Croatia finds World Cup victory in biggest fan: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia finds World Cup victory in biggest fan: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
PHOTO: AFP

Despite defeat in the World Cup finals, the Croatian national team brought pride to their home country. Among those who showed immense joy in their valiant performance was their head of state, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

It goes without saying that state leaders should support national athletes, but the first female President of Croatia took it a step further and went on full fan mode during the team's World Cup journey.

After the team lost 4-2 in a wholehearted effort against France, their President embraced them one by one as rain poured over the Luzhniki stadium.

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Grabar-Kitarovic chose to don the checkered red-and-white jersey throughout the tournament and missed just one match for good reason-the NATO summit in Brussels.

Photo: AFP

She also had a photo op with Putin after Croatia defeated Russia to enter the semifinals.

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U ime hrvatskih navijača zahvaljujem Rusiji na srdačnom gostoprimstvu. Bili ste sjajni domaćini. Večeras navijajte za Hrvatsku. I veselimo se zajedno. Hvala,Rusijo! Dolazimo! 🇭🇷

Posted by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Sunday, 15 July 2018

Fans lauded her for flying economy, sharing a picture with passengers and Croatia fans during the trip.

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NEOPISIVO!!! 🇭🇷⚽️🏆 Foto: HNS

Posted by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Sunday, 15 July 2018

She even entered the men's locker room to congratulate the players, hugging them individually and joining them for post-match celebrations.

Before Croatia's first-ever World Cup final, Grabar-Kitarovic had an air of victory. "

It doesn't really matter if we win the gold or the silver. We're on top of the world. And I'm so proud of my nation," she told Russian news outlet RT.

France beat Croatia 4-2 to win second World Cup

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    Hundreds of thousands of ecstatic French fans celebrated the return of their World Cup winning football team on Monday (July 16)

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    jumping and chanting "We Are The Champions" as their bus paraded down the Champs Elysees before a special presidential reception.

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    "Les Bleus", a dynamic, young team that won an open, fast-paced final 4-2 with Croatia in Moscow, appeared at the Elysee palace,

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    where they burst into a spontaneous rendition of the "La Marseillaise" national anthem with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife.

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    More than 300,000 people filled the Champs Elysees, the area around the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde on Sunday night, partying into the early hours, singing the Marseillaise, setting off firecrackers and blaring horns until the sun rose.

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    The victory has helped foster a sense of national unity, with commentators playing up the fact the squad, the second-youngest in the competition, includes many with central and north African heritage, even if all but two were born in France.

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    France won the World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia's dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades.

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    France led 2-1 at halftime after a Mario Mandzukic own goal

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    and an Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty

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    with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing first-time finalists Croatia level.

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    France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time, following their success on home soil 20 years ago,

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    and ensure there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris.

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    The victory means that Didier Deschamps, captain of the 1998 side, becomes the third man to win the World Cup as player and coach after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.

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    It was the highest-scoring final since England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in 1966 and the highest in normal time since Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 60 years ago.

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    Croatia captain Luka Modric said being awarded the Golden Ball for the World Cup's best player was "bittersweet" after losing the final 4-2 to France on Sunday.

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    The smallest country to make a World Cup final in 68 years, with a population of just over four million, finally wilted after the break as Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe added to France's lead before Mandzukic pulled a goal back.

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    "Obviously I liked the recognition and thanks to those who chose me, but clearly I would have preferred to have won the World Cup," said the Real Madrid midfielder.

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    US singer Will Smith and Kosovo's singer Era Istrefi perform during the closing ceremony

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