Team Croatia Won Our Hearts & Made Football Proud
It was a thrilling Sunday night when France took on Croatia in the final. While French has been consistent in their play all through the World Cup, Croatia was never behind.
The Story Yesterday
By the time match came to a close, it was the rain that hid the Croatian tears. Croatia raged on throughout the World Cup win after win to reach the finals. But on that day it was France which proved to be the better team.
The First Goal Of The World Cup Final
If you are among the millions who were glued to their TV sets the other day or were part of the electrifying crowd, the first goal came off the Croatian’s head, Mario Mandžukić.
Details: France vs Croatia: Mario Mandžukić scores an own goal in the FIFA World Cup Final
Own goals are unfortunate but are part and parcel of the soccer. You cannot simply help. If a corner kick comes off flying your way, what do you do? You jump and try to deflect the ball away from your own goal to stop the opponent from scoring.
That’s what Mandžukić did, but he deflected it into his goal, thereby giving France a 1-0 lead over Croatia. Not uncommon, these goals. Brazil’s Fernandinho did the same against their quarter-final opponent Belgium. Not that it was intentional, just that the ball went towards the goal instead of going the other way.
The Croatian Hero, the VAR, and Griezmann
So that’s how the story began. As if that wasn’t enough, another unfortunate event came to pass. But on that, a little later. Croatians having conceded their own goal 18 minutes into the match, bounced back ferociously.
It was the first time in the World Cup final history that an own goal was scored. Croatians were reeling from the effects of what just transpired, however, it was Ivan Perisic’s stellar goal (one for the ages truly) that brought back Croatia into the game 10 minutes later.
Remember how we stated, another unfortunate event came to pass? Well, it’s time we delve into it. Croatians rejoiced at the equalizer, and the match was getting interesting. The crowd on the Croatian side fell silent.
Their hero Perisic has had a handball trying to prevent the ball from angling. Boy, when you do that inside “D,” it calls for a penalty. French players were too quick to call it out, and the referee had no choice than to consult the VAR (video-assisted referee).
VAR revealed that it was an actual handball meant to prevent French players from scoring off of a penalty. Antoine Griezmann rose up to the occasion and scored the penalty goal, giving France yet another lead of 2-1.
You cannot question the heart of Croatians they brought to the game. Attempt after attempt, they came close but remained far. During this while, France was able to take their score to 4 goals, courtesy of Pogba and Mbappe.
The Mandžukić Paradox
You know how life gives you second chances. It was true for Mandžukić last night when he scored off of goalkeeper gaffe by France’s Lloris. In the first half, he was the most hated man in Croatia but in the latter half (after he redeemed himself), he surely wasn’t the most hated. And that’s all she wrote, (4-2) at the end of the final whistle.
The Tournament Stats for Croatia
To many, Croatia appeared invincible as their tournaments statistics were no short of a feat.
|Croatia vs. Nigeria||2 – 0|
|Argentina vs. Croatia||0 – 3|
|Iceland vs. Croatia||1 – 2|
|Croatia vs. Denmark||1 (3) – 1 (2)|
|Russia vs. Croatia||2 (3) – 2 (4)|
|Croatia vs. England||2 – 1|
|France vs. Croatia||4 – 2|
If you look closely, the early group matches were a piece of cake for Croatia. Quite dominant, they were, even against Messi’s Argentina.
With Denmark and Russia, they won in a penalty shootout, and the latter was an absolute stunner! Against Russia, the hosts.
England was seemingly the favorite with the slogans everywhere, “It’s coming home.” Still, it was a comfortable win for the Croatians scoring in the second extra time (ET).
Their star players, particularly Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric were the real crowd pleasers and so was Perisic with his impressive stint as the tournament drew to a close. But they weren’t the only stars to have won hearts.
Even Bigger Star – the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Details: Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic celebrating in the post-match ceremony
The President watched every match her team played in the marquee tournament. In the final, according to sources, she flew economy class to watch her team’s first-ever World Cup final.
Fans everywhere and especially on the internet can’t get enough how supportive President Kolinda was after her team’s loss in the final on Sunday. She paid for all her flights out of her pocket and adorned the Croatian jersey despite the dress code requirements in the VIP section of the stadium.
Her constant praise and support for the team never diminished, not in the slightest. In that rain which served as a mask for Croatian fans to hide their tears, President Kolinda smiled in that rain, stood tall in that rain and hugged the players from both teams lauding them on their performance in the field.
Underdogs No More!
In the future, whenever Croatia comes to play or faces off an opponent, it’s no more going to be a minnow team rather a group high spirited soccer players seeking to make it against all odds.
Favorite Croatian Streaming and Cybersecurity Enabler
During the World Cup, Ivacy remained Croatia’s favorite streaming and cybersecurity enabler, allowing fans to watch the football action hassle-free. The fans were able to stream the games smoothly without having to worry about digital geo-restrictions.
Usually, ISP throttling gets in the way or users are unable to access certain channels because of the digital barriers put forward by the streaming giants, which ultimately hurts the user experience; but Ivacy VPN tried its best to curb this pain point so that fans could stream their favorite matches in peace on their desired streaming channels.
France may have won the trophy but just as Croatia won our hearts, it was an equal win for the people who believe in internet freedom with Ivacy at the helm of it.