Saturday, June 21, 2008


Post-Match Analysis:

Olić had some great shots on goal but he really should've been substituted a lot earlier than in extra time. He was a spent force by then.

Bringing Klasnić on earlier might have been a good move to avoid the extra time.

Though Croatia had more possession of the ball, Turkey passed the ball around a lot better whenever they got to it.

Nihat (undoubtedly the most inspirational captain in this edition of the Euro) seemed troubled last night and was definitely not at his best. The injury later on just made it worse.

After scoring in the 119th minute, the least the Croats could've done is keep possession of the ball instead of attempting another goal.

With Şentürk scoring off a blinder in the very last minute with Rüştü 's assist, Rüştü made up for his folly of leaving his fortress earlier and letting Modrić and Klasnić pull off a clearly avoidable goal.

The Shootout was a lottery indeed. The Turks were upbeat after surprising themselves with the stoppage time goal. Winning/ Losing was irrelevant to them now. The Croats however had already lost the match in spirit the moment Şentürk's drove the ball into the back of Croatia's net. Broken, nervous and spent, Modrić and Rakitić shot wide of the target! :(

Moving On:

The Turks have proved to be the Most Resilient bunch. Their comebacks against the Swiss, the Czech and the Croats have anything but flukes. Here's wishing them luck and fewer yellow cards (13 so far in this tournament!) in the future :)

The Croats have been phenomenal in the campaign. The Boys have been brilliant under 37-yr old Niko Kovač's captaincy. Good luck to him as he moves on!

Modrić's approach of calm, composed, clean football has earned him tons of fans around the world.

Srna's brilliance with the dead ball is commendable and he is a talent to look out for.

Klasnić's successful comeback to International football (after his kidney problems) should be inspirational for a multitude of struggling footballers out there.

Last but not the least, Bilić has earned himself the reputation of being a Rockstar Coach, quite literally! His enthusiasm on the sidelines makes you wonder if he secretly yearns to be one of the boys on the pitch!

Bilić (after last night's defeat) said: "Tomorrow is a new day, the sun will still rise. We'll probably cry for a few days but such is life. Things like this have happened before but these are extreme situations. My players have a strong character and will be back even stronger."

Roger that!

In 7 weeks from today, the Croats will face Kazakhstan in the World Cup 2010 qualifiers. For the team that dashed England's hopes of making it to the Euro this year, glory at the next World Cup is imminent!

Ajmo Hrvatska! :)

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