Saturday, 2 July 2016

Zagreb 1990 and The Rise of Croatia Golden Generation

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Croatia nowadays is one of the football nation, the ultimate underdog of football and the most brilliant talented football producer in Europe. But, who knows in the beginning of 1990, Croatia was a tiny part of Yugoslavia territory, they were a minority and always being under the pressure of Serbian ethnic.
On the history book, the independence day of Croatia from Yugoslavia took place on the 25th of June 1991. However, many Croatian regard their independence day happened on the 13th of May 1990 on one of the bloodiest football match in history; Zagreb Tragedy.
On the national league match (Yugoslavian League) between Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) against Red Star Belgrade (Pride of many Serbian). as the matter of fact, at that time Croatia was still being a part of Yugoslavia territory. On many occasions, the rivalry clash between these two clubs was always colored by an ethnic issue as Dinamo Zagreb fans and Red Star Belgrade fans were coming from two different ethnics.

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The clash of 13th of May 1990 was different than any other previous clashes. Maximir Stadium, home of Dinamo Zagreb were fully loaded by either fans. The visitor's supporters were coming with 3.000 people under the name of "Delije" Ultras. "Delije" was led by
Zeljko Raznjatovic. a famous criminal from Serbia. The stadium was divided into two different sides. Some of the provoking song was heard from either side at that time including the cheers of provoking from "Bad Blue Boys", Dinamo Zagreb's hardcore fans.
Hundreds of police stayed and prepared, yet, an uncontrollable circumstances took place. It was getting worse second after second. The clash of provoking cheers from either side were changed into a political and ethnic sentiment between Croatian and Serbian. Both side were cheering the pride of their own ethnic. The home crowd were normally gave some cheers to the Dinamo Zagreb, but, "Delije" ultras were the first side who provoked "Bad Blue Boys" and they seemed ready to deliver an aggression to the home crowd.The home supporters were encounter "Delije" Ultras and called the Serbian as an invader.   
"Delije" ultras seemed getting ready to war when most of them were bringing deadly weapons. The tension of these rivarly was rising to a peak as "Bad Blue Boys" said that Zagreb is the part of Serbia and they were threating the Croatian elected leader Franjo Trujman would be killed. 
Those hugely provoking statements were encountered by Dinamo Zagreb Fans and they said  "Croatia isn't Serbia" and "Serbian go to hell from our land".
The physical clash between these two side was finally occurred. 15.000 of Dinamo Zagreb supporters against 3.000 Red Star Belgrade supporters.yet, the home crowd weren't ready for a physical clash. Furthermore most of the visitor's crowd were bringing some deadly weapons including knives. 
The barrier which separated two sides was completely collapsed and the clash was spreadig to the field. Red Star Belgrade players were going to the locker room, yet Dinamo Zagreb players were still on the field and tried to separate and save two sides.
The police whom Yugoslavia gave them authorize didn't do anything and were mostly on Red Star Belgrade's side. They'd never blocked the aggression from "Delije" yet, they'd blocked every act from the home crowd and even punished them.
The clash was clearly unequal even though the home crowd were winning in numbers. The home supporters regarded this tragedy as the resistance of the Croatian against Serbian. This clash had been taking place for about 70 minutes, almost equal with a single football game duration. hundreds of people were wounded, some of the were killed. 
This fight was memorable and historical. It was a trail blazer of Croatian resistance against Serbian government and the attempt to be separated from Yugoslavia. "This match is never done and it is a patriotic war. this is the key for Croatian resistance to be independence from Yugoslavia" according to the local daily "Vecernji".
Soon after, the Croatian parliament replaced all of the Serbian born police officer, and Balkan Turmoil explode. Croatian created a resistance army to fight against Serbian government army. most of "Bad Blue Boy" joined Croatian militia, otherwise, under the lead of Zeljko Raznjatovic, most of "Delije" ultras joined Serbian army under the command of Slobodan Milosevic. Either Zeljko Raznjatovic and Slobodan Milosevic were war criminals. Zeljko himself punished death in 2000. 
The Match between Dinamo Zagreb versus Red Star Belgrade was a historical one for Croatian, because it was the first time the showed their resistance against Serbian who ruled Yugoslavia. In fact they regard the 13th May of  1990 as their independence day although they got their independence in the 25th of June 1991.
After the independence of Croatia, Croatia founded a promising football generation who fight in the internatioanl level. Began in Euro 1996 Croatia clinched 1998 FIFA World Cup semifinal. Croatia continue to produce golden generation after golden generation, from Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic, to Darijo Srna, Luca Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, and many more. They have been better than the Serbian football talents on each generation.     
This tragedy showed us that football isn't just a game, it also the pride and resistance  of many people who fight under the dominance of the other. Football is a life, and that's why sometimes it is cruel.      

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