Through Ryu’s Lens: One for history, Croatia take on Serbia
“I asked the players: ‘Where were you born? Have any of you ever played in Croatia?’ The answer was no,” he said. “The players are so young they don’t know what we had and what we lost. They live today in a new world.” - Siniša Mihajlović
The atmosphere was tense and emotions were raw, but as Croatia met Serbia in Zagreb in a match that always seemed on the verge of boiling over, there was nevertheless one overarching sensation: hope. Relationships have been strained, to say the least, since the dissolution of Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s, and with that in mind, visiting fans had been banned from attending the pair of matches to avoid any confrontations. But even with increased security and nationalist chants raining down, Croatia managed to hold strong against Serbia, 2-0.
More important, though, was what took place after the match ended. Croatian and Serbian coaches, Igor Stimac and Siniša Mihajlović, long-time nationalist symbols with their own decades-long differences, met in the center of the pitch and embraced. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason for hope. Ryu was on scene for the derby and all the emotions surrounding it.