Dalić Asked How Country Without a Proper Stadium is in World Cup Final

Daniela Rogulj

Why doesn’t Croatia have a proper stadium for national team matches?

A smiling, confident and emotional Zlatko Dalić spoke to journalists for over an hour the day after the big win over England in the semi-final of the World Cup, reports Index.hr on July 13, 2018. 

At the end of the press conference, reporters from the British tabloid The Daily Mail asked Dalić to explain how Croatia, the finalist and possible new world champion, did not have a proper stadium to host England on October 12 in the new Nations League. The game will also be played behind closed doors at Rujevica in Rijeka because of the UEFA penalty gave to Croatia for a swastika on the pitch at Poljud in 2015. 

Thus, the coach of the national team, who achieved the greatest success in Croatia’s history and one of the biggest in football in general, explained to millions how Croatia, a country without a fair club and stadium, succeeded.

“We have to have a stadium for Spain and England for 40, 50 thousand people to enjoy football, and we do not have such conditions. That’s our big problem and I wanted to point it out so you know what kind of conditions we are working in, and what we have accomplished. Of course, something has to be done. If not now, then when? We are in a big minus when it comes to that question and this is a real opportunity to point it out. That’s why I pointed it out. When we look at the conditions we have in Croatia and everything our coaches go through, little Croatia is a world wonder. Believe me, we are a world wonder,” Dalić said.

If not now, then when? This was Dalić’s message to both the government and the Croatian Football Federation. The team earned $28 million, or just under 180 million kuna, by simply entering the final of the World Cup. This is a lot of money, and almost the annual HNS budget which spent 12 million kuna on electricity and water last year, as if they were running a factory, and 11 million kuna on “office supplies”. If Croatia wins the World Cup, the Federation would receive $38 million or 240 million kuna. 

Since UEFA has funded the construction of new pitches at major Croatian stadiums and at some lower level stadiums this summer, HNS can direct part of its FIFA rewards to football development, which is initially intended.

Šuker and his team can ask for a meeting with the government and throw a nice sum on the table. This is a chance Croatia cannot miss. 

The Turkish city of Sakarya, which you may not have heard about, built a stadium for 29,000 people for just under 200 million kuna. It’s not easy, but it’s not so complicated to find sponsors who would be willing to cover part of the stadium’s construction in a country of World Cup winners or finalists. 

Building a new stadium is certainly not in the newly established City Commission, who would need to sort the funding and holds a seat for Damir Vrbanović, a man who has been sentenced to three years in prison in the Mamić trial.

HNS can try and buy honesty in the Croatian National League, or restore the people’s faith, which has not existed for years. With so much money, a primitive form of VAR would certainly not be an ineffective expense, and this would once and forever end the dishonesty in Croatian football. After all, why would a league in the country of the world champions or finalists not have video analysis, at the very least?

HNS can’t do all this with 110 or 150 million kuna, but they can do a lot if the money is not invested in utilities and office supplies. They can take great, and crucial steps to make this incredible success in Russia something other than just a short-lived euphoria remembered through photographs and documentaries. 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment