semifinal or final of the UNL wouldn’t be bad, but the key is for the team to develop into a contender again in 2020. And yes: I consider Croatia to be a regular contender because of the depth of talent in the football system. When that talent can come together as a team, the result is world-class football.



  37. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Croatianperson85,

    You asked: “Do you think we don’t have the depth we thought we did OR we didn’t show up? Or both?”

    My opinion…I think we don’t have depth and we weren’t prepared for this game but I certainly don’t think Vrsaljko leaving the game made things get that bad…although I admit I couldn’t watch the game.

    Without actually seeing the game my bet is that players didn’t fulfill their assignments defensively and they lost motivation once we were down. Also, every team needs a warrior or two, not sure who provided that yesterday?

    Sure, we can all say this was just a bad game, a kiks, or whatever else but prior to the World Cup I was concerned about us having enough character, mentally strong guys that work through things and know how to lift the team. I hope this last game was really just that, a bad game but I really think it’s a bit more.

    We keep calling for players like Pjaca, Kovacic, Caleta-Car to start getting minutes so when they do they have to make them count or we have a bunch of names with nothing else.



  38. Anonymous says:

    “When have we been most successful as a team? When we press high and don’t allow our opponents to walk into our third of the field unchallenged….quite honestly, from the little I saw, we lost our game-plan, we had a fucking horrible shape, the few players that were out of position caused an insecure environment…the players lost their heads and Dalic did diddly squat to improve that!”

    Lol and you didn’t even watch the game.

    You’re full of shit you meathead!

    That Anonymous comment you had a go at wasn’t mine.
    In future if hasn’t got you being called a Mandzukic fanboy it’s not mine, just so you know.



  39. Anonymous says:

    Our work rate without the ball has always been a problem for this team, we can be lazy at times, it’s something I mentioned well before the world cup and @Mandzukic fanboy from Canada jumped on before the Greece game lol!

    It was the Greece game in the first leg (without Mandzukic) where I noticed a marked improvement in our work rate when we didn’t have the ball, that is the reason we did well at the world cup, work rate.

    We started well, Vrsaljko got injured, Spain scored 2 goals. At this point does anyone believe Croatia can score 2 goals to get back in it? I don’t. So why would they keep working when they know there’s going to be no reward at the end of day?

    I think this result shows that we haven’t got the most talented players and when our work rate drops off we’re a very ordinary team, not as ordinary as @Mandzukic fanboy from Canada’s comments though.



  40. Iggy says:

    Everyone just chill. We World Cup silver medalists. I gonna cut th guys some slack for a while after that momentous effort. This is some pissy tourney no one gives a single toss about. When qualifiers start in March we’ll be good.



  41. Soul Champ says:

    @ Lika Joey

    I remember Mandžukić leading the Bayern line to CL glory and fools were talking that “tap in” nonsense.

    Now is indispensable at Juve.

    And YES .. no striker is even close to his quality in Croatia.

    He is a slinky body type that does not carry extra weight.

    He is 32 !?

    He is going to play through 36.

    He can physically play for both Euro and World Cup.

    He is our Klose.

    Curious if he reconsiders?

    I know England hope he does have a prodigal moment before October!



  42. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Anonymous, I see you get beat up here quite often, cause people see right through your childish comments and know you’re more of a troll than a contributor.

    I saw highlights, I said it earlier and I read some comments. Is that hard to understand?



  43. T Bone says:

    “We haven’t got the most talented players?” All I can I say is Ivan Perisic. Talent. Any fool that says otherwise is worse than a fool. The guy is wasted on Inter Milan imo as he’d wreck opposition on teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, and I’ll say it Real Madrid. Fuck it put him on Juve.



  44. Lika Joey says:

    Soul champ, Mario makes everyone else work harder with his style of play. His defensive ability and power winning balls in the air are second to none. He opens up space and makes the crucial pass which often leads to goals. We need to put pressure on fast transition teams like Spain. Rebic…A fit Pjaca…Rebic are our hope. I love Brekalo i think sky is the limit for the kid.



  45. Tomo7 says:

    Losing 6 nil. Wtf.
    Gotta be more to the story. Obviously underestimated Spain motivation. Maybe they were expecting a soft game. Probably got bad Intel from Spanish players.
    At least will get to extract revenge in a couple of months at home. Hopefully they’re more angry than embarrassed Because I would be asking for blood!



  46. Maminjo says:

    LOL at the idiot comments here saying that we were lucky at the World Cup.

    We hit the post or crossbar EVERY GAME yet I see ppl quoting the one or two times that the opponent hit our post, and somehow WE are the lucky ones.

    Denmark was incredibly lucky that Rebić didn’t manage to poke that ball in as he was going down. 9 out of 10 times, that ball rolls into the net anyway. Plus no red card given AND we unfortunately miss that penalty.

    Denmark had some massive horseshoes up their asses that game.

    France was incredibly lucky they had ref who ensured that they maintained a lead at all times. They also had another day’s rest prior to the final. If France went down a goal in that first half (as they should have), we’d probably have won the game in the same fashion as we won against Argentina. Croatia definitely got screwed in that final.



  47. AB says:

    I wonder how many people will put their hand up and take back all the negative Mandzukic comments they made on this forum.
    Now he’s getting praised left right and centre.

    I’m not denying it, he’s extremely important but I’m just highlighting the type of narod we are.

    You can add Rakitic to the mix also.

    I think someone above said it, I think we need to cut the guys some slack, wc runners up, they deserve to get a bad performance out of their system. Agree.

    Za Dom spremni!



  48. Soul Champ says:

    @ AB

    Exactly the type of narod we need to call out.

    @ Luck thinking smotani

    Should of cruised through play offs with no extra time.

    Final .. we got the luck of the whistle?

    LMFAO

    @ Dalić

    England win and this 6-0 is just a wonderful wake up call.

    England loss and your ass will be on the hot seat.

    Fair .. no .. reality .. yes.

    Hopefully Rebic and Kramaric will get back.

    Barisic at LB.

    At least he will not let RW get goal side.



  49. Maminjo says:

    @Lika Joey

    And one of Dalić’s biggest mistakes in this tournament was subbing out Perišić in both the Denmark and Russia games.

    He’s lucky it didn’t cost him the game, but you do NOT sub out Perišić, EVER.

    Perišić proved that in the England and France games.



  50. Soul Champ says:

    @ Maminjo

    “..you do NOT sub out Perišić, EVER.”

    Best statement .. EVER!

    Perišić is our most dynamic player.

    Figure out what the rest of the team need to do to bring him into the game.

    Also LB would be nice who he doesn’t have to be hand held.



  51. ZLATAN HRVAT says:

    Maybe Modric and Rakitic should have retired if they were undecided about National Team Retirement then we could have started a full rebuild.



  52. IvO says:

    Drago Ćosić got fired. What else could go wrong.?
    He was the best. I will never forget his play by play
    during the revenge match againist the Turks.



  53. Rafael says:

    The remainder of Nations League game should only include young players. No regulars like Modric, Perisic, Rakitic, Lovren or Vida should NOT be included.

    Dalic needs to give younger players minutes to determine if he wants them around next year. Our top stars are clearly burned out and should only focus on their club teams. We are not as deep as France or Spain and other bigger Euro nations. And if we lose with a young squad so be it. Its smarter to lose with youngsters than dress burned out stars and expect them to perform as if it is the World Cup.

    There is no need for Raktic or Modric to retire. Simply don’t over use them. Dalic played Modric vs Portugal. Why?

    Playing Kovacic on the right side vs spain was a dumb move. He is a center midfielder. Use him there or place him on the bench. Pjaca needs minutes. He is a winger and yet Dalic starts Kovacic there?

    Dalic could almost do no wrong pre world cup and during the mundial. But these 2 post world cup games were full of errors and Dalic needs also get over his world cup hang over and clear his head. Dalic must generate a vision for the future. His has this season to determine who is a fit for next years Euro qualification.



  54. Soul Champ says:

    @ Rafael

    I thought that was the plan for every country in UNL top tier.

    But everyone is bringing their A squad.

    U21 – Euro campaign has thrown a monkey wrench in the youngster plan.

    They have a big match in October against Greece for first place in the group.

    Shout out to Rebić as he was missed big time.

    Brozovic is too young to have a World Cup hang over?

    Curious if Dalić is willing/able to fine tune tactics against England?

    They are very predictable but on that counter they are lightening fast. Plus they seem to always be a threat on set pieces.



  55. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    @ Slavonac,

    Stop being a weirdo, please! I’m begging you. I’m seriously begging you to stop being a weirdo.

    A few notes for you:

    1. You give your full game analysis and then tell us that you didn’t watch the game. Riddle me that?

    2. You tell Golden Child to stop using his alias. Does that mean Slavonac from Canada is your Legal name? Come on man!



  56. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Golden Child is your buddy…he has two different names on here. 1) his real name and 2) Golden Child

    Kvartuc, I gave my two cents, not the full game.

    You know what? I’m seriously almost about done with this site! Someone challenges you and you immediately get dirty, the thing is that I challenge your comments and opinions and you always know full-well who you’re dealing with…correct? I never go from Slavonac to Fred and back but Golden does that and you know it!

    Golden Child is also someone else that posts on here…I only use this one name on this site and I always have.

    I am gonna back off from here for a while. I’m really tired of defending myself and my stance…ie…do not protest vs walk off the field or Hajduk vs Dinamo, Mamic, Modric, Lovren…or Mandzukic is far more valuable than Kalinic.

    These topics are exhausting…and you and your little buddies lack the common decency to own up and back off…you then carry on as if nothing happened.

    I’ll come back in a month or two but this is my last post for now!



  57. The Golden Child says:

    @Slavonac

    It’s Matt Lebo…The Golden Child has been my name on here for 10 years.

    The smoking part was due to this:

    “I wasn’t able to watch the game but I saw a few miserable hi-lights.”

    – it’s hard to comment on stuff you don’t see. Highlight reels never show the full picture, and it’s just not a good way to assess an entire game.

    “Is this a case of him letting some success get to his head and him thinking he’s some smart coach with a magic wand?”

    – This is the case of injuries and retirements. We just came off a huge tournament, and the current tournament is basically a harder way to qualify for Euros. Bake that in with everybody starting a season at their respective clubs and our lack of depth. I don’t really fault Dalic for trying, even if it was a horrible failure.

    How on earth can he justify playing Rog as a right back?

    – See above. Also, our defenders can’t get the ball up since they are all in panic and survival mode. If we actually had more than one true starter in the back, then it may have mattered more.

    The whole “how croatia is usually successful” part:

    – That stems on having all of our talent available. We missed two sitters in the first 15 min, then lost the strongest part of our defense (that we had available), and put a bunch of young kids in there. What you’re asking for, with the talent at hand, is nothing short of a miracle.

    The whole Dalic thing:

    Mandzo is gone. Things have to change. That’s going to take some figuring out.

    “I’ll never stop talking about Mandzukic on here because many of you…including Kvartuc and Anonymous, Crnkovic (silky skills) were Kalinic jock-sniffers”

    L.O.L. Watch the interview we did with Zoric before the WC. I personally got slammed for wanting to put Mandzo in over Kramaric who was on a hot streak. Whoever chose Kalinic out of the group wasn’t a jock sniffer. The guy actually scores goals and plays professionally. If he wasn’t such a mujo, then it would be great to have had him this game…since he scored the winner against Spain in the prior game.

    Watching Anthony Zoric (a low knowledge individual that knows shit) recycle anti Modric articles prior to every game….

    Zoric was one of the main guys going after the authors slamming Croatia before the match. He actually connected us with people in Australia and Croatia to give us the full story of the propoganda “Croatian journalists” were funneling before every game.

    If anything he was the exact opposite of what you’re talking about. So I’m not exactly sure where you’re coming from, but Ante is also a Hajduk guy. He can have his opinion on a main rival, and players that come from there.

    He’s also the only one of us that flew to Russia to watch the semifinal and final.

    I just think you got a little out of hand with your comments, and your arm chair quarterbacking. We’ve all had shit takes. I wrote an article about how bad Mandzo was when I first started at CSR. Over the years, I changed my opinion because I was able to see him improve, and I also had a better understanding of the game.



  58. Hrvat says:

    @Slavonac

    I hope you continue to post on here. You by far have the best comments when it comes to the game and formations. You do a great job of calling bs on all the anti Modric, anti Dinamo etc which is a running Theme on this site.



  59. Anthony Zoric says:

    I did post Modric’s reaction to the question about Mamic on twitter because he really got heated about it. I said that I did not think it was an appropriate question the day before Croatia’s opening match. I also called out Holiga every time he posted a negative article about Croatia before a World Cup match. Slavonac you are a very passionate Croatia fan but sometimes you go a bit too far. All of us want what’s best for Croatian football. Dalic was a huge part of the success at WC 18. This was a difficult loss but The game would have been much different if we scored first which we should have. I have full trust in Dalic and I know we will get back to winning when our key players return from injury



  60. Lika Joey says:

    Dalic, with his limited options, could have seen there was no hope after we were 3 down and taken some type of defensive shape. We are lucky it wasn’t 8 nothing.



  61. Mr. Black says:

    What’s going on?

    We just accomplished something amazing and historical and … after one single loss (in a more or less friendly game, everything falls apart.

    As if everything and everyone is bad… Just stick together and we’ll be back.

    Dok je srca, bit će i Kroacije!



  62. Lika Joey says:

    Mr. Black, you’re a good man brother! At the end of the day, we all post stuff occasionally out of emotion and anger…we are all proud Croatians that’s why we are here. I respect everyone except for that goof turkey and Truth aka (Ziva). This 6:0 is like getting raped in front of your women. This blew my mind!!



  63. crnkovic says:

    hey Slavonac. pointing out that kalinic is a player with some useful attributes doesn’t equate to jocksniffing in any way. whats wrong with you? us Croats have such a dodgy mentality. anyway please stay on the site bro



  64. Iggy says:

    Everyone is missing one glaring reason this all happened. Lots of talk about lineup and hangovers but u know the real reason we lost like this: WHITE PANTS !!! This is the one difference bn WC and now !!! Never wear black top with white pants again!!!! LEL



  65. Soul Champ says:

    @ Poglavnik

    Funny how folks think that is so simple yet Super Mario does it in every big match he has ever played in for Croatia and his clubs.

    Klose won a World Cup at age 36.

    Why can’t Mandzukic at least lift a Euro at age 34?

    Hopefully he wanted no part of UNL and will be the prodigal player.

    @ Slavonac

    Nema veza.

    Nije bitno.

    Mi smo svi Hrvati.

    Ovidje imamo strani ljudi tko ne voli Hrvatska.

    Ti voliš Hrvatska to je naj bitno.

    Ako znaš .. onde znaš!!



  66. Anonymous says:

    @Crnkovic

    So when you said “us Croats have a dodgy mentality” you weren’t speaking about Zambian Croats which is what you are, and you admit to having a Zambian mentality, which as far as I know no one else here has.

    What you shoulda said was “you Croats have dodgy mentality.”

    Having two mentalities! I don’t know what to say, lol!

    Use your brain fella.



  67. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    It would be nice to see Mandzo come back but he pulled a Seinfeld and wanted to leave on a high note.

    But dont panic everyone …Perisic, Kramaric and Rebic are just as capable of scoring goals and it’s easy to argue that we have the best midfielders in the world with Modric, Rakitic, Kovacic and Brozovic.

    It’s not realistic to win every single game until the end of time…so we will tie some, we will lose some .. isnt it better to lose games that don’t matter as much?



  68. Andrej L says:

    Really glad to hear that Vrsaljko returned back to running during training and smart that he went off on Tues. With regards to Perisic getting subbed off in the knock out games, I think it had to do with the fact that he played during the Iceland game and ran a lot. He does do a lot of long sprints which makes it hard to play at a high level full game (lactic acid build up). I’m not saying he can’t play full games, but recovery time was probably a factor.

    Also, no need to get sensitive and call each other names just because someone disagrees with you. Plenty of people have a different perspective than you. Everyone here has different level training/coaching/or just playing FIFA and overall commitment to watching games. We’re all just fans and not the GMs of the Repka. Although, I personally feel that Iggy should be for be shits and giggles. Ante, go down under and interview that man!



  69. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Also I dont know why some of you guys are getting all upset about each others opinions. Everyone is gonna have their opinions on players, tactics etc. … who really cares? Just debate each other .. we’re discussing soccer here, not life or death things to get upset over.

    Everyone should be entitled to their opinions (even the trolls) as long as they are on topic and its not something completely unrelated.

    Oh and always remember ..an opinion is like an ass …everyone has got one and most of them are full of shit.



  70. Foreign Zagreb says:

    Mamic said he did good because most of the Croatian World Cup squad originated from Dinamo Zagreb one of the most if not the most represented by Club. Dule Savic said Mamic is Dinamo Zagreb most important player.



  71. Andrej L says:

    @Toronto -it’s that Canadian let’s all just along propaganda that got to us both hhaha
    Speaking of Zagreb, word on the street is that Dani Olmo got his citizenship. Personally, I’m not for it but that’s my opinion ;)



  72. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @T.O Cro and Andrej – spot on. It’s ok to disagree no need to lose our shit or get angry with one another.

    Completely different topic. How much do you guys care if Modric wins best player and if he does how big a deal is it for us? I personally think it’s huge.

    So far most articles I’ve read say Modric is “statistically” the favourite but we’ll see. Thoughts?



  73. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @ Slavonac re your response. I agree with other players not pulling their socks up, players not caring enough and also not having the depth but politely disagree concerning Vrsaljko’s infkuence at the back vs Spain. I personally think that if we lose a starter (some positions have a greater effect more than others) we don’t have an ample amount of like quality reinforcements specifically D and Striker. If Vrsaljko comes off we’re toast at RB vs top 10 countries and with our LB we got by this WC.

    I can’t remember who wrote it but Mandza’s importance will be noticed more now that he isn’t with the NT. I always knocked him but he does score important goals. There’s a reason the Italians love him in Juve and as a foreigner that is hard to do as a striker who is not scoring a lot especially in a country like Italy.

    I think most people here would agree our LB’s played above what we expected from them this WC. Even Lovren was solid this WC and most people here, myself included, expected worse from him going into the tournament. His one and only glaring bonehead move was the handball vs Iceland. Aside from that I thought he was stellar.

    Strinic and Pivaric are not top LB players. Once Vrsaljko came off vs Spain everything changed. I watched the game and most people noticed the change as well. I’m not knocking because you only saw the highlights but it was evident how much weaker we were on his side once he came off.



  74. CroatianPerson85 says:

    PS @ Soul Champ and Iggy – you have to be the most positive posters on here. Good on you both, I like your outlook, it’s refreshing.



  75. Poglavnik says:

    I’m sorry, Iggy’s cool by me but positive he is not.
    He thinks were gonna lose every bloody game. Dude is a nervous mess! At least he got it right the other day..
    @Toronto Croatia
    It’s actually a Costanza move. And a beauty!



  76. Iggy says:

    TBH i find it hard to not be positive what we’ve just achieved this WC. How can u not be positive now?

    Some of u dudes are so negative and even angry abotu this 6-0 result. I mean, just take a step back and think about it.

    WE JUST GOT THE SILVER MEDAL IN THE WC

    I couldn’t care if we lose our next matches too, i really dont even give a cheeky wank. What we accomplished is a massive feat to stay with us forever! It’s impossible to not still be elated imo!

    On this tourney, i said before i wasnt expecting much and, well, here we are. I’m not too bothered if we lose every game; long as we are playing okay in March is okay with me. TBH i dont know why some of u ppl care SO much about this meaningless quasi-friendly result. I almost think it’s funny that after all the stress, determination, energy and output of our team during the WC, they finally collapsed and it all caved in finally in this game. It’s almost poetry, it almost ADDS to the mystique of what we did in the WC cos it shows how focused they were, how hard they concentrated and how high their output was. There was ALWAYS gonna be a letdown, hangover, fall, etc. We’re lucky it came now and now in proper qualies!

    Wheeeee !

    We’re Silver medalists!!! *Dancing around work office*

    :)



  77. Iggy says:

    I just want to add i WAS pessimistic before because i lived through all the ill-fated recent years of the Vatreni.

    But the shackles are off now. This wc was a MASSIVE relief to all of us, both players and fans. It’s like when you accomplish a life goal, it’s hard to know where to go from there. But i just personally feel content now and im not going to be pessimistic so much now i dont think cos we already did something awesome with this gen of players.

    If we start losing every 2 years in major tourneys in shitty ways like we had before this WC for another 10 years the pessimism might return lol but right now how can u not be content and full of jouissance ?



  78. Soul Champ says:

    @ CP85

    Hvala Brate.

    @ TC

    Great point about having your own perspective with the posts.

    In the beginning, 10 years ago, I was surprised when folks got personal over ideas like we could win a World Cup?

    It was like I disrespected their domaći pršut.

    That’s why I had to develop the Self-Hating Hrvati thesis.

    It’s cynical to call a fellow Hrvat names because he sees things different than you.

    I see three types on this site:

    1- Fun loving Hrvati who enjoy shooting the breeze about all things Croatian.

    2- Self hating Hrvati who need a hug.

    3- Enemies of Croatia who project there shadow self onto Ljepa Naša.

    Group 1. Always has my respect regardless of disagreement.

    Group 2. I pray for.

    Group 3. ZDS.



  79. crnkovic says:

    anon everybody is effected by their upbringing and culture etc. a man who is from a chinese family but lived his whole life in Ireland, drinking with the boys, learnt all the irish songs, irish history, married an irish girl, convert to catholicism could be a huge the fan of ireland its people and its land. he would know ALL about the irish mentality, for better and for worse. he would also know all about chinese culture and mentality. so that person has like double knowledge. not half. in addition through his life long love for and support for all things irish, he would be accepted 100% and be allowed to say “fuck me why do we always do this” when things turn to shit. and all that is without a single drop of irish blood in him. I’m half croat, i feel it in my blood. i’m sorry if thats not good enough for you, to qualify me to talk as a croat. but it doesn’t surprise me because i know where your mentality comes form, and its got nothing to do with Croatia. everything to do with germanic romanticism and psuedo scientific justification for elite skullduggery transposed onto an uneducated and insecure dispossed anglosaxon population in britain and the USA. If there is fraud on here, its you. i’ll wipe the floor with you any day of the week with your bullshit. no hard feelings though. we brothers



  80. crnkovic says:

    you have a mum and a dad. you understand them both? yeah. its not that hard. you love them both? you are loyal to both. tribalism is quite pathetic. as for racialism, it’s a concoction to justify imperialist brutality. just read up on it. there are no such thing as “races” its made up. if you start somewhere in the world and move slowly you will see a gradual change in skin colour and features within nations and across nations, the boundaries are imaginary. its like light itself. this one might get you thinking. even the colours, red, green, yellow, blue are all ARBITRARY drawn boundaries its just one slowly changing wavelength with literally infinite gradations that have no natural demarcation. demarcations are invented by people….



  81. BZ says:

    @CP85- It is Soul’s positivity about EVERY player that got us a 6-0 loss.
    Soul, I love you man, and I write this with a bit of tongue in cheek, but with also a bit of truth.
    We finally start Kova at RW…bam nothing 6-0.
    Soul has been the only person big on Rog’s potential, and we finally see his face….bam 6-0
    Ivan “the great” (as Soul calls him) Santini starts and…bam 6-0

    Truth be told, I thought Kova at RW would work better too.

    @Slavonac-I hear you man, crazy to think I had long running debates on this site defending Mandzukic, Modric, Perisic, Vrsaljko, and Rakitic in the past few years. I am willing to let it go now, as we were right all along.



  82. The Golden Child says:

    @toronto Canada

    “Oh and always remember ..an opinion is like an ass …everyone has got one and most of them are full of shit. Everyone should be entitled to their opinions (even the trolls) as long as they are on topic and its not something completely unrelated.”

    This should be stickied to the top of every post as the first comment.



  83. Soul Champ says:

    @‘BZ
    Lmao .. all good .. fortunately I do not need to be right.

    “the great” Santini was toungue and cheek for me as well .. all though big dude should have buried his chance.

    Kovačić after Vrsaljko went down was not going to be supported by CDM Rog playing RB.

    Kovačić may not be a RW but he needs to play instead of Brozovic if Marcelo is not interested in running on the day.

    6-0 will be our reference until we get the next chapter going of what is our beloved Vatreni.



  84. BZ says:

    @Soul-I like the Dalic experiments. We now know what NOT to do.

    To be fair, you have been right more times than not…Manventus, World Class Vrsaljko, and Love for Lovren even when myself and many others ripped him new a-holes…to list a few.



  85. Anonymous says:

    @Crnkovic

    “If there is fraud on here, its you.”

    A guy with an admitted dodgy mentality calling me a fraud, I just gotta lol!

    Anyway, a wise Englishman that converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism/Protestantism once said, “To become a Catholic is not to leave off thinking, but to learn how to think.” So you see his mentality is different to those Englishman that are Anglican even though he’s an Englishman himself.

    So your mentality is not the same as a prototypical Croats mentality.
    Mine and your mentality are not the same, yours is “dodgy” mine is not.

    I got no problem with you calling yourself a Croat, but when you say your mentality is the same as mine that’s were I gotta take exception. In future speak for yourself and use your brain.

    Oh yeah, Crnkovic was the first to be bullish about Rog’s potential, he called him the next Steven Gerrard, Soul Champ jumped on later.





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