The Croatian national 6-a-side team is gearing up for the upcoming International Socca Federation (ISF) World Cup with high hopes and determined spirits. In an exclusive interview, Vedran Prga, a representative of the Croatian Federation, provided insights into the team’s preparations and expectations for the tournament.
“Preparations for the World Cup are going pretty well,” Prga stated. However, the team faces a significant challenge due to the geographical dispersion of the players across Croatia, with one player currently residing in Ireland. As an amateur sport, gathering all the players simultaneously becomes a formidable task. Despite these hurdles, head coach Zeljko Ostrman is working tirelessly to make the most of the team’s situation.
To fine-tune their strategies and assess their performance, the Croatian team recently played a friendly match against Slovenia, which ended in an exhilarating 6-6 draw. Prga highlighted the game’s significance, stating, “That game helped the coach identify areas for improvement before the World Cup and allowed the players to strengthen their bond.”
The upcoming World Cup, set to take place in Essen, is a highly anticipated event for the Croatian team. Prga expressed the team’s excitement, saying, “The 6-a-side World Cup is the highlight of our year. After a few years of playing in reduced activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, last year’s World Cup in Budapest brought us immense joy. However, we believe that Essen will mark the grand return of the ISF, and we eagerly await what the ISF and the Local Organising Committee have in store for us.”
While emphasising the collective strength of the Croatian team, Prga shed light on a standout player, Tomislav Haramustek. Following an impressive performance in the EuroCup, where the team secured third place, Haramustek caught the attention of many. Prga encouraged spectators to keep an eye on Haramustek, affirming the team’s recognition of his skills and potential impact on the tournament.
Reflecting on their objectives for the World Cup, Prga acknowledged the team’s previous setback. “Last year, we aimed to reach at least the semi-finals but unfortunately exited the tournament during the group stage,” he shared. As a result, the team will approach this year’s competition without undue pressure. Prga explained, “We will take it step by step and see where it takes us. After our commendable performance in the recent EuroCup, we do aspire for greater success. However, we must be prepared for a completely different style of play compared to the EuroCup since our group lacks European teams.”
Identifying Mexico as a formidable opponent, Prga also acknowledged the strength of teams such as Costa Rica and Bahrain. The Croatian team eagerly anticipates these challenging matches and hopes for strong fan support, particularly in their clash against Mexico, which will be held at 9 pm local time.
As the Croatian national 6-a-side team fine-tunes its strategies and builds cohesion, their determination to make an impact at the ISF World Cup is palpable. With the guidance of Head Coach Zeljko Ostrman and the unwavering support of their fans, the team aspires to surpass expectations and leave their mark on the international stage.