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nedjelja, 2. lipnja 2013.

Thousands Show Support For Croatian National Football Team During Training Tour In Hercegovina.

So many cool things to choose from to post about this morning, a whole bunch of things actually (Bikini/beach related stuff, military stuff, fashion/food/music/tattoo stuff, a whole filled cornucopia of stuff)...but I figure I'll just keep it nice and light this Sunday morning and just do a soccer related post. Anyway, if you're following the Croatian National Football teams 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign then you'll know by now that they will be taking on Scotland on June 7th in Zagreb.  But that's not the point of this post. (I'll leave that to the soccer/football websites and their professional analyzing aficionados, esteemed armchair commentary gurus and analyzing prediction makers)

In the meantime, the team decided to do a week long mini-tour in neighbouring Hercegovina, which is a part of the Bosnia and Hercegovina federation , and where there is still a sizeable Croatian population, and of course that naturally means Croatian National Football team supporters. (Why in Hercegovina you may ask? Well long story short, here's your very quick history lesson. Hercegovina, and the greater part of modern-day Bosnia, actually used to be part of the early Croatian realms and Kingdom right from the start in the 6th century and in the middle ages, long before there ever even was a Bosnia or a Bosnijak or Bosnian televison channels, radio stations or Bosnian diskoteks. The first Croatian King was crowned in Duvno (Tomislavgrad)  Even today Croatians are still an official constituent nation of the republic of B&H, our language, alphabet, culture etc and so on. You can read this post for much more info on that)  So holding a short training session and meet n' greet with fans in the area is really not all that out of the ordinary. (Besides, I've come across a number of people here and there who I was told were Bosnian, and I realized most of them wear jerseys and tshirts of any other country BUT Bosnia, really it's true. No Bosnian puzzle or euchre clubs or bars or sport organizations...nothing at all really, that says alot.  It seems all the Bosnians in the whole wide world only show up at the occasional soccer match in Sarajevo once in a while, and usually only when they're handing out free Kiki Riki/peanuts or Turkey flags.  The Serbs and Turks fucked everything up there in the 14th century though, otherwise they would still be part of Croatia and totally Serb taliban free and then they could go to the beach all the time, fish, suntan, boat around, frolick in the water, whatever.)

So anyway, the team paid a short visit to the town of Medjugorje for a relaxing retreat, then did some training there, signed autographs etc, and then moved on to the city of Mostar to train as well on this mini-tour. (I've been there in the past btw, beautiful scenery, great food etc.  I still have souvenirs from there)  They did some training in Bijeli Brijeg Stadium, the home stadium of B&H's oldest soccer/football team and which was actually founded in 1905 by Croatian sports organizations there...HŠK Zrinjski Mostar.  (Another inadvertent history lesson)  Thousands of supporters came out to watch them train everywhere they went, to get autographs and get photos taken with team members.  But that's not all.  The team also performed some humanitarian functions, visiting children who lost their homes and parents in the 1990's.  A number of them with permanent physical disabilities.  The kids and young people were pretty excited everywhere they went.. So it was probably kind of cool for the fans of all ages just across the border being able to see the team train and cheer them on. I also threw in a couple of vids, along with random images from the week long tour.  More info at the links.......

I guess I might as well quickly add this related bit.  Things just keep getting more interesting for Mario Mandžukić as he was spotted recently hobnobbing with none other than Wladimir Klitschko, among other celebrities. Link Here  (Mario was celebrating again as his team FC Bayern Munich won the German Cup just yesterday, and so accomplished a triple championship season after winning the Champions League just last week against Borussia Dortmand. (More on that Here)  Because of these commitments to Bayern Munich he couldn't make the Hercegovina training tour, but he will be suited up for the match in Zagreb later this week. Croatia is currently tied for 1st in their group, with just a few matches left it will come down to their remaining match with group co-leader Belgium, or even quite possibly goal differential, to see who automatically gets a direct trip to the World Cup. (Interesting related stories about the Scottish supporters arriving into Zagreb for the match Here and Here which I may make a post about later)

Related articles/Images:

Madness In Mostar: 6,000 Fans Turn Up To Watch Croatia Train


Just as many fans that turned up to watch Dinamo Zagreb play Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Champions League in Zagreb turned up on Friday to watch the Croatian national team train. 6,000 fans turned up in Mostar at Igor Stimac’s side’s open training run as they prepare to face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb this Friday night.

The team have been a hit in Medjugorje where they have been based ahead of the 7 June clash with fans coming out in droves every time the team appears. After UEFA stopped a friendly match with a local Mostar team from going ahead on Friday, Stimac split his squad into two and put on a training match for the thousands of fans who showed up. “Preparations have been brilliant. Medjugorje is an oasis of peace, and Mostar is fantastic also,” said Stimac, adding that he would not be under estimating Scotland on Friday.

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