Football

Croatian President wins hearts at FIFA World Cup

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

As Croatia advanced to the FIFA World Cup final for the first time in history, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, its first-ever woman President won many hearts worldwide for her enthusiasm during her country's matches .

It all began with footage showing Ms. Kolinda watching the Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark from the stands along with fans, instead of from the VIP box.

 

"I wanted to showcase that I am a football fan, like everyone else; I wanted to support the team among other fans in the stands. I put on a shirt with national symbols, whereas the dress code in the VIP zone, which usually presupposes long gowns, wouldn't have permitted such an outfit,"  Ms. Kolinda had said.

Ahead of the quarterfinals, President Kolinda flew economy class with fellow Croatian football fans from Zagreb to support her country. Her trip along with the many group selfies she took with the fans became the talk of the Internet.

She entered the stadium in a formal red suit, but later removed the jacket to reveal Croatia's red and white check jersey. Robed in Croatian colours, Kolinda sat next to the FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the VIP box.

 

A video of her doing a dance as the Russian Prime Minister looked on with a blank expression went viral on social media.

While her celebrations in the VIP box was exceptionally fun, she then went on to celebrate the victory with the players in the dressing room.Kolinda did not hesitate to give the just-back-from-the-field players congratulatory hugs.

 

Google trends reported over 7,00,000 searches on the Croatian president on July 8. Her name figured in the worldwide top 10 searches on Tuesday as well. But Kolinda couldn’t make it to the stadium on Tuesday to witness Croatia knocking out England to seal its berth in the final.

Ahead of the semifinal, Kolinda handed Croatian team jerseys to US counterpart Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May at a NATO summit in Brussels. The jerseys had their names (Trump and May) written on them.

(With inputs from Harnee Anand)

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 2:06:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/croatian-president-wins-hearts-at-fifa-world-cup/article24410567.ece

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