Tuesday, July 24, 2018

hat the Croatians would be world champions at the highest level in men's soccer, is as sure as death! They are a small country of about 4million inhabitants, richly endowed with highly talented players, who are adept at playing the round thing called football. Even when they were under the former Yugoslavia, they contributed richly to the then Yugoslavia's soccer development. Their players played a very crucial role in the victory of the then Yugoslavia's under-20 side, at the FIFA under-20 world soccer competition, in 1987, in Chile! In other aspects of the then Yugoslavia's development, they were not left wanting. The former leader of Yugoslavia, and father of the non-aligned movement: Josip Broz Tito, was a Croatian. So much for politics .

The Croatians believe so much in themselves, more especially in their ability to play soccer. They know they are highly talented in it and are very proud of this realisation. Shortly before the World cup, yours sincerely met an old Croatian friend of mine. We discussed the chances of our country's teams at the World cup. He told me without equivocations that as far as he was concerned, Croatia would certainly qualify from the group, and that Nigeria and Argentina, would struggle for the second- placed finishing, to move along with Croatia to the next round of the World cup competition. He undiplomatically told me that since Nigeria's opening match was against the Croats, to increase Nigeria's chances of qualification, Nigeria should endeavour to avoid defeat against the Croats. But he was sure his country would defeat Nigeria. Yours sincerely, as a super- committed Super Eagles' supporter, was not in agreement; he merely smiled at me. The rest is history!

Croatians, as earlier stated, are a self-assured people. More especially when it comes to playing soccer. In their very first World cup appearance, in 1998, they took the soccer world by storm, by going as far as the semi-finals, and missing the final, by a very narrow margin. After a goalless first half, they surprisingly got first on the score sheet, by scoring the first goal. The hosts French, had to pull out all the stops to finally win the match: 2-1. They went on to win the third place, by defeating the Netherlands, 2-1. Thus, in their very first World cup appearance, they came third! On their way to the semi-finals, they defeated the powerful German national team: 3-0, in the quarter-finals.

They are usually a bunch of highly skilled technically- and tactically well balanced players, that together make up a great team! They have produced great players like: Boban and Suker, of the European championship 1996 and the 1998 World cup fame. In the current squad, they have great players like: Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic, Dejan Loveren and all the other fine players that together make up their great team.

Finally, with the continued development of the team that played the final of the 2018 World cup, the Croats would certainly be title contenders at the 2022 World cup, in Qatar. They missed the title in Russia, because they lacked a slight measure of quality, that made them play extra time with teams like: Denmark, Russia and England. They also played the semi-final match with England a day after the French qualified for the World cup final. The combined effects of these realities of their World cup run, is that they were highly disadvantaged in terms of stamina, going into the final match against the French. Little wonder that after an impressive first half display, they 'collapsed' in the second half, and, thus, conceded victory to the French!


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "RUSSIA 2018" !!!!!