There are two minutes left in extra-time, of the Croatia-Turkey, quarter-final, when Croatia’s Ivan Klasnic, puts his team ahead. The Turks are beating the turf in frustration and despair. Whilst the Croatians are going wild with jubilation.
Manager Slaven Bilic, with his trademark suit and earring, has raced onto the pitch and joined his players in celebration. He is ecstatic. He thinks his team are through to the semi-finals.
But they are not. In time added on for Croatia’s collective celebration, Turkey score. Now it is Croatia’s turn to beat the turf in frustration. They are utterly dejected as they prepare for the penalty shoot-out. They had won the game. Now they are being asked to take tension-riddled penalties.
Their spirit has gone, as they exit the tournament. Two of their penalties, do not even trouble the Turkey keeper.
The Croatians have fallen into a classic psychological trap. They have presumed, that their late goal is the winner. The euphoria, has gone to their heads, as they lose focus and concentration, and allow the gallant Turks, back into the game.
If only they had stayed cool and calm, when they scored. But, that is not the Croatian way. The spirit and passion of Slaven Bilic, has been one of the many positives, about this vibrant tournament.
He has led his country with immense pride, guile and desire. In fact, his running on the pitch to celebrate with his team, was totally in keeping with his passionate character. If it cost Croatia a place in the European Championship semi-finals…well, so be it.