‘Idiot’ insults back home aimed at Novak Djokovic for supporting Croatia in World Cup semifinal

Serbia's Novak Djokovic has come in for criticism for showing support for Croatia as they prepare for their World Cup semifinal with England in Moscow. (AFP /Oli SCARFF)
Updated 10 July 2018
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‘Idiot’ insults back home aimed at Novak Djokovic for supporting Croatia in World Cup semifinal

BELGRADE: Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has come under fire for voicing support for neighbors Croatia at the World Cup, with one center right lawmaker dubbing his stance “idiotic.”
“Only idiots can support Croatia. Aren’t you ashamed Novak?,” tweeted Vladimir Djukanovic of President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party.
“I am backing Croatia... I know who I would like to lift the trophy,” Serbian media quoted Djokovic as saying from Wimbledon.
Several weeks before the World Cup started Djokovic posted pictures of himself with Croatian players including midfield stars Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to his Instagram account.

When the Croatians faced off against hosts Russia in their quarter-final many Serbs who gathered to watch in cafes in central Belgrade were backing the Russians rather than their neighbors from the former Yugoslavia.
Djukanovic, on holiday in Greece, posted a video to social media in which he indicated that “those who say ‘Nole’ (Djokovic) has called for support for Croatia make me mad” and called the star an “idiot” for his stance.
“I repeat that all those who supported Croatia against Russia are psychopaths and mad, fit for being locked up in an asylum.
“Djokovic is a national hero and I thank him — but support Croatia, how can he not be ashamed? So many Serbs from Krajina (a region in Croatia where Serbs were once the majority) backed him and yet he supports the country who drove them out...” said Djukanovic.

President Vucic meanwhile explained that “I backed Russia as that is my right. Serbia is a democratic society and everyone has the right to support whoever he wants.”
Croatia’s reward for ending Russian hopes is a Wednesday semifinal in Moscow against England.

 

 


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.