Wow jack this is a wild generalization! Continental europe doesn't play nor watch cricket so they are ignorant and only know about football!?
Basket, hand, volley, alpine skiing, biathlon, athletics, cycling, fencing, golf, tennis, all motor sports, judo, karate, ice hockey, figure skating etc are all more popular than cricket (or netball, league, rugby union, afl, darts, hockey etc) in europe so what? Each to their own. Do you really think we would love cricket if only the sub continent and the west indies werent palying it, seriously? I have read many ignorant and weird comments on here but this one has to be in the top 10 of all times!
Another very fine article on this side of the football tab today, thanks ben.
I like the point you make about us 'westerners' cheering for NK not only in football but also other sports. I think many of us consider the players and the vast majority of the people victims of their regime so imo it makes a lot of sense to give them our support. I certainly do!
Plus as we all know, NK is (most probably) intrinsically the best football nation on the planet having had the 2 best football players of their era: am sure Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un were better football players than Pele and Messi/Ronaldo respectively (the same way they were the greatest golfers on the planet). I mean if they had tried, they would have been the best!
Don't think anyone in NK would disagree with that anyway.
Thanks for the article MF, very well written and yes, touchy 'topic' (sounds more Croatian than subject!).
I have always felt FIFA had been too harsh on this occasion and didn't take into consideration the emotionally-charged context around this match. There is often a fine line between fascism and nationalism, especially in Europe, that's why we have created words such as 'ultra nationalism' which are open to interpretation ( I don't condone any of the 3, just saying its not as black and white as some ppl my think).
In any case I think Simunic's words were more patriotic than fascist. I also think Simunic and many others in his situation feel the need to overdo their allegiance to the homeland (being born and raised elsewhere).
Re not playing for the country where you were born and raised, again I think its a very personal decision and in any case its never easy to make a choice. Viduka himself often said he was aussie through and through yet had Croatia in his blood, hence the career he had. Those guys childhood in oz was with Hadjuk Split or Dynamo Zagreb posters on the wall, they played for their local Oz-Croatian clubs etc. I have no problem with some of them choosing to represent the country of their parents over Oz. Again I think its a very personal choice and don't think its showing disrespect to the country where you were born and raised.