The Croatia-Germany game has left me emotionally exhausted. And Croatia plays Poland today, while I am on a flight - perhaps it is for the best that I have a break from watching one of Croatia's European Cup games.
When I started watching the Croatia-Germany game, I analyzed it this way: if Croatia scores a goal, that is an accomplishment. If Croatia wins, that is a decisive accomplishment in the history of the Croatian National Football Team.
At about 15 minutes into the game, I realized the Croatian side was passing the ball into space, creating space, crossing the field, and closing down Germany's sides. I thought, hmm, maybe I was too conservative in my estimates. But, maybe not, we'll see, I still expected Germany to score first. I was also pleased that hadn't happened. I think Croatia played rather composed, which helped. Croatia was not the underdog in the game, they were not the least favorite.
Then at around 18 minutes, I realized Croatia was creating momentum a…
Slaven Bilić, Croatia coach "It was a great match and I would like to extend special congratulation to my players, not only for battling hard but also for playing excellent football. There is no other way to beat Germany than to play well. They are a great team and are still one of the title favourites. You cannot allow them to control any part of the pitch and that's how we tried to play against them. For me, this victory is a bigger achievement than beating England at Wembley. I keep getting questions about similarities between this team and the team I played in in 1998. All I can say is that we are Croatians, we play for our fans but we are not the only team who play like this. It was the same in 1998 and it's the same now. We are always emotional, we cannot change that. Even if we wanted to, we don't want to. There are coaches who stay in the dugout and those like me who are more active. I like to take part by giving advice and by being as close as possible to the …
Oh, but Croatia, why did you not score at the end of the first half? Why did you play that way in the second half? Please, don't do that again.
Some cheers from you hear in the stadium when Croatia plays in EURO 2008 :
"Jebo te koliko nas ima (Damn how many of us there are here) while another is about how few Croats there are in the world generally: Malo nas je al nas ima/Nije vazno strusit ce mo snove svima (We’re not many, but it doesn’t matter/ We’re capable of destroying anybody’s dreams)"*.
Today's Financial times, US Edition, page 6, covered the upcoming EURO 2008 with the article, "Host countries make a play to shake off fusty image." This quote sums up the excitement and the historical meanings of the Championship games in Klagenfurt and the group that includes Austria, Croatia, Germany, and Poland:
"Having Poland, Croatia and Germany all in one group is unfortunate from a security point of view. Sticking them in Klagenfurt is absolute nonsense, says a seasoned observer. "At least England is not competing, which is a relief."
The EURO 2008 Championship opens this weekend. The schedule for the Croatian National Soccer Team (HNS) is: Saturday 8th, Austria vs. Croatia. On the 12th, Germany vs. Croatia, and on the 16th, Poland vs. Croatia.
My prediction is Croatia will win its group with a crushing victory over Germany and possibly the Championship as well, under the leadership of coach Slaven Bilic.
The book is a collection of short stories about intimacy. Touching, humorous, disturbing, easy to read. The author's voice is good and she treats her weird characters with compassion. Very good to read anytime, the pages and time flies by. Well written, with good plots, it isn't cheap, but it isn't a grand commitment to read the entire book, either.
Maybe it is a summer book because it is about emotions and how they drive us. We usually think of summer books as emotional. We think of summer as a time for expressing heightened emotions, perhaps a time out of time, or maybe a time for play, the only season we allow play and emotion.