ZAGREB, July 14, 2018 – Regardless of recently strained political relations between Slovenia and Croatia over unresolved issues such as border demarcation, many of the Slovenians openly admit that their favourite team during the World Cup tournament in Russia are the Croats.
The Croatian squad coached by manager Zlatko Dalić enjoys high ratings among the Slovenians, as evidenced by the fact that Croatian national chequered jerseys have been sold out in the Slovenia coastal area, local media outlets have reported.
The Kopar-based “Primorske Novice” has reported that Croatian football jerseys are selling “like hot cakes,” and a local shop assistant has been quoted as saying that the jerseys at the price of 30 euro are bought by both Slovenians and foreign tourists in Piran Bay.
Furthermore, cafes and restaurants near the border with Croatia are offering fan corners where locals, Slovenian and Croatian neighbours, are together watching matches with the Croatian soccer team at the tournament.
One of those fans, Jože J., has told Hina that, all of them together drink bear and enjoy watching the performances of the Croatian footballers who made it to the final. He also says that some of the Slovenians prefer watching Croatian Television during the tournament as they object to a Slovenian reporter who mentioned the border row during the coverage of the Croatia-England semi-final game.
The Croatian national team that has several members of the Croat background from Bosnia and Herzegovina, including coach Zlatko Dalić who was born in the town of Livno, enjoys great affection among fans in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The excellent results of the squad have been even pointed out by Sarajevo Archbishop, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, who said few days ago that the success of the Croatian footballers in Russia made everybody happy and helped the ordinary people forget gloomy political topics.
The posters with the encouraging messages appeared in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina before the historic semi-final match between Croatia and England on 11 July, with one of those posters reading “Together with Croatia to the Final!”
The Croat-populated areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also organising fan zones during the matches with the Croatia team, and only this past Wednesday, when the England-Croatia semi-final match was played, the fan zones were not staged in Mostar out of respect for the victims of the Srebrenica atrocity. The match coincided with the 23th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre which was why the leading Bosnian Croat political party – the HDZ BiH – recommended the cancellation of an open-air party in Mostar during the match.
Montenegrin media outlets have reported about local soccer fans being in the high spirits after Croatia’s victories during the tournament in Russia.