I have been in Croatia the past month and I have followed there the final of the World Cup and the welcoming to the football team that lost the final but won the respect of many and came back being the second best team of the championship.
The Croatians celebrated the silver medal as if they were the champions. I was in a bar in Senj, My mom’s home town, watching the final against France. Our players fought till the end despite the score was devastating: 4-2.
To my surprise, all the people took it immediately for the positive side, and begun to celebrate the silver as a big achievement with great joy. I thought in what would happen if that would happen to Spain: Something like that would probably provoke bitter critiques to the trainer and maybe some anger above all among the commentators and some of the hooligans.
Instead, we were really proud of our guys. Much more when the prize for the best player of the championship went to our midfielder Luka Modrić.
While we were watching the ceremony of the imposition of the medals under the rain in Moscow we decided to give our own medal in our sunny town to our waiter, who had been serving drinks during the match without rest. And like this, the jokes and cheers went on and on.
I went to Zagreb, the capital of the country, next day. It was impressive. everybody dressed in the colours of the team. Eight hours of feast with the players and the trainer, all the streets and the main square full of people, and a special connection among the players and the people. They sang the same songs at one voice. They celebrated a big achievement with great joy.
We were a small country ( 4,5 million people) and had reached the second place in the World Cup.
And the best of all, in such a big crowd, ( they estimated half a million people in a city of one million) not a single incident. I’m glad I was there those days.
In the picture, celebrating the final when the match was already lost