Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Euro Eulogy: Croatia

When I did my preview for Croatia, I didn't really think that they had much of a chance after losing Eduardo, despite hyping their darkhorse status. Sometimes I write the opposite of what I think, which is probably a holdover from my dayjob. But Croatia lived up to the hype, upsetting the Germans, and then coming within 15 seconds of making it to the semifinals. Why Slaven is a fucking rockstar, after the jump.

There's not much to say about Croatia on the football side of things. They beat the Germans, generally played inventive, attacking football, and were ultimately undone by a miracle shot at the end of the quarterfinals. Then again, some would say that they deserve their fate after being unable to break down the depleted Turks in normal time. Surely there was some convoluted Balkan grudge going back to the 1300s they could have drawn on, right?

The loss to the Turks didn't just hurt the team, either. A Croatian newspaper enlisted the help of a psychiatrist to help its readers out. The advice:

"The country must look to the future," advised Vlastelica.

"The supporters must think of September when the 2010 World Cup qualifiers begin.

"From now till then it is vital that you don’t disrupt your daily routine, do not stop working and above all do not take tranquilizers."

Bilic himself apparently wanted to quit coaching and go fishing, but apparently he has decided to stay on with the national team through the 2010 World Cup.After all, he can pretty much play any rock club in Zagreb after what went down over the past several weeks. There are probably several chairman in the Premier League who would be willing to allow dodgy earrings and chainsmoking on the touchline. Bilic can probably name his price and get at a job at a medium-big club. The fact that he's staying means we are going to be treated to more amusing press conferences involving Bilic and the English press, as Croatia are drawn in England's qualifying group. In fact, I'm laying odds that Slaven ends up coaching the Three Lions at some point in his career.

In terms of players, Luca Modric gave us glimpses of why he is going to be a huge bust at Shit Heart Lane. He's just too small for the Premiership, and he's going to get kicked to pieces. Although his choke in penalties means he is going to fit in quite nicely with Spurs. Verlan Corluka looked good at right back, and should have that position locked down for Citeh come August. Ivan Klasnic, who had a kidney transplant, is on his way from Werder Bremen to Wigan, and Olic Pranjic, and Petric will all be on clubs' radar screens.

The whole team now must deal with the burden of expectations going into the next World Cup. Expectations can be brutal, as the French showed in this tournament.


Andrew said...

What's this about not taking tranquilizers?

/Germany nervous of its own eulogy

The Likely Lad said...

Shit Hart Lane. Clever!

Sarah said...

Random: Slaven Bilic's son looks like Liam Gallagher.

Also, surely it's Vedran Corluka, not Verlan?


Ian said...

Sarah- sorry I cannot understand the thick brogue of the announcers. I could have sworn it was Verlan.