PATRICK MULLINS SOCCER BLOG: DO YOU NEED A TEAM TO SUPPORT? LOOK NO FURTHER THAN CROATIA

In need of a team to support in the WC since the US failed to qualify? I’m here to tell you that your team should be Croatia. Why you may ask? Because you don’t want to feel left out from the passion of the tournament because you have no team to support. You also want to pick a team that has a chance to make a deep run in the tournament without picking a perennial favorite like Germany or Brazil. Now let me tell you why you won’t regret choosing the Croatians.

Croatia is a team made up of a world class quality players brought together by an inspirational coach that has the potential to make a deep run. Their midfielder Luka Modric—who plys his trade for Real Madrid—will be enough to wow you on his own with his vision for connecting passes to build an attack and his control over a match’s tempo. He is the most notable player on the squad, but other players like Mario Manduzic, Daniel Lovren, and Ivan Rakitic round out a team made up of players that play at some of the most prestigious clubs in the world. These players know what it takes to manage a 90 minute game to win against high level opponents at the club level, which will come in handy as they will face some difficult opponents at the international level this summer.

Not only do they have the ability to make a long run, history is on their side as well. European teams are historically more successful at the WC when it is hosted in a European nation. Any theory on why this is would purely be speculation. Some argue that the travel makes a difference, but I would argue that a lot of the teams represented have players in European leagues. Yet the history is what it is, so it is difficult to ignore. This should give more confidence in up and coming teams—like Croatia-- to have a great tournament no matter the team they face.

To be fair, their tournament run begins with one of the tougher opening groups—Iceland, Argentina, Nigeria—which will make for some very entertaining matches early in the tournament. Their opening match against____ will serve as an early test of their capability to make a deep run. I suspect they will make it through ____ and the rest of their group in style and build a lot of confidence in doing so that will help down the stretch of the tournament.

During a tournament where you can’t support the red, white and blue, Croatia is a great team to hitch your bandwagon. They promise quality players, a good chance of advancing deep in the tournament, and entertaining matches. The next time you’re talking with your soccer friends tell them you’re not just taking the usual favorites and hitching your bandwagon to the Croatians.