How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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furiously frank wrote: Thu Dec 15, 2022 8:58 pm mate, I am interested in how the national team will weather the transition of Modric from top player/retirement.
Bulgaria went through a rough patch, post Hristo Stoichkov

We weathered a great 1998 generation that had Suker, Boban, Asanovic, Prosinecki, and so.

Modric of course was better than any of these and won't be replaced. Maybe we produce 1 like that every 40 years?

But can aspire to be 1998, a team of stars, world class players...and if a historical great like Modric is produced, all the better.

Check out some of my previous posts. We have a deep pipeline.

Full stop: I am hoping Gvardiol becomes 1 of the great defenders of history. He had a GREAT WC and will go to a top team. He is only 20...and you can be sure he will fired up for what Messi did to him.

Maybe Gvardiol becomes our next great leader and center of gravity. Like Beckenbauer or Palo Maldini or Baresi were for their teams.

We do have a supporting case emerging so far. The critical factor is the 17-21 year olds I listed. Never know.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Mate, two observations/questions:

1) I agree with a previous poster (Aswani) that as brilliant as Modric is, he is probably not Croatia's best ever midfielder. Modric gets more attention than Boban and Prosinecki because he played for a serial Champions League winning team in the social media era. Prosinecki played in the pre-social media era when eastern European teams were mysterious "outsiders" to western European audiences (eg. how many people are aware of his body of work at Red Star?).



2) Croatia's national team continues to be strong even though the Croat league is not among Europe's strongest (e.g. I cannot recall the last time Dinamo Zagreb or Red Star reached the knockout rounds of the Champions League). What explains this strange disconnect of a country that produces a good national team *in spite* of its league not being as rich or strong as the Big 4 leagues?
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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wiseone wrote: Fri Dec 16, 2022 6:40 am Mate, two observations/questions:

1) I agree with a previous poster (Aswani) that as brilliant as Modric is, he is probably not Croatia's best ever midfielder. Modric gets more attention than Boban and Prosinecki because he played for a serial Champions League winning team in the social media era. Prosinecki played in the pre-social media era when eastern European teams were mysterious "outsiders" to western European audiences (eg. how many people are aware of his body of work at Red Star?).



2) Croatia's national team continues to be strong even though the Croat league is not among Europe's strongest (e.g. I cannot recall the last time Dinamo Zagreb or Red Star reached the knockout rounds of the Champions League). What explains this strange disconnect of a country that produces a good national team *in spite* of its league not being as rich or strong as the Big 4 leagues?


Prosinecki has great individual skill, the highest level. Kinda like Okocha. But he had discipline issues, could lose focus, and certainly was not a leader on the field, relying on brilliance. It's hard to compare him in all this to Modric.

Boban was a great midfielder for sure. But I still can't put him with Modric. Luka helped RM to 4 CLs, even with CR. World player of the year, pulled Croatia to the semis 2x.

I'm proud of a long line of great Croatian players. But honestly, on my eye test, Modric stands above them all: imperious and durable, dominant over many years.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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wiseone wrote: Fri Dec 16, 2022 6:40 am Mate, two observations/questions:

1) I agree with a previous poster (Aswani) that as brilliant as Modric is, he is probably not Croatia's best ever midfielder. Modric gets more attention than Boban and Prosinecki because he played for a serial Champions League winning team in the social media era. Prosinecki played in the pre-social media era when eastern European teams were mysterious "outsiders" to western European audiences (eg. how many people are aware of his body of work at Red Star?).



2) Croatia's national team continues to be strong even though the Croat league is not among Europe's strongest (e.g. I cannot recall the last time Dinamo Zagreb or Red Star reached the knockout rounds of the Champions League). What explains this strange disconnect of a country that produces a good national team *in spite* of its league not being as rich or strong as the Big 4 leagues?

As to the leagues, if you are interested, read my earlier posts here. To summarize: Croatian teams play in the CL and, at least, Europa League. Dinamo beat Chelsea 1-0 this year and got Tuchel fired.

The quality of the Croatian League is good. See what I wrote about Dani Olmo of Spain. He left Barcelona at 16 for Dinamo to get playing time in this league. He is a rising star for Spain now.

You don't have to be the Big 5 leagues. You just have to be good enough to give your players ample time at the highest level. I'll keep repeating: the biggest factor for Croatian success is this league, backed by a stable socioeconomic situation.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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I'm proud of this.

3 Croatians make L'Equipe World Cup XI. 2 are young. Of course Modric is done, but it overall speaks to good future.

Fingers crossed.

Note: Morocco also had 3 players. Speaks how strong Group F was in World Cup.

Image

www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/le ... l-28766714
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Here is an update and an example of how Croatia is trying to develop the next generation.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/lafc-sig ... stipe-biuk

Stipe Biuk is 20, a hyped left winger, the 3rd highest every transfer fee from Hajduk Split, and most interestingly, going into the MLS for LA FC.

I've been discussing the MLS angle with friends and colleagues. Many say the MLS is starting to prove itself as developing. Citing Alphonso Davies and Miguel Almiron as examples. I sure hope it is true!

Anyways, Croatia continues to push the bar in developing players. Check out this web site that tracks young Croatian players and their prospects.

https://croatiansports.com/the-next-gen ... d-talents/

Note the cool classification system for potential, which at 1st glance seems 5 tiers:
  • World Class: might have borderline qualification.
  • Elite Top:might have borderline qualification.
  • 5 League Player: might have good or great qualification.
A poster said, although take his examples with a grain of salt:

7/10 means I think they will be a below average to average player in a top 5 league (Petkovic)
7.5/10 is just a top 5 league player (Budimir)
8/10 is a good top 5 league player (prime Lovren)
8.5/10 is a great top 5 league player (Mandzukic, but maybe I’d put him in 9)
9/10 is an elite player (Perisic prime)
9.5/10 is a player that’s one of the best, but not exactly world class (Rakitic could be a 9.5 or 10)
10/10 is a world class player like Modric, Kroos, De Bruyne, etc
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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I hear Juranovic of Celtic will soon be leaving for bigger things (and bigger money!).
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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wiseone wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 12:35 pm I hear Juranovic of Celtic will soon be leaving for bigger things (and bigger money!).
That is the word on the street. I heard Chelsea gave a lower offer, but it looks like Juranovic will leave Celtic soon.

BTW: I am starting to track the Nigerian NT...especially with younger players, seeing how they develop.

As we're discussing, it's important to create, train, and develop a pipeline across all positions.

This is what the modern NT game has become.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Keep an eye 👁 on Osimhen, Bassey, and Moffi. Those 3 are unlikely to be at their current clubs for many years. When they get sold, the combined transfer fee will be in the 100-150 million range. There is also another highly rated lad at Fenerbahce called Bright Osayi-Samuel.

The other players to keep an eye on are the dual national Nigerian players also qualified to play for other countries. Nigeria 🇳🇬 has been burned 🔥 in the past by losing several players qualified to play for Nigeria to other countries (e.g. Alaba, Musiala, Saka, Akanji, Tammy Abraham, Tomori, Karim Adeyemi, Dele Alli, Noah Okafor, Ogbonna etc).

When one considers the calibre of clubs they play for (Real Madrid, Bayern, Man City, Arsenal, AC Milan, Dortmund etc), their absence from the Nigerian NT is the difference between a team that can reach the World Cup semi-finals and a team that routinely gets knocked out in the 2nd round.
mate wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:19 am That is the word on the street. I heard Chelsea gave a lower offer, but it looks like Juranovic will leave Celtic soon.

BTW: I am starting to track the Nigerian NT...especially with younger players, seeing how they develop.

As we're discussing, it's important to create, train, and develop a pipeline across all positions.

This is what the modern NT game has become.
Last edited by wiseone on Wed Jan 04, 2023 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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wiseone wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:51 am Keep an eye 👁 on Osimhen, Bassey, and Moffi. Those 3 are unlikely to be at their current clubs for many years. When they get sold, the combined transfer fee will be in the 100-150 million range. There is also another highly rated lad at Fenerbahce called Bright Osayi-Samuel.

The other players to keep an eye on are the dual national Nigerian players also qualified to play for other countries. Nigeria 🇳🇬 has been burned 🔥 in the past by losing several players qualified to play for Nigeria to other countries (e.g. Alaba, Musiala, Saka, Akanji, Tammy Abraham, Tomori, Karim Adeyemi, Dele Alli, Noah Okafor, Ogbonna etc).

When one considere the calibre of clubs they play for (Real Madrid, Bayern, Man City, Arsenal, AC Milan, Dortmund etc), their absence from the Nigerian NT is the difference between a team that can reach the World Cup semi-finals and a team that routinely gets knocked out in the 2nd round.
mate wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 2:19 am That is the word on the street. I heard Chelsea gave a lower offer, but it looks like Juranovic will leave Celtic soon.

BTW: I am starting to track the Nigerian NT...especially with younger players, seeing how they develop.

As we're discussing, it's important to create, train, and develop a pipeline across all positions.

This is what the modern NT game has become.


Thanks! This is going to be a fun and interesting exercise. I will post occasional update and observations on this thread...sometimes posting in the main CE channel.

BTW: My Italian friends speak the world of Osimhen. 2 I trust said he is a special talent and will be world class if not already there.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Mate - Victor Osimhen is still doing Victor Osimhen things...

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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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wiseone wrote: Sun Jan 08, 2023 10:31 pm Mate - Victor Osimhen is still doing Victor Osimhen things...



I just found out about Caleb Okoli: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caleb_Okoli

His Mom apparently said he will play for Italy. He of course was born there, but both parents are Nigerian. He is a 21 year old center back, also highly rated by my Italian friends.

Just to add some contrast: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ljubičić

Robert was born in Austria of Croatian parents from Bosnia. He even played 1 senior game for Austria. But FIFA gave exemption because he decided to play for Croatia.

As I told you, Croatia has a program to identify players of Croatian heritage and pursue them. Even contribute to their development, paying academies.

It probably of course is easier to convince a Croatian from Europe to play for Croatia than a Nigerian from Europe to play for Nigeria...given the distance, which alone is a major factor. Anyways, this is an area I think Croatia does a good job. With only 4M people, it's even a necessity to have a fighting chance.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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mate wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:16 am As I told you, Croatia has a program to identify players of Croatian heritage and pursue them.
mate,

I am sure "Yugoslavia" would not have been able to tap into their diaspora as much as Croatia has been able to.

That is the situation with Nigeria, the country is in political turmoil (has been for a fair while) and players don't have that allegiance "fire" like folk with Croatian ancestry clearly do.

Look at Simenic, he came through the Australian system. As soon as you stick him in a Croatian shirt, he starts playing like Baresi.

The Croatian FA might have a decent scouting system but it is more than that I feel, there is something in your country's DNA that suggests it will always produce good players plus as soon as average players put on that white and red checked shirt, their ability and skill levels increase tenfold, regardless of where they were born or brought up.

I do hope they win something soon though I know they'll still be a good team well after Modric has stopped playing.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Aswani wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 12:45 am
mate wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:16 am As I told you, Croatia has a program to identify players of Croatian heritage and pursue them.
mate,

I am sure "Yugoslavia" would not have been able to tap into their diaspora as much as Croatia has been able to.

That is the situation with Nigeria, the country is in political turmoil (has been for a fair while) and players don't have that allegiance "fire" like folk with Croatian ancestry clearly do.

Look at Simenic, he came through the Australian system. As soon as you stick him in a Croatian shirt, he starts playing like Baresi.

The Croatian FA might have a decent scouting system but it is more than that I feel, there is something in your country's DNA that suggests it will always produce good players plus as soon as average players put on that white and red checked shirt, their ability and skill levels increase tenfold, regardless of where they were born or brought up.

I do hope they win something soon though I know they'll still be a good team well after Modric has stopped playing.

Good point I didn't consider. Yes, you are correct, as Yugoslavia recruiting abroad would have stoked even more division. It would have been Serbians vs Croatians again...but man I hope Nigeria isn't as bad as Yugoslavia was here.

You are right about the nationalism angle with Croatia. I'm born outside Croatia but it with Catholicism is my strongest marker of identity. Croatia leverages this.

Still, any nation and team should strive to do its best. Brazil is multicultural, albeit with nuances. But is obviously great in football. A lot of European teams now are multicultural, so maybe there is something for Nigeria to learn, develop, and advance on its own with?

I'm hoping for the best and rooting for the Super Eagles.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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Patriotism. Pride.

National representation means something to these players. They know the history of the nation, they know where it has come from, what it has endured and the fortune of their favour. There’s a sense of belonging and that, one would argue, is the motivator on the days when others lie in or reach for the igbo and shayo.

With all his millions, Lomachenko featherweighted himself into army fatigues to join the front liners vs Oga Putin. Eastern Europe. Two stripes of green either side and he’d have launched his whole family tree to Dubai, business class and cargoed a few G wagons for the airport transit.

How come Croatia, with a tiny population, can challenge the world in the beautiful game, because Croatia’s history means something to its present and to its future.
Last edited by Coach on Sat Jan 14, 2023 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How come Croatia with a tiny population

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@Mate, Bobby Prosineki was near genius, sadly he was destined to hopscotch across the thin line which separates genius from madness. That alone, contributed to his genius. Irony.

Boban was quality. Pure quality. Cerebral.

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