Fifa World Cup: Croatians feel the joy

Commentators are thrilled but not surprised that with Belgium, England, France and Croatia, four European teams have reached the Fifa World Cup semi-finals. They are more surprised, however, by the extraordinary success of the Croatian team, which with its win over Russia has put itself on a par with the legendary "bronze generation" team that placed third in 1998.

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Večernji list (HR) /

David against Goliath

The fact that Croatia is once again in a World Cup semi-final after 20 years is practically a miracle statistically speaking, writes Večernji list:

“We have a chance to win another medal, something that hasn't happened to a country anywhere near as small as Croatia in the last 64 years! Croatia is a true David, symbolised by Luka Modrić, who has outstipped geniuses like Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. If we win gold we will be the seventh most successful nation of all times, ahead of England and Spain. In the next two games we have nothing to lose, unlike England, France and Belgium, all countries that have between three and 15 times more registered [club] players. But there's so much we could win.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Semi-final a panacea for Croatia

Croatia's population and national team have been longing for this sense of cohesion, Jutarnji list believes:

“As Saturday night became Sunday morning and the people still didn't want to go home, it became clear just how profoundly the despairing Croatian people had been longing for this national team, how urgent the entire nation's longing for this sense of cohesion had been - and how great the team's longing for this nation was. Somewhere deep down, beneath all the problems and disputes [Croatian football has been rocked by corruption], true love exists. ... Next week Croatia will experience a climactic moment. And no matter what the outcome, it's already a triumph. This orgasmic feeling of happiness, this euphoric glimpse of a better future, is a shining, blue miracle pill - even if in reality it's nothing more than a one-month placebo.”

Český rozhlas (CZ) /

World Cup now just a European Cup

It's noteworthy that all the teams playing in the semi-finals are European, public broadcaster Český rozhlas comments:

“Neither Brazil nor Uruguay nor Argentina will play for the medals even though they were among the favourites. For the fourth time Europe is dominating the World Cup. And the gap is widening. Europe has the most lucrative competitions, the best players, the most money, the most interested audiences, a great tradition and a sophisticated training system with the best coaches. Not one team from Africa survived the group phase. China is making a big effort but was entirely absent in Russia. The Europeans will no doubt continue to dominate the World Cup, supplemented by a South American team just to make things more interesting.”