Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strip Club—Pole Work Edition

On September 4th, 1994, Croatia kicked off against Estonia and started an amazing four year run for The Blazers in continental and international football. Their first competitive games as a new nation were for qualification to Euro 96, in which they won their group, only losing one match, including a draw and victory against 1994 World Cup Runners-Up Italy. At the Finals, they finished second to Portugal (if you haven’t seen Suker’s goal against Denmark . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2ut4AwrLso )and qualified for the knockout stage, where they lost to Germany despite a sick goal by Suker (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhN0bITB_ZA).

Two years on, they took the world by storm as they made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup, which included a 3-0 demolition of Germany, before they lost to two unlikely and amazing goals from Lillian Thuram of the host country France. They responded by defeating Holland in the third place game to complete a journey from non-existence to the heights of international competition. However, things didn't go as well for the next decade as Suker, Boban, Prosinečki and Bilic retired, and the next generation couldn't match their achievements.

Croatia appears to be in the midst of a new cycle of success. In Euro 08, a team coached by Bilic played some very attractive football and introduced some new stars to the European scene, namely Modric, with Kranjcar, Pranjić and Olic featuring. If you have a chance, check some of the Croatian highlights from that tournament. After crashing out in qualifying for World Cup 2010, they look to be in prime position for Euro 2012, with a game against Greece probably deciding their fate.

On June 3rd, the Blazers defeated Georgia 2-1. Their remaining fixtures are as follows:

Sep 2 Malta v Croatia

Sep 6 Croatia v Israel

Oct 7 Greece v Croatia

Oct 11 Croatia v Latvia

Ivo Andov (@ivoandov), who has a little more insight on Croatia, had this to share on twitter:

Hard to gauge really. Plenty of young, talented players are coming through the ranks but little experience. Being in such an easy qualifying group isn't helping them at all imo. Bilic is an excellent coach, so that would be a plus. I think the only chance for them to progress is if Luka & Vedran & Darijo step up and lead the team. With such a young squad, it's possible for them to be a surprise, but I would err on the side of underachievement

Visit Ivo at www.ivolves.com or http://twitter.com/#!/ivoandov

When I first saw the Croatia football national team at Euro 96, I was instantly taken by their uniforms, which looked like the Big Boy outfit down the street (insert pic).

I admit I was strangely gutted when they lost to Germany in the quarterfinals of Euro 96 despite knowing almost nothing about them.

The summer after Euro 96, I was at my local soccer shop and came across the Croatian jersey. I couldn't believe it . I immediately took it up to the counter and swiped my credit card. The jersey is one of the few I have that is made by Lotto, but it is lightweight and great to play in. Of course I get mocked due to the large checked pattern (either something about Big Boy or wearing a picnic blanket) but that's because people don't get it.

Assuming they make Euro 2012, they will probably be my second team, behind Spain. Another clash with Germany would be epic.

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatia_national_football_team

1 comment:

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers get naked on my taskbar.