Croatia defeated England in Wednesday night’s dramatic 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal 2-1in extra time. They will now face France in the title game on Sunday.
As biased as I might be myself, due to the fact that half my family is of Croatian origin, I have been quite annoyed at the way the Vatreni have been all but ignored by the international press, particularly that in the English-speaking realm.
It already came to my attention after Croatia’s 3-0 triumph over title favorites Argentina in their mutual second match of the group stage. Virtually every comment from traditional and especially social media was criticism for the South American giants and their leader Lionel Messi.
Words of praise for the excellent performance by coach Zlatko Dalić’s men were few and far between.
Now, weeks later when they faced off against the “Three Lions”, in the semifinals, the reaction of the Anglo-American press has been even worse.
The English pundits, in all their typical arrogance already looked ahead to a hypothetical final against France, while their US counterparts at “Good Morning America”, or “ESPNFC” did likewise, or at least avoided much of a mention of Croatia.
Ahead of what I am about to say, it is important to add that the English deserve credit for inventing and codifying the world’s game.
But their constant claims to having the best league in the world (despite the fact that teams from the Spanish Premiera Division have dominated European club soccer over the past decade, in ways that English Premier League teams can only dream of) is more than annoying.
Despite not adding to their trophy case in terms of major international titles since their highly controversial 1966 World Cup win, English fans and media seem to count their national side as a top contender ahead of every major international competition.
As for the final on Sunday, France will be favorites to win, but please feel free to count Croatia out again, dear expert pundits. I would enjoy seeing all of you fall flat on your faces yet again.