So the Soccer World Cup is over and the final two games were good games played by 4 good teams The Argentine team won it the hard way against a good French team who fought hard to the end. The French manager Deschamps deserves credit for changing his tactics twice during the final and making The Argentine work hard for their victory after a penalty shoot out.
Croatia has now been crowned the third best team at this year’s football world cup having beaten a very good Moroccan team. All of these sides have been a credit to the worldwide game and to their own country’s football supporters. It’s just a pity that the hosts, Qatar, have such a poor record on human rights and women’s rights
I haven’t been an avid football fan watching all of the World Cup games but some curious comments really drew my attention while I was watching Croatia’s quarter final game against Brazil – these comments were made about Croatia, and the Croatian player Luka Modric in particular, by British TV commentators in roughly the 77th minute of this game.
During the game the commentators were being very complimentary about the Croatian team and their performance against Brazil that night but my ears pricked up when they threw in a few comments about how much Croatia has developed as a football nation, capping those comments with “..and they are from a country smaller in population terms than Kuwait, New Zealand and El Salvador!” with a huge degree of surprise, laced with a bit of respect, in their voices”
I’m listening and thinking “yes, and these countries are no bigger than Scotland in population terms!”
To grab my attention even further one commentator added “with a population roughly half that of Israel’s population”. Why Israel, when they could have chosen from so many other similar sized countries around the globe, I still can’t work out.
For me, the reason Croatia are doing so well in world football is because they no longer have the dead hand of Yugoslavia holding them back as a nation, and the same is true of the other five countries –Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina – who used to make up the state of Yugoslavia. All of these countries are now making their own decisions about the best direction for them to develop in, and what would be in the best interests of their own people. Admittedly they are all developing in different ways and at different speeds but they now have the ability to make their own positive way in the world – unlike Scots who are continually held back by London Government, despite the best efforts of all of our MSP’s in Holyrood.
Without their independence Croatia along with the other ex Yugoslav states could have still been held back by a Yugoslav regime which had no real interest in them as viable entities in their own right, and/or what would be in their best future interests.
Football commentators, and others, should note that successful international teams are not just defined by the size of country you live in, but by how much autonomy your country has to achieve success in sport and all its other endeavours.