Croatia boss Ante Cacic has hit out at the “sports terrorists” that temporarily stopped play in their match against the Czech Republic on Friday.
Several flares were thrown onto the pitch late in the match, causing referee Mark Clattenburg to halt play for several minutes. The Czech Republic would then score a penalty kick deep into stoppage time to steal a draw.
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The disturbance is believed to be an organized act by a group of hooligans who have certain problems with the leaders of Croatian football, bent on bringing down the federation.
Croatian fans were seen fighting with each other in the stands as a majority of supporters were simply trying to enjoy the tournament. Speaking after the match, a furious Cacic said his country has been “ashamed in front of all of Europe.”
These are sports terrorists and they do exactly what they want — it hurts so much.
The same thing happened in Milan and we saw a Nazi sign on the pitch in [Split]. They insist on ruining everything we are doing. They probably have some support from I-don’t-know-where.
Ninety-five percent of Croatian supporters have been ashamed in front of all Europe, and our players are also really sad after this happened. They are so proud to wear the Croatian shirt, they play for the Croatian people and we are very sad after playing a beautiful match.
Croatia was docked points in EURO qualifying after a swastika was seen drawn onto their pitch last summer, which Cacic references above. They have also been forced to play in front of closed doors because of fan violence and inappropriate behavior from their supporters.
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who was named man of the match in the draw, apologized to UEFA, the Czech Republic, and “all people who love football” for the events that unfolded. With such a talented squad, it would be extremely unfortunate if actions like this continue to bring a negative light to the team.