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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Croatia to play France in FIFA 2018 finals ~ something on President Kolinda Grabar

Tomislav  was the  first King of Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital is Zagreb.  The Croats reportedly arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries.  In October 1918, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

People are reading more about Croatia after they  sent Gareth Southgate's boys packing home in a scintillating encounter 2-1. And while Luka Modrić and his boys sent Kane & Co home, photo of this women  Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic supporting the team went viral.  She is no ordinary person – she is the   President -  Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic speaks Croatian, English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently and has basic understanding of German, French, and Italian. Only recently she ascended to power as the fourth president of the Republic of Croatia and the first female president of the country.

I have heard of Croatia earlier .. Croatia declared Independence after a referendum in 1991.  In 1992, Goran Ivanišević steamrolled his way to reach his first Wimbledon singles final, having defeated Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, and Pete Sampras in succession. Ivanišević's 6–7, 7–6, 6–4, 6–2 semifinal victory over Sampras was particularly impressive, with Ivanišević serving 36 aces and not even facing a break point in the entire match. In the final, Ivanišević faced Andre Agassi and was heavily favored to win; with both players attempting to win their first Grand Slam title. Agassi eventually won 6–7, 6–4, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4. In the fifth set, Ivanišević had a break point on Agassi's serve at 3–3, but failed to convert it. Ivanišević's ace count for the tournament (206) was the highest in Wimbledon history at the time, until Ivanišević beat his own record in 2001 with 213 aces. Ivanišević served 37 aces in the 1992 Wimbledon final against Agassi, while Agassi had 37 aces in the entire tournament. In recent times, the flag is kept high by - Marin Čilić, the reigning US Open champion.

Their legs had stopped working long before the end. Their muscles ached, their lungs heaved, their bodies creaked and groaned. Croatia’s players had hit their limits and traveled beyond them, yet again; they had drained themselves of adrenaline; they had passed deep into the red, into the pain. And still, even as their movements grew stiff and their tendons tight, when they were gasping for breath and it looked as though they could not possibly give any more, they kept going, kept chasing, kept running: past England, into the World Cup final, into history.
When the final whistle blew after two periods of extra time and their 2-1 victory was confirmed, several sank to the turf, floored not just by the sheer physical effort they had produced, but by the scale of their achievement. All but one of the superpowers have gone: Brazil and Germany, Argentina and Spain are out. Croatia, this nation of four million people, remains. Only France stands between this team and what would, most likely, rank as the most remarkable World Cup victory in history. It has reached the final the hard way, via the scenic route: extra-time and penalties against Denmark, extra-time and penalties against Russiaand now this: an exhausting, compelling 120 minutes against England, the sort of epic occasion that only the World Cup can produce. Modric is a veteran of four Champions League finals, Mandzukic three, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic one apiece. Of England’s starters, only Jordan Henderson had played in the biggest game in club soccer, and that was only a little more than a month ago.

England somehow wound up with just one shot on goal: the first-half score by Trippier. Of their other 10 shots, six were off target and four were blocked. In contrast, Croatia fired off 22 shots, getting seven of them on net.  After England’s loss it is  Croatia who return to the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday to face France.

Getting back to the good looking female President, the Nato summit kept her away from the semi-final, where her country broke English hearts, but she is expected to fly straight back to Moscow for the final against France.  Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (1968 born) is a Croatian politician and diplomat serving as the 4th  and current President of Croatia since 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office after the first multi-party elections in 1990. At 46 years of age, she also became the youngest person to assume the presidency. Before her election as President of Croatia, Grabar-Kitarović held a number of governmental and diplomatic positions.

Sometime back a photo went viral stating to be the President in bikini – however it was fake as it turned out to be   a American supermodel  Coco Austin.

So whom are you supporting in the finals tomorrow ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th July 2018.

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