It was the mid-night of 11th July 2018.Time was around 12.20 AM. the semi final match between England & Croatia was being beamed on a TV Sports Channel.The score was 1-0.England had scored one goal.Massive strength of English Fans who had filled up the stadium went into raptures & were singing loudly.TV cameras were focusing on rapturous crowd,showing the glee,the mirth & the antics of the fans who had painted their faces in various patterns in white & red & were in various types of dresses,head-gears et al. Singing in crescendo was also on. The English coach & the players on the bench were a joyful lot.The referee blew the whistle for half-time.The coach of the Croatian team & the players/officials on their benches were sombre lot, but had some sort of steely determination on their faces.Perhaps ,they might be happy that their team had reached the semi-final round & were playing England.In any case,their players in their very well designed dress had given excellent performance/had made lovely attempts at goals!!
Being an early sleeper, I felt difficult to stay awake & thus went off to sleep.The second half was yet to be played.In the morning,on getting up,I thought to my self,`England must have won & secured their place in the finals`.The morning newspaper had no news about it.It was natural,how could a Paper publish the results of the match,when the match continued up to around 2 AM.
Later in the morning,the TV channels announced the results of the match?? Croatia had defeated England 2-1!! What a Result?
What a comeback!! Later,in the day,highlights of the match,I watched & what a brilliant performance, Croatian players gave!!
There was rough play,too.English players in dying moments tried their best to equalise,but—–,were not able to succeed,
Croatians were in World Cup Soccer-2018 ,Finals!!
In the evening,when I got free from my daily chores, I asked myself about the location of Croatia in World map.No answer from my mind.I scanned for quite some time the World Map which hung in my study,to locate Croatia,but remained unsuccessful?!
Finally ,Google came to my help.It informed Croatia is located in Europe & is a very small country near Hungary with a meagre population of about 4,5 millions & an area of 56590 square kilometres.It is surrounded by five other countries in very close proximity to each other & a body of water to one side.To identify Croatia in the map,map of Europe,needs zooming up!
Here is a very small country,which has left BIG nations,behind! The moral of the story,it is not the SIZE, which matters,but,the skill & will of the stakeholders to GO Forward!!
Vijay K. Saluja
Giraffe Heroes India