Croatian fans stay upbeat in spite of World Cup loss
The opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia was not without controversy, with the hosts winning 3-1 after capitalizing on a soft penalty decision. But the Croats, at least their fans, prefer to leave any resentment on the pitch as they start to soak up the exciting spirit only the greatest show in the world can deliver.
“Just to be here in Brazil and take part in the opening game, I think we’re already winners,” says Joe Draganjac, a 59-year-old accountant from Croatia as he and his compatriots cram into a local team from the game in Sao Paulo.
Businessman Joe Pavicic, 63, is also just elated to be in Brazil, and sees parallels between his football-mad homeland and the host nation. “Croatia is a small Brazil in Europe,” he beams. “Football is our most popular sport and even right now we consider ourselves to be victors. I can’t believe we made it here.”
When the train arrives at the station, the fans head out and the sea of red checkered shirts disappears. But the tournament is young, and the party is just getting started.