Croatia cabinet wear jerseys after World Cup semi win

2018-07-12 17:56

Zagreb, July 12, 2018 (AFP) -Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his ministers held a session Thursday dressed in red-and-white football jerseys to mark their country's win over England that sets up a World Cup final against France.

Plenkovic, who returned from Moscow where he attended the semi-final, congratulated the squad on a "fascinating success for Croatian sports and football".

The victory of captain Luka Modric's side is "Croatia's biggest promotion," said the prime minister.

It shows "the strength of a country which is not big, but has a big heart ... and these boys who went a step further than the brilliant 1998 with (Miroslav) Ciro Blazevic," he added.

Plenkovic was referring to Blazevic, the legendary coach with whom Croatia finished third at the World Cup in France twenty years ago.

Croatia's success in the tournament seems to have boosted interest in the country, proud of its more than 1,000 islands and islets.

The national tourist board said its online page views grew by 250 percent compared to the same period last year.

"Croatia's passage to the World Cup final is a historic result which has made us the focal point of world attention," head of the board Kristjan Stanic said in a statement.

"It is an exceptional chance for additional promotional activities."

The board has made a shortened version of the country's 2018 tourism promotional spot "Croatia Full of Life", featuring football players including Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic.

The country of around four million people hosted more than 18 million tourists last year.

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