Dan O. Rados


Croatia and Spain offered an exceptional game demonstrating in 120 minutes of entertaining plays high skill and talent in both offense and defense play. During the regular part of the game, there were some very good opportunities which resulted in no scores. After the final score of 0:0, there followed the overtime competition. Here, the Spanish team demonstrated more skill and the final score was Croatia 4 and Spain 5.

The best player of the final League cup was Marcelo Brozovic. He played for a full period of 120 minutes and run 16.5 kilometers, as recorded by UEFA. The best player of the Final Four was proclaimed Spain’s star Rodri.

The Croatian fans were not disappointed; they welcomed a new medal to the well-established and growing Croatian collection. The Croatians in the Homeland and those in the Diaspora reacted in unison with pride for the accomplishments of the exceptional team.

It is not easy to count all significant moments as we watched Dalic, Modric, Kovacic, Perisic, and & as they repeatedly elevated the Croatian fans to levels of elation. Perhaps we do not fully grasp the achievements this national team has attained during the past five years: since 2018, they won two medals in the World competitions and now, they added a third one in the Nations League. As comparison, during the same time frame, only one leading top soccer nation attained more medals: Spain.(4).

Because of such quality performance of the young national team, Croatia was again a country of happy people. Playing this week in Netherlands, their strategy and game displayed the pride for the perennial checkered dress colors. With high quality performance they demonstrated the motto of: believe in yourself, cultivate self-confidence and, if you fall, stand up and continue, for that will guarantee success!

It was remarkable a few day ago to see 25,000 Croatian citizens supporting their team in a foreign country, particularly so during the finals of the League of

Nations. Equally, if not more so, it was simply wonderful this Wednesday and 

Sunday to see the Croatian streets full of fans wearing the traditional red and white checkerboard dresses.

The national team (vatreni) has succeeded in emotionally uniting the Croatian populace, a task not attained by the Croatian politicians since the liberation war.

Perhaps a significant value of these earned international medals resides in young Croatians experiencing a phenomenon of being united and witnessing a recognition that clear common goals and common efforts can and will produce results. For the young, these players are clear examples of national pride.

Since its first appearance in SP in 1998 in France, Croatia has assumed an enviable position of third most successful soccer force in the world. France and Germany have a record of holding 4 world medals each, and Croatia 3! Among 211 countries, Croatia occupies a third position. A small, proud nation!





These days, sport commentators attempted to uncover the secret of concrete

successes, particularly so for a country with less than 4 million population. The

German press accurately noted: “When Croatian soccer players put on a national dress, they become possessed by the warier spirit of the Homeland war. Those who understand such behavior will play to the end without compromise. They play with heart and soul. And that is why it is so difficult to play against this team”. 

Three days ago, Dominik Livakovic explained: ”we have a defined character, we won the majority of games with time extensions. But, the cardinal reason for our success is our togetherness, we play as a team, behave as a family, we support each other and that makes us stronger each time we are on the field”.

Omroep Stichting (NOS) from Netherlands mentions “the old master Modric has earned one more applause. It appears that wear (of age effects) has not reached Luka Modric, the 37 year old captain who again successfully organized the Croatian team and forced the orange colored team to kneel. He crowned his talents with an exceptional score during overtime, amid fan ovations.”

The Daily news NRC mentions that “the young and new opposition team was defeated by the masters from Croatia”. During the extension, the opposition team led by captain Ronald Koeman simply lacked the strength and skill to continue. “This was, indeed, a true example of soccer, intensive, convincing and amid excellent overall atmosphere. Netherlands, nevertheless, lost 4:2 against Croatia after 120 minutes of non-stop soccer”.

After one more gala presentation of quality soccer by star Luka Modric, Netherlands team captain Ronald Koeman described Luka’s performance: “In one word, powerful! Although he is a player for the opposing team, I can comfortably say that I myself can enjoy the display of such quality player. His play is intelligent”.

Croatia without Modric - this is hard to imagine, just as we would Paris without

Eiffel tower, London without Big Ben or Rotterdam without a harbor. “Luka Modrić is a phenomemon”. TV station N-TV labels him as „Croatian magician who, obviously, is not aging“.  At age 37, he is still capable to play at supreme professional level. German TV station added: „he did what the Croatian magician knows how to do even in his dreams: he dictated the time, he saw the space, he distributed artistic passes.“

Last night, Zlatko Dalic led the Croatian soccer representation for 74th time. This in itself is a record measured not only by the number of encounters but also by the number of earned trophies. Silver from World Cup in Russia 2018, Bronze from World Cup in Quatar 2022 and Silver from League of Nations Finals in Netherland 2023. A fantastic achivement among high quality competitors. 

Zlatko Dalic stated: „During the past five years, we have attained excellent results and three medals. On one hand, we are dissapointed , having lost in the final, with the second place. However, the record of our constant, ongoing achivements is a clear source of satisfaction and motivation for future results. Three medals in five years is great. Croatia again demonstarted its european and world soccer talent.

The best is yet to come! This is not the end of a highly successful generation of

Croatian sport: new opportunities will open for our players this comming summer at the European competition in Germany where our team will have the field support as if they were playing at home!

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