The lingering controversy around the Croatia fans who threw flares onto the pitch during the Croatia-Czech Republic match on Friday is making Croatia and Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic nervous about his country’s future at Euro 2016.
In an interview following the 2-2 draw between the two sides, Rakitic – who scored the first of Croatia’s two goals – expressed concern that UEFA might send the Croatian team home after the incident, which delayed the match and nearly injured one of his teammates.
‘We have to see if we will play against Spain, maybe they will send us home after this,’ Rakitic said, per the Daily Mail.
‘There are a lot more fans that love the national team and they will not be able to see Croatia play.
‘We were lucky that the match went on, the referee wanted to end it immediately.’
Croatia head coach Ante Cacic referred to the hooligans as ‘sports terrorists’ and begged authorities or the Croatian Football Association to intervene and stop the disgraceful behaviour.
‘This is maybe just a question about six to 10 individuals. I hope they can be identified and punished,’ Cacic said.
‘I hope the Croatia FA is doing everything to prevent this but it is impossible to avoid. These people are really scary, that is why I call them hooligans.
‘These are not really Croatian supporters. These are sports terrorists. The main thing our country doesn’t want to mess with this kind of hooligans.
‘Probably 90 per cent of Croatia supporters are ashamed in front of whole of Europe. Our players are really sad. They are so proud to wear the Croatia shirt and we are very, very sad after playing a beautiful match.’
UEFA have already announced an investigation regarding the incident to determine if punishments are warranted. Croatia have been disciplined in the past for fan behaviour and have been subjected to point deductions in the past.
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Photos: Chaotic scenes at Euro 2016 match as Croatian fans throw flares onto pitch