After all, it’s only a game of football, yet it doesn’t stop the media and footballers inappropriately using war and gangster metaphors to describe big matches. In the past couple of years, the Croatians have demonstrated what a tough nut they are to crack under Slaven Bilic, and it’s little surprise to see them as bookmaker favourites to beat England on Wednesday.
Will it be a straightforward victory for the home side, thus repeating the home and away victories they had against the same opponents in qualifying for Euro 2008? The Guardian reports that England skipper John Terry will be doing all he can to prevent this happening, claiming that the visitors are gunning for the three points – but surely they would be happy with one?
“I think we have got unfinished business with Croatia,” Terry said, after the Croats eased past Kazakhstan at the Maksimir stadium to extend their unbeaten competitive home run to 35 matches. “This is a new campaign and we are going there to pick up three points. If we can get off to a good six-point start, we’ll take that. We know it’s going to be tough again but, hopefully, they will come at us a bit more than Andorra did.
“You just try and rise to the challenge whenever you go back to a ground where you have bad memories. We know it’s difficult and we know they have not been beaten there for a long time. We have the same at Aston Villa with Chelsea – we have not won there for a few years and every year we go back to Villa Park and we know it’s going to be difficult, but we try our hardest. We have to go there with a clean slate and not think about the last game there or the last game at Wembley.”
John, if you’re going there with a clean slate, then why do you have unfinished business? Perhaps it’s because the England man likes to be the big man in press conferences, although ends up contradicting himself due to not exactly being the brightest star in the galaxy. But which team will be shining the most on Wednesday night?