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The Good ‘Ol Days: Vatreni Announce Themselves To The World In ’98

March 26, 2020




It’s unclear exactly when the world started taking Croatian football seriously.



Some may say it happened in November 1994, when Croatia defeated World Cup finalists Italy 2-1 in Palermo, during their first qualifying campaign as an independent Croatia.

Others say defeating Denmark 3-0 at EURO ’96 to book Croatia’s first knockout round match put the Vatreni on the map.

However, if those two matches didn’t catch your eye as a neutral fan, Croatia defeating EURO ’96 champions Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the 1998 World Cup did not go unnoticed. Christian Worns picked up a critical red card for Germany in the 40th minute and Robert Jarni would send Croatia to the locker room at half time with a 1-0 lead after a mean left-footed shot from outside the box. Both Goran Vlaović and Davor Šuker would score inside the last 10 minutes of the match to cap off, arguably, the second greatest victory in Croatian football history.






Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 39 comments

  1. Crotown says:

    I vividly remember the pride I felt in 98 when our guys just kicked ass- especially the beat down on Germany- in Toronto – Croatian pride was brimming- only my Italian buddies knew what Croatia could do in soccer – the rest of the ethnic groups here had no idea as we were a new country to the world- we had such Croatian attitude – anger and skill intertwined – hard to describe- but it’s our style- jebi se- to everybody who played us
    Loved it!!!

  2. Maminjo says:

    Euro 96 (both qualifying and the tournament) was an awesome time for me.

    Walking into Italy and beating the shit out of them, so shortly after they just got back from the ’94 World Cup finals and all the Italians I know all bitter about the loss.

    We just won the Silver in Olympic Basketball against Dream Team USA, and now we were gonna achieve similar glory in football.

    Serbs were so damn jealous too. Fresh after the war, and Croatia tops everything Yugoslavia ever did in like six short years.

  3. Iggy says:

    i always felt we were invincible then. Maybe i was just young idk, but i felt like we were so impenetrable, i never felt that in 2018, 2018 was such a different story, we were fragile but resilient, very odd team 2018 lol

  4. Miloš Hvar says:

    i was just a couple years old during the 98 world cup so obviously have no recollection of it. I’d hear about it growing up and how everyone watched together at my grandparents and how proud they all were. My first report in high school I did it about the 98 team and was proud to share my heritage with everyone and tell people how good Croatia is. I always wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to witness another run like that. Heartbreaks like ’08, ’12 and ’16 were huge blows but i never doubted we could do it. The 2018 World Cup gave the generation that missed ’98 that special opportunity. We have been validated as a soccer nation with staying power.

  5. Iggy Iggy says:

    Totes on Milos,

    One thing i had this time – well i had both times, was watchinig the whole thing with my old man, but now he’s 82 so it was soooo great to have this cos obv idk how long he has left, he got to see this remarkable, amazing achievement of our guys, and i got to spend it with him, i will forever be indebted to the Vatreni for that, love this team and thank them so much!

  6. Maminjo says:

    These transfers to the Middle East and China almost NEVER work.

    It’s baffling to me that these transfers continue to happen.

    These teams pay high transfer fees and player salaries, and the player almost always ends up having either a terrible season, ends up injured, or just hates it there and leaves after a few games.

  7. Canuckcro says:

    God bless you@hrvat..even my great good italian friend was flabbergasted when I showed him some of croatian Canadians achievements.,soccer hockey chuvalo..even he said you will never see a pro team in north america named after a European country .ever.Fact is we got backbone..every other ethnic group just comply.. like slave mentality.We are here for only.. so long .,earth..planets.,sun.etc will end.God will persecute evil garbage people for eternity..there’s some serious frigin fucked up leaders out there jebiga..they will burn in hell forever.

  8. Razbijač says:

    I fondly remember that period from ’94-’98. This was the dawn of modern Croatian football as we know it!

    It began with victory over the Italians in Palermo ’94 and culminated into a 3rd place finish in ’98.

    Now just imagine if Croatia was able to participate in World Cup ’94. With Suker, Boban, and Boksic and Co. at the peak of their powers.

    Just imagine how FIRED UP they woulda been heading into the tournament, representing our newly born nation–with part of our soil STILL occupied by our adversary….

    …Surely the entire N. American Diaspora woulda bought every freakin ticket available for Croatia games. The atmosphere woulda been insane!

    Being that fired up, with that kinda intense patriotic support in the stands, I have no doubt Croatia woulda taken the tournament by Storm!

  9. Maminjo says:

    I watched some stupid documentary called “The Last Yugoslavian football team” or something like that, and it was your basic Yugo-nostalgia documentary pumping up how good that Yugo team was, filled with Ivica Osim interviews and footage from the point when they won the U20 World Cup in Chile in 1987 to the 1990 World Cup penalty shootout loss to finalists Argentina.

    The elephant in the room that the 1987 Youth competition was won by Croats, and all the future talent on that 1990 Yugo team were Croats.

    The documentary implies that, as Yugoslavia, the sky was the limit for what they could have achieved…but unfortunately, the breakup will prevent us from seeing what could have been, lol.

    The reality, is that any 1994 or 1998 Yugo World Cup team could not have done any better than the Croatian National Team could.

    All those legendary players from Bosna and Serbia, were either too old or simply not good enough to make an impact in future tournaments.

    Bosna’s Hadžibegić and Sušić were very old and were done by 1990. Sušić was like 35 then. Hadžibegić’s career was also done by 93/94.

    Serbia’s best player Piksi Stojković sucks, and would not start ahead of any one of Boban, Prosinecki, Asanovic or even Stanić. Heck, even poor Prosinecki couldn’t get starts for us in 1998.

    Slovenia’s best player at the time (Katanec) is actually an ethnic Croat….and Macedonia’s best player (Pančev) turned out to be a complete bust only two years after that World Cup.

    Only the Crnogorci – Mijatović and (maybe) and older Savićević…would have helped. But Savićević is several years older than our players, and dropped off a lot in the mid-90s. He would not have started on our Euro 96 squad anyway. He would have made a good cheerleader though.

    Really, it’s only just Predrag Mijatović, lol.

    One player.
    That’s all the rest of that Federation could offer us in terms of any player that could make an impact for us during those years, lol.

    There’s such a massive talent gap in football between Croatia and everyone else in that region, it’s not even funny.

  10. Luftwafa says:

    Silly Croats. You’ve never seen a nation be more proud of their constant failures. In Germany we Celebrate championships not third place finishes. Your third greatest game ever was a quarterfinal victory? Sad. I guarantee you Germans are not celebrating any quarterfinal victories

  11. Iggy Iggy says:

    NYC is fucked.. i honestly pray for you guys in the States, Trump has been dreadful in this thing, i hope u will all be okay, love u guys!

  12. Poglavnik says:

    Im seeing lots of morons out in Brooklyn enjoying a sunny day in the park. Other big cities are doing a better job of not letting that happen.

  13. Elviss says:

    Iggy, WTF are you talking about? Trump has done a good
    Job. You must watch CNN all day.
    What an ignorant comment.

  14. bill of rights says:

    Iggy, it seems like you are one of the many brain washed. you follow the media off a cliff like the rest of the lemmings. cnn and MSNBC can barely conceal their smiles each night as they cheer on the death rate because they think it will hurt trump. these guys are low level scum. they fear monger. and they are happy to see America suffer it means trump falls and their liberal agenda carries on . in the end, America will be just fine. it always it.. it’s a powerful and efficient machine unlike any other place in the history of the world

  15. Maminjo says:

    Canada can’t talk either.

    In Vancouver, people were all out and about in the park and on the beaches.

    Numbers will spike in both countries.

  16. Anonymous says:

    For me coronavirus is a lot more serious than what happened in 2018’s flu season in the US (80,000 deaths, in the US alone), the reason is because the news is telling us about every single death from coronavirus, whereas I wasn’t given a daily update on the deaths from the flu in 2018, imagine we were, it would’ve been a pandemic.

  17. Maminjo says:


    The mortality rate of COVID-19 isn’t the serious issue.

    You’re right in that it’s pretty low, and likely lower than what’s reported because we aren’t testing a lot of people who simply didn’t have many (or any) symptoms.

    It’s the fact that it is a lot more contagious and we don’t want everyone to catch it at the same time (like what’s going on in Italy right now).

    The mortality rate in Italy is higher because they just don’t have the doctors and equipment to keep older and immuno compromised people alive enough to recover. They are literally picking and choosing who gets to live and who gets to die.

    Everyone catching this virus in April is going to result in more deaths, than if everyone catches this virus over a sixth month period instead.

    If everyone catches it together, then there will be 15 coronavirus patients in need of a hospital bed for every one bed available.

    This is why they want everyone to isolate. So we can drag this out and lower the hospital bed demand per month.

    But I guess the economy is more important than old and sick people. It’s pretty much where America wants to go.

  18. Suba says:

    Yeah is the economic cost worth saving a few thousand oldies

    Not sure to me because the oldies have had it good since ww2 and by the way are blowing their inheritance with their stupid cruise shipping holidays

    The job losses across the board is simply not worth it

    If this continues there will be more fingers pointed to the Chinese or conspiracy theories will take hold which usually means that it’s the Jews behind it all wanting the economy to crash so they can repossess our homes

    So fuckin sad if you ask me

    Time to get real people we are just fuckin stupid

  19. Poglavnik says:

    Vancouver shut it down pretty good since. That was last week when the weather was good for a few days. A lot of things have shut down since. Saw footage of a Brooklyn park today and it looked packed! Team sports and shit being played. Crazy! Not smart.

  20. Maminjo says:

    The only sad thing is how people are showing how little regard they have for human life.

    Nobody is not worth saving, especially not because they are old and “had it good” since WW2 and apparently go on cruises.

    If Trump and all these decision making politicians feel this way as well, then they should all be given the Coronavirus, with no access to any testing or respirator (and let the chips fall where they may).

    It’s so easy for these cowards to talk when they have the wealth and ability to not have to work, isolate themselves in a large home with multiple handlers running all their shopping and other errands for them (along with having access to as much testing, and a respirator if they ever need it).

    Take away their access to health care workers, equipment, and testing…make them do their own groceries and have to expose themselves to the public, and you’ll see how quickly they turn.

  21. Millennial warrior says:

    The boomers are finally getting what they deserve. A virus directed directly at the boomers to balance the scales of all they’ve taken from the country and society

  22. Poglavnik says:

    Hey Millennial Warroir, finish up your avocado toasts and get yourself a fuckin job! jj
    Love being a Gen Xer and a bystander in all this Millenial/Boomer squabbling :)

  23. Poglavnik says:

    Hey Millennial Warroir, finish up your avocado toast and get yourself a fuckin job! jj
    Love being a Gen Xer and a bystander in all this Millenial/Boomer squabbling :)

  24. Maminjo says:

    Millennial Warrior is just the same dude posting with a different username to try and get a reaction.

    One day he’s a Frenchman, next day he’s a Spaniard, the other day it was a German…now he’s a Millennial.

    I thought this non-binary identity crisis only affected people who suffered from some kind of gender dysphoria…but I guess it can expand to other areas.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “bill of rights” said: “America will be just fine. it always it.. it’s a powerful and efficient machine unlike any other place in the history of the world”.

    Why? Do you believe in magic dirt or a Holy Constitution? The United States was founded by whites, built by whites for over two centuries and still has the largest white population of any country on earth.

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