Thursday 18 January 2018

Rakitic calls for fans to calm down

Ivan Rakitic Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Ivan Rakitic Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

When Croatia meet Spain in their final Euro 2016 group match tonight there will be as much scrutiny of developments in the stands as on the pitch.

Friday’s 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic was halted with four minutes to play when supporters again threw flares and fought among themselves. As a result, the Croatian FA have been prohibited from selling tickets to ‘certain fans’ identified as ‘hooligans’ and handed a €100,000 fine.

After the teams returned to the pitch, Croatia’s players felt their concentration had been disturbed, which contributed to the Czechs scoring a late equaliser with a penalty.

“We lost our pace when play was suspended because of our supporters,” midfielder Ivan Rakitic said.

He added: “We know it’s going to be tough because we are aware of their individual and team quality.”

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