Croatia entered finals for the first time in the football world cup since its formation as an independent country in 1991. On Wednesday, Croatia beat England by 2-1 in the FIFA World Cup 2018, and the mood in the 400-year-old city was almost like Sweden playing in the world cup.
The pubs and cafes that showed the match between Croatia and England were filled with football fans.
Gothenburg aka Göteborg is also called the Little London because of its historical and cultural connections but the mood in the city was in favour of Croatia to win over England in the semifinals played in Russia.
WHY SUPPORT for CROATIA?
Supporters of Croatia were seen more in numbers than the English. A Gothenburger told www.gothenburg-400.com the reasons for supporting Croatia could be varied and many but among them are: 1) Croatians are playing brilliant football, and great to watch them play 2) It is a small country (less than 5 millions) but plays the game passionately 3) Croatians have migrated to Sweden, too, in the 1990s and there are Croatian-Swedes 4) Sweden’s most famous footballer Zlatan Ibrahmiovic is a half-Croat and 5) You do not want to support a team against whom you lost – Sweden lost to England in quarterfinals by two goals.
Because Gothenburg has English speakers, and English is the de facto second language of Sweden some had their feelings for England but their numbers were clearly overcome with Croatian-Swedes. The number of British living in Sweden taking up Swedish citizenship rose dramtically after Great Britain exited from EU in a referendum in June 2016. One visiting British citizen said, “We need a good news for the country, and this world cup can bring that.”
GROWING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SWEDEN & CROATIA
The business links between Gothenburg and Croatia are on the rise. Gothenburg Business Region played a role when the President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited Gothenburg in 2017 and hosted an event for an interaction with businesses, and served as networking platform between Swedish and Croatian companies.
According to one estimate, there are about 30,000 Croatians and of Croatian lineage living in Sweden. The country became an independent country in 1991 by breaking away from Yugoslavia and joined European Union in 2013.
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