Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England will see friendships and loyalties tested.
Those claiming both Croatian and English heritage will have a foot in both camps, like BBC presenter Adrian Chiles. Chiles, who has a Croatian mother and English father, says ‘no matter what happens I will have a country I love in the World Cup final’.
Tomorrow’s semi-final will also test some marriages and those with strong friendships. One man who falls in that camp in former Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich.
The former Australian keeper spent most his career in England and developed a number of strong friendships, including one with current England manager Gareth Southgate with whom he played together with at Aston Villa.
Bosnich, who was in Russia as a TV pundit for Australia’s Fox Sports and has stayed on, has Croatian heritage which trumps his friendships.
Croatian media caught up with him ahead of tomorrow’s match.
“My father was born on Korcula, Blato on Korcula. I have one uncle who lives in Split, family in Zagreb and also in Kiseljak in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Bosnich, who says he is glad that Croatia is playing England in the semi-final.
You had a long career playing in England but you have Croatian roots, who will you be supporting?
“My heart is for Croatia, you know. But my friend is also Gareth Southgate (England manager) who I played with for four years at Aston Villa. My heart is for Croatia but if England to win it won’t be too bad,” Bosnich told 24sata.
Bosnich thinks that England are slight favourites for tomorrow’s semi-final in Moscow mainly because of the fact that Croatia has had to play two matches in a row which have gone into extra-time, whilst England have just had one so will be fresher.
“It is a semi-final though, you know. Anything is possible. I think on paper Croatia has better players – Modric, Rakitic, Brozovic, Perisic, Mandzukic – but England is a young team, they do not have a lot of experience but they run a lot. My friend Gareth Southgate is also very smart,” says Bosnich.
Bosnich, who was renowned as a great penalty-kick saver, was asked what he thought about Croatian keeper Danijel Subasic’s heroics in the last two matches.
“I think Subasic, Courtois (Belgium), Pickford for England and Lloris for France have been the best goalkeepers in the tournament. Subasic equalled a record with his three saves against Denmark and he was Croatia’s most important player. When Subasic plays well then Croatia plays well – there is a lot more confidence,” the former Manchester United keeper said.
“I would love a Belgium v Croatia final. I wish with my heart that Croatia makes the final and wins it. See you soon in Croatia because every summer I go to Split so see you soon, all the best Croatia,” he concluded.