While on different sides of the fence, two of Prince Albert’s European expat soccer fans have reacted with a sense of pride to the outcome of Wednesday’s semi-final at the World Cup in Russia.
Croatia scored a come-from-behind 2-1 win over England to earn a shot at France in Sunday’s final.
Kenan Ibrisimovic,17, was born in Croatia before moving to Bosnia. He came to Prince Albert eight years ago and has played for P.A. Celtic and also suits up for Carlton High.
“It’s always hard when you’re one-nil down,” he told paNOW after watching what he termed a tough, competitive match against the English. “Croatia were fighting hard and played together as a team.”
Ibrisimovic has caught all the tournament games on TV and said the win for Croatia would send a signal to the world about the capabilities and heart of Europe’s smaller countries.
“It’s going to show more attention to our countries and the way we play,” he said. “Those bigger nations like Brazil and Germany they think when they step on the field they’re going to win but the smaller countries fight for their life to win.”
Meanwhile yet another England fan is left to ponder what might have been as the long-time under-achievers continue their wait for their first World Cup final appearance since 1966.
“It’s so disappointing but you know what, they played really bloody well,” Edwina Lewis told paNOW from the bed and breakfast she runs in the city. She’s been in the country for 36 years and nine of those in Prince Albert. She used to travel the country regularly back in the UK to watch her team Coventry City play.
Lewis praised Croatia while noting the young England team had encouraged her to think there’s hope for the future.
“They did not go out with a whimper and it puts the faith back into the fact that we can play football and we’re going to do much better from this point on,” Lewis said.
Despite yet another World Cup stumble, for some England football fans it seems that hope springs eternal.
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