Posted: 10/17/2016
Title: CROATIA FOOTBALL...RED & WHITE CHECKERED SHIRTS.

Blog:                                                                                                                         

      It was on my bucket lists of places to visit to I took a day trip from Tivat, Montenegro across the border to DUBROVNIK, the Pearl of the Adriatic in Southern Croatia. Old Town Dubrovnik is a walled city with red roofs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 1km away is the bus station and the docks for huge ships that let out their hordes of sightseeing tourists for the day. 

      Despite being late in the season the Old Town was swarming with visitors in the bright sunshine. At least it wasn't mid summer. You can climb up onto the walls and walk along them and you can visit churches and eat and drink off a main walking street .At the small boat docks there were about 20 competing tables offering one hour trips round the bay for 10 Euros. The Euro is not the official currency unlike Montenegro, or Slovenia to the north, but is widely accepted. It's called the KUNA (HRK).

       Dubrovnik is not the place to watch top class football. They have a small Stadion Lapas for NK GOSK Dubrovnik, holding 3,000 while BIG TIME football is notably in Zagreb, the capital where most international matches are played at Maksimir Stadium or Poljud Stadium in Split or the new stunning Katrida stadium in Rijeka. I first watched Croatia play in their first ever match at their first every tournament- EURO 96 at the City Stadium in Nottingham where a late goal gave them victory over Turkey. They beat Denmark 3-0, lost by the same score to Portugal and were knocked out by eventual champions Germany 2-1 in the QF. From FIFA 125th in 1993 to 3rd 5 years later in 1998 was stunning progress.

      Two years later I was in Lyon for the big upset at FIFA World Cup 1998. After wins over Jamaica and Japan they lost to Argentina in the group stages. However they got their revenge over Germany, ranked second in the world at the time, by winning 3-0 against a tired and aging opponent with goals by Robert Jarni, Goran Vladovic and David Suker. Christian Worms received a red card.  After losing 2-1 to France despite taking the lead in the semi-final they beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Paris for 3rd place which I was privileged to watch.

        Last week he was billed as the next David Beckam... a 15 year old lad from Marietta, Georgia playing for Atlanta United in an Academy match away against Philadelphia Union in the MLS Adidas Cup qualifying campaign. JACKSON CONWAY is his name. You can see his stunning oportunistic shot from half way in ESPN or many other social media clips. His goal helped United to a 4-1 win. Jackson is the son of Jon Conway, a promising college player from Bolton, Lancashire. Jon's dad Jimmy Conway played for Celtic, Norwich City, Southend United and Partick Thistle and coached with Bolton Wanderers. Jackson's mom Jenn is American and the lad was born in Leeds, Yorkshire so is eligible for USA, Scotland and England. Well done 'ACTION JACKSON'.....remember the name !!

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