The Croatian team lacked a little again. In the last five years, this team has won bronze and silver at the World Championships, and now they have lost only on penalties in the Nations League final. And it seems to be the most offensive – staying one step away from the title (especially the first in the team’s history), but the Croats still leave a positive impression.
Just think: the national team of a country with a population of 4 million people goes to such finals. And here in the head immediately there is tricky mathematics. In Russia, after all, the population is 35 times larger. Where the hell are our Modrici, Brozovichi and Kovacici? Clearly that’s not how it works. Otherwise, China and India would have played in the World Cup final every time. And they only have one hit on the main stage of the two-team tournament. And then the Chinese in the 2002 World Cup did not score a single point and did not score a single goal.
It is clear that the issue here is the education of soccer players and the number of soccer schools in the country. Although it is unlikely that less children play football in Russia than in Croatia. Rather, even in Moscow there are only more quantitatively. At the same time, Modric is recognized as the best player in the world, and every year we pray that Miranchuk and Golovin have a better next season.
Alexei Miranchuk and Alexander Golovin
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
Usually at this time they begin to say that there are talents in Russia, but our schools … This really needs to be said. And about the salaries of children’s coaches, which seem to be increasing. And about the fields in the academies, especially remembering where Golovin himself grew up. And of course we also have to talk about methods. One of the problems was raised by coach Vadim Garanin. While in Europe children are allowed to create on the field, in Russia they are required to kick the ball more reliably.
– Everyone was told “don’t invent”. For me it is terrifying. […] There was a footballer for whom he was spending his last season in the youth team, then he went further. And he told me: “Why do we transmit to each other? We can make a mistake and not earn bonuses. You laugh, but it’s scary. I had to quickly look at players with a different mentality,” Garanin said.
Great interview with Vadim Garanin
“Two lost consciousness – finished the match with nine.” Coach-season opener in Russia
And here is 2021. The decisive game to get into the 2022 World Cup. Croatia itself beat Russia in a single ball, although the game was a win. Chorluka spoke eloquently about that encounter: “We tried to play football, but you didn’t.” I don’t want to think it through, but there seems to be a connection between Garanin’s and Chorluka’s words. This also includes Smolov’s claim that modern young footballers go to the gym, but cannot save the ball.
Despite all the difficulties that exist in Russia (distances, methods, financing), the players still make their way. That even, rather, against, instead of thanks to the infrastructure and everything else. And here is the next important factor. Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic began their careers with Dinamo Zagreb, but rose to the top flight thanks to Inter, Tottenham and Real Madrid. And these clubs are more likely to send their scouts to Zagreb than to Moscow.
Why does little Croatia play better football than big Russia?
Photo: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
And there are many reasons for that: geographical, political, and the market has already developed like this: Croatian footballers have proven to be better than Russian ones. And in the international market, the connections built are important. Communication routes for directors, headhunters and agents are now even less built through Russia than before. But without experience in the highest category there will be no outstanding player. In this sense, the story of Harry Kane is indicative. In an interview with The Championship, van der Vaart said that the young Kane didn’t look like anything (in the original it was: “What kind of shit is this guy”). Now, this is the best English footballer who has broken the national team’s goal record.
It’s easier to become one of the best soccer players when you play in the most competitive league in the world. And we see where the players of the Croatian national team perform (80-90% are not in their native league). It does not seem that Russian players are being brought to the main European championships. Rather, they will take something from Livakovich again. And if so, the 4 millionth Croatia will still play better than the 140 millionth Russia.