Croatian newspaper fires back at Canada's Herdman with spicy headline

Nov 25 2022, 5:13 pm

Apparently, Canada coach John Herdman might’ve ruffled some feathers in Croatia for his comments at the FIFA World Cup.

Or at least one outlet, it appears.

Croatian tabloid newspaper 24sata took exception to Herdman’s “F Croatia” comments following Canada’s opening match against Belgium at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Canada and Croatia meet Sunday in each team’s second Group F battle.

“You have the mouth (tongue), but do you have the balls as well?” read the headline for 24sata, complete with a picture of Herdman in the buff except for a couple of strategically placed Maple Leafs.

Herdman clarified when asked by Croatian media about his comments Thursday.

“I mean, you say those things in an impassioned moment trying to inspire your team in a huddle, and when you’re asking a question what you said in the huddle, yeah, it’s what I said,” he said.

“It’s not massively respectful to Croatian people and the Croatian national team. I understand very well where they’re at on the world stage. But in that moment, you take your men to that next place. You’re taking your team to that next place. We’re here to be fearless and to bring everything we’ve got to that game.”

The comments didn’t seem to ruffle any feathers of the actual Croatian team, however.

Croatian defender Joško Gvardiol didn’t seem to be bothered by the rallying cry of the Canadian squad.

“As far as I’m concerned, everyone can say whatever they want,” Gvardiol told the tabloid. “The field is an indicator, matches last 90 or 100 minutes. We will give our maximum and I believe we will take three points.”

Croatia, runner-up to France in the 2018 World Cup, is No. 12 in the FIFA World Rankings. Canada sits at No. 41.

Belgium, the No. 2-ranked country in the world, leads Group F with three points, while Croatia and Morocco have one point apiece after playing to a 0-0 draw earlier Wednesday. Canada sits last with zero points.

“If this is his way to motivate the team, why not?” midfielder Lovro Majer said, according to 24sata. “If it will lift the team, great. We don’t pay attention to it, we will take it as motivation from our side and I believe that it will not be like that.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

+ Offside
+ Soccer
+ FIFA World Cup