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Friday, 22 January 2010

Croatia’s Amazing Fan-Base

I just woke up from a fantastic dream, (It's 3:26 am). Thought I'd check out the latest scores of the European Handball Championships going on right now in Austria. Croatia always does well, winning the coveted prize previously at the World Championships and the Olympics. I planned on making a post of the games after a winner is declared, but in the meantime, here is just a short article I like from the European Handball Championships official website. If you are following the games, there you can see all the results, scheduled games and interesting information. In the meantime this will have to do until my planned post is completed. It also ties in perfectly with a previous blog HERE. And HERE.

Croatian fans whooping it up during a game.


By: Márk Hegedüs. 21.01.10

In Graz, where Croatia is playing its Group A matches, the hall is always full with friendly but loudly cheering fans from the Balkans.

Most of the fans come from nearby Croatia, but you will also meet Austro-Croats, who live directly in the host city or have travelled from Vienna and the surrounding area to root for their beloved Hrvatska.

"Our fans are very important to us. If they back us at a game, we feel like we have an extra player on field," the Croats head coach, Červar, said.

(Nenad Dugi / CROPIX)

The players appreciate the loyal support of the fans very much, and often, long lines of fans are waiting for some small-talk with them and some autographs. The team is always happy to oblige.

On game days, the enthusiastic supporters tend to meet around mid-day in various bars and restaurants in preparation for the evening’s clash.

(Damir Krajač / Cropix) 

At such meetings, there is much happiness and loud singing of anthems. Not only the local bars are filled with people from the Balkans, but the centre of Graz seems to have been invaded by Croatians who have made a loud but friendly presence on the streets of Styria’s capital.

Whether they have come from as far away as Osijek or Split, or whether they are Austro-Croats, the dream is the same: that their team will beat every opponent and make it to the final in Vienna.

Their hope is for a ‘replay’ of the 2009 World Championship final, but with Croatia inflicting revenge on the French.

(Nenad Dugi / CROPIX)


(Nenad Dugi / CROPIX)

A clip from the January 23 nailbiter against Russia.

Some behind the scenes fan footage from Croatian Nova TV.

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