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Czech Republic vs Croatia a few quick thoughts

  • Well the focus of this game will certainly not be on matters on the pitch
  • Croatia were relatively cruising with a 2-1 lead with ten minutes to go before an absolute flurry of flares were fired onto the pitch by the their own fans
  • Reports that it was a planned act of sabotage in protest in the way the Croatian Football Association is run has been mooted but one thing is for sure is that it certainly derailed Croatia as they managed to throw away two points late on thanks to a late Czech Republic penalty
  • But before the madness of what went on with the Croatian fans, Ante Cacic’s side were the better of the two sides and looked to be heading to a second straight group stage
  • In the first half they were totally dominating the Czech Republic, the main surprise was that it took them 37 minutes to take the lead
  • They had numerous chances and finally broke the deadlock through Ivan Perisic’s low drive into the net
  • At half time the fact that the Czech Republic hadn’t even had a shot in anger pretty much told the story
  • And it went from bad to what many thought as game over just before hour when Ivan Rakitic picked up on a loose back pass to then dink the ball over the onrushing Petr Cech and into an empty net
  • Croatia’s lead was doubled and now surely all they had to do was see the game out
  • With Croatia 2-0 up, Ante Cacic then obviously felt that the game was wrapped up and decided to then substitute Luka Modric after a job well done
  • But that substitution played into the Czech Republic’s hands and Croatia lost their midfield dominance and this allowed Pavel Vrba’s side to get a foothold in the game
  • And with 15 minutes to go Milan Skoda’s header nestled into the Croatia net but even then you only felt it was a consolation in a game that Croatia were in control of
  • Then the flares, lot of flares
  • Not only flares but the bizarre scenes of one the ground staff nearly getting blown up and then infighting between different groups of Croatia fans
  • Some felt that the protests were unnecessary and took umbrage to the flares being let off
  • With the carnage going on in the ground, Mark Clattenburg had no other option to suspend the game for a few minutes
  • Once relative normality had been restored the game restarted but at this point you felt the Czech Republic were up for this and looking to get full advantage of the state of confusion with everyone connected to Croatia
  • And in the 89th minute they did exactly that. Domagoj Vida handled in the area and Clattenburg was on hand to award a spot kick
  • Tomas Necid stepped up and absolutely thumped the ball home to give the Czech Republic a dramatic equaliser
  • But with the match clock running due to previous incident there was still plenty time for them to snatch a winner
  • They had the tails between their legs and if anyone was going to score again it was to be them
  • Try as they might thought they couldn’t find a 3rd goal and had to make do with a share of the points
  • But everyone will be talking about what went on in the stands and the possible repercussions it will have
  • Croatia will certainly get a fine could they even be expelled. I would imagine a larger fine than what Russia got but also the suspended disqualifcation
  • But if there own fans are prepared to sabotage the game then the Croatia’s are in very risky territory
  • If they do avoid expulsion then their next game is against group leaders Spain
  • While the Czech Republic need to beat the under performing Turkey to have any chance of making the Round of 16.

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