Croatia And Czech Republic – A History Of Underestimating

At the dawn of Croatia's most important match at EURO 2016, we take a look at the differences between two approaches.

Croatia takes on the Czech Republic on June 17. 2016, and if one is just to glance over the Croatian media announcements, it would be impossible not to conclude that the Czech team should take a break today, as they are simply not good enough for brilliant Čačić’s team. If you think we are exaggerating, just take a look to the photo above. It is the kind of photo garnishing the article about the game in the national media.

Being a man in love with Czech writers, Czech beers, and Czech culture in general, I am stunned by the broad feeling in Croatian media, underestimating the Czech team, but it has a deeper cause, as one of the best sport writers in Croatia, Aleksandar Holiga has written for Croatians and Czechs have a different temperament, and although they are connected on so many levels, and even share the same Slavic origins, they often are highly incomprehensible to one other.

How Croatians tend to feel about Czechs

While Croatians are taking themselves very seriously, but not quite getting the results they want, (and here we are not talking solely about sport) the Czechs are very much ironic and laid back when talking about themselves, but their results are much better than the Croatian ones. Not stopping the Croatians to often underestimate their northern cousins.

For Croatians, this match, and actually almost every game the team plays is “a historic one”, the most important one, and “they will get into the battle”, while the Czechs are playing yet another game, and will talk about the great Croatian team. To be fair, Croatian footballers are speaking highly about their opponents, but being a top class player, one is aware of the importance of respect, contrary to the feelings of the common people.

Czechs as they are

While Croatian legends are talking about ’98, and are competing in making patriotic statements, Pavel Kuka, the former Czech star said that the most important thing for them is that they look good, as Rio Ferdinand has picked the Czech team as the best fashion styled team at the EURO.

To end this article with a warning; probably the most famous Czech player of all time, Antonin Panenka, has said that their team is at their most dangerous one when not taking itself too seriously, as they tend to be unpredictable on the pitch in those times.

TCN will bring the pre-match tactical analysis later, as well as the full match report from Saint Etienne.