They have experience, bags of talent and there is no questioning their fighting spirit, yet there is something still strangely lacking in the Croatia team which has reached the World Cup semifinals for the second time in their history.Croatia became only the second team to win successive penalty shootouts at the World Cup, following in the footsteps of Argentina in 1990, when they overcame Russia 4-3 on Saturday night to follow up their win over Denmark in the previous round.Neither of those overall performances, however, were worthy of potential World Cup winners, nor did they seem to do justice to the quality of Croatia’s line-up, which is one of the most gifted in Russia. Fourteen members of their squad are based in Europe’s top five leagues â€“ England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France â€“ including Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic at Real Madrid, Ivan Rakitic at Barcelona and Mario Mandzukic at Juventus.When Croatia stormed through the group stage with nine points from three games, they did indeed look like serious contenders.But the spark seems to have gone in knockout stages and instead they have had to rely more on resilience to get them through against less gifted opponents.Coach Zlatko Dalic certainly showed plenty of bold, attacking intentions against Russia.The gifted Modric and Rakitic were fielded in the centre of midfield, with no defensive cover, and there were two wingers in Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic and two centre forwards in Manduzkic and Andrej Kramaric. But it did not quite work out as planned.Croatia’s long periods of possession were largely unproductive, the final pass was invariably missing and they were surprised by Russia’s aggressive approach.“We were undermanned in midfield,” said Dalic. “We were left to only hit long balls. That’s not how Croatia play. That’s not our style.”Going to extra-time and penalties meant using up valuable reserves of energy that could potentially put them at a disadvantage in their semifinal on Wednesday when they face an England side who coasted to a 2-0 win over Sweden.“There were times when we lacked energy: 240 minutes of football in six days takes its toll on you,” said Modric who, like Mandzukic and Rakitic, is into his thirties.Dalic, however, said there was plenty left in the tank.“Of course there is some power left for the English â€“ we will not stop, we will try to play our best game then,” he said.“We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all.”And, if all else fails, Croatia can always go into a penalty shootout confident that they will come out as winners.“The match against Russia is yet another victory of our character. We have nerves of steel,” said Kramaric. “We showed how calm and self-confident we are. Perhaps the match was not the most beautiful, but it will be remembered.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
New senior champions will be crowned in both the rural and urban ISSA schoolgirls netball competition when the finals are played tomorrow at G.C. Foster College. In the rural area semi-finals many-time champions Holmwood Technical were beaten by Manchester High while defending urban champions Camperdown High, were stopped by Excelsior High. Manchester beat Holmwood 39-37 in a close contest and will meet Denbigh High who easily got past Knox College 43-21 in the other semi-final. In urban action, Excelsior were 28-23 winners over Camperdown and they will meet Gaynstead High who defeated The Queen’s School 36-33 in the other senior semi-final. Denbigh will be gunning for two titles in the finals. Their junior team reached the championship match after whipping first-time semi-finalists St Thomas Technical 24-9. Holmwood, 25-19 winners over Manchester High, will be their opponents in the final. Gaynstead will also be hunting a double as their junior team is also in the final where they will meet Queen’s. Queen’s juniors defeated Camperdown 26-17 while Gaynstead cruised by Norman Manley 33-15 in the second semi-final. All eight semi-final matches were played at G.C. Foster College.
Rosenthal, 62, famed for his marijuana cultivation books and the “Ask Ed” column he wrote for High Times magazine, will host the event at his Piedmont home on March 4. – Associated Press 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I want you to make sure you don’t make her sound like the bad guy in this,” Griffin told Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Siobhan McAndrew. “She’s just kind of moving on with her life, and I’ve been gone at basic training and in San Diego for a year.” – Associated Press Chong helps ‘Guru of Ganja’ Comedian Tommy Chong will help raise money to defend the self-proclaimed “Guru of Ganja,” who is charged with growing hundreds of marijuana plants for a dispensary. Chong, who starred with Cheech Marin in stoner movie classics “Up in Smoke” and “Nice Dreams,” will appear at a $125-per-person event for Ed Rosenthal. Kyle Griffin shipped out with his Marine unit for Iraq on Sunday, a week after he was jilted by the woman he wanted to marry. Griffin, 19, returned home to Reno, Nev., from his military base in San Diego to propose to his girlfriend on Feb. 17. He arranged to put up a billboard with his proposal in neighboring Sparks. On a bright pink billboard was her name and the question: “Will you marry me?” But after he bought a non-returnable engagement ring and got down on one knee in front of the billboard, his girlfriend said, “No.”