Flickr picture by Jadranka

Taking advantage of a sleepy Mannschaft, Croatia stormed into the lead in Group B and booked a place in the quarter-finals. With one win and one defeat, Germany remain in a strong position, though they cannot afford further mistakes. As for Austria and Poland, a win in their last game is crucial if they are to stand any chance of qualifying.

'The penalty is no excuse'

Marcin Smietana is our Observer in Poland.

I expected unpredictability and I got what I wanted. The first half, besides the goal scored, was a little bit of a disaster for the Poles. Had it not been for Boruc, we would probably have experienced a different game altogether. I did not even expect the Polish team to score so soon after goalkeeper Artur Boruc produced several crucial saves.

Yet, they did, and thanks to Polish-Brazilian Roger Guerreiro. Still, I would forget about the first half.

The second half offered a little relief. The ball was played at least satisfactorily, if not nicely. The Polish team got some control over the game and had chances to increase its lead. Indeed, Austrian goalkeeper Macho was no worse than Boruc.

However, there was something lacking in our counter-attacks. They should have been finished better. Instead of scoring a second, we conceded a comical penalty in the nick of time. Apart from leaving a certain degree of unpredictability, I don't think a draw offers a very interesting result, as it means the last game will be about little more than honour - the tournament being already lost.

But it is not the first, nor the last, team to bid farewell to the Euro so quickly. Objectively speaking, we are still too weak for quarter-finals and our style of play needs to be improved. The penalty is no excuse."

A Croatian supporter in Klagenfurt's Fanzone
Flickr picture by Wolfgang Wedenig




The official Croat hymn, composed by national trainer Slaven Bilić with his band Rawbau.
Translation :

We were together in 98′

The world has heard of us

And still the bronze medal shines

When we beat Japan, Holland, Romania, Germany

And now, 10 years later

Again the same hope, the same dream

We have the tickets, backpacks, and a crest on our chests (Crest 3x)


Madness, when it starts,


Let everything burn when through our veins

Red and white starts flowing