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Croatia's moment of truth


El Tri prepping for Croatia test


Rakitic, Mbia swap shorts

The Toe Poke

PVC: Mandzukic lands brace on WC debut

World Cup

Finding hope in the teeth of despair

 By Sasa Ibrulj

Hajduk Split's refusal to play is the latest problem for Croatian football

Six days after objects thrown onto the pitch caused Italy vs. Croatia to be suspended, there was more controversy in Zagreb.

When the Hajduk Split players walked on to the Poljud Stadion pitch Saturday, the almost 8,000 fans present in the north stand cheered them with loud singing and also lit flares.

Just minutes before, the team had returned from Zagreb, where they were supposed to have played Dinamo, their fiercest rival. However, after some of their supporters were denied access to Maksimir Stadion, Hajduk decided to disobey the rules.

They refused to play the 198th derby which, in the short term, has been registered...

Three Points: Italy vs. Croatia

Croatia respond quickly to Italy's early goal to draw with in this group H clash of the table leaders in a game that was extended due to flares being thrown onto the pitch.

A trio of observations on Italy and Croatia's 1-1 draw in Euro 2016 qualifying.

1. Conte takes the draw

Antonio Conte believes appetite comes with eating -- winning begets winning. Up until now Italy had won all four games since his appointment and another one on Sunday would have matched the record for the best ever start made by an Azzurri coach, as established by Edmondo Fabbri and equalled by Azeglio Vicini.

So why, then, did Conte say before the game that "we don't need to win to be satisfied...

Match-fixing: More regulation needed

OK, so at some point in the past two weeks (at what point -- as you'll see -- is crucially important) a convicted match-fixer named Wilson Raj Perumal decided to chat with a German journalist from the magazine Der Spiegel.

They chose to do so on Facebook (possibly because it's still 2009 where they live, or maybe because Snapchat was unavailable). In the course of the conversation, according to Der Spiegel, Perumal claimed that the Cameroon squad at the World Cup had "seven bad apples in it" and...

Assessment: Croatia's disappointment

Croatia failed to deliver on its pre-World Cup promise, and ESPN FC blogger Aleks Holiga looks back at the highs and lows of their brief campaign.

One sentence, World Cup recap

Croatia disappointed by not playing to its strengths and bowed out having fallen apart in the key match against a really well organised Mexico side.

All team assessments

Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Finalists: Argentina
Winners: Germany

Star Man

Much to everyone's surprise, it wasn't any of the key players. Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic all showed a somewhat average form with only a few flashes...

Back to reality for Bosnia, Croatia

Edin Dzeko scored his first World Cup goal for Bosnia in their finale Wednesday.
Edin Dzeko scored his first World Cup goal for Bosnia in their finale Wednesday.

MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are out of the World Cup. Both are headed home, and whatever rush of happiness and goodwill that their journey brought to the ethnic Bosniaks and Croats in the divided nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina is coming to an end. Reality starts again now, which makes me remember the segregated city of Mostar, which is half Muslim Bosniak and half Catholic Croatian.

The myth of civilization is exposed on the broken avenue through the town, which runs...