Why neutral fans should cheer for Croatia not France. Croatia's captain Luka Modric celebrates making Sunday's final.
Why neutral fans should cheer for Croatia not France. Croatia's captain Luka Modric celebrates making Sunday's final. Elsa

Why neutral fans should cheer for Croatia not France

ENGLAND'S bid to fail to reach the FIFA World Cup Final has overshadowed the remarkable progress made by Croatia.

While it is fun to sit back and laugh at the old enemy - who thought they were a shoe-in - the Croats are largely forgotten.

In case you missed it, Croatia defeated England in extra time 2-1 in the early hours on Thursday morning.

It was their third game requiring extra-time in a row.

They've fought tooth and nail to make the final - a fight that's lasted a lifetime for some.

Many of Croatia's finest players were forced to flee the war-torn European nation as children.

Take Luka Modric for example.

He comes from a family of refugees and grew up in a war zone. He has spoke on record about remembering the sound of grenades exploding around in his neighbourhood.

On Sunday, he will captain his country in its first-ever World Cup Final.

Centre back Dejan Lovren is another who escaped the horrific Balkan War despite a massive death toll.

He recently appeared in an insightful documentary detailing the brutality of the war which threatened his life and career.

"I remember the wail of sirens. One of my uncles was slaughtered with a knife," Lovren said.

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was heavily affected and star teammates Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic had to grow up in exile.

In a sport that is full of stories that make people forget life's problems - this to me - is the most remarkable of the World Cup.

This is why I'll be cheering for the Croats come Sunday night.


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