Croatia fans who caused trouble during their team’s Euro 2016 match against the Czech Republic on Friday were “sports terrorists” and had no place in football stadiums, the Balkan nation’s coach Ante Cacic told a news conference.The supporters threw flares on to the pitch and fought among themselves in one section of the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, forcing the Group D game to be interrupted for several minutes while officials and players appealed for calm.”We were exposed to the terror of hooligans who have no place in sports arenas and I sincerely hope they will be identified and brought to justice,” said Cacic.”They are terrorists, sports terrorists, a specific group. Unfortunately, they still exist and even enjoy some kind of support at home.UEFA TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATIONUEFA said disciplinary proceedings would be opened on Saturday once they had received official reports from the match delegate and referee Mark Clattenburg.Cacic blamed the Croatian government for being too lenient with soccer-related offenders and not doing enough to crush hooliganism, which has been rife in the former Yugoslav republic over the last decade.”What hurts me is that the (Croatian) authorities will not deal with the problem,” he said.”The government has not done enough to eradicate them while the Croatian Football Association just doesn’t have the repressive tools to do it on its own.”This is just a handful of thugs, maybe a dozen, but many Croatian patriots, including the players who wear the shirt with so much pride and passion, are now ashamed in front of the whole of Europe.”advertisementPLAYERS APPEAL FOR PEACEA small section of Croatian supporters threw eight small flares on to the pitch and attacked a much larger group who had behaved impeccably up to the point when the violence broke out.Play was suspended as the Croatia players appealed for calm in the closing stages of the match when they were 2-1 ahead.The Czechs, who had pulled a goal back after falling 2-0 behind, grabbed a last-gasp equaliser and Cacic was in no doubt that the trouble had deprived his distracted team of victory.”We suffered a complete meltdown on the pitch because of a handful of irresponsible individuals and if the game had gone on for any longer, we might have lost it,” he said.The Croatians, who would have reached the last 16 with a match to spare with a win over the Czechs, play holders Spain in Bordeaux in their final Group D match on Tuesday.
On the eve of the high-octane ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground here on Thursday, India skipper Virat Kohli hinted at retaining the same playing XI which trounced South Africa in their final Group B game at The Oval on Sunday.In the run-up to the ICC Champions Trophy, India thrashed Bangladesh by 240 runs in a warm-up match, thanks to three-wicket hauls from the pace duo of Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar but Kohli on Wednesday backed off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the playing XI.”We gave a lot of people chances in the practice games and everyone bowled well in that game but that does not mean that you will necessarily play against that particular opposition. Ashwin was brilliant in the last game, I don’t see any good reason to change that,” Kohli told reporters here.”The team played really well, it was a complete performance and I certainly don’t feel that there is any need to change.”Asked whether past results will boost the morale of the men-in-blue in the high pressure game, Kohli quickly pointed out that the team’s mindset does not change from game to game.”We are not going to go with what past results have done going into a big game like this. We are going to treat it like how we treated the last game and our mindset does not differ,” he said.”We have been in these kinds of games quite a few times before but there are no guarantees in this sport. We have seen during the league stages itself that a lot of teams have surprised the opposition.”advertisement”We are not, certainly not, taking anything for granted. We will use whatever momentum we have gained in the tournament to execute in the match,” he added.Terming Bangladesh a “very dangerous” side, the 28-year-old Kohli credited the opposition with rising to the challenge in big matches.Bangladesh outplayed New Zealand in their final Group A tie to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, their first appearance in the last-four stage of any major ICC tournament.”It’s no surprise that they are doing really well and have improved their cricket. Credit to their set-up and the kind of players who are taking more responsibility.””They are a very dangerous side on their day. No one can take their opposition for granted and Bangladesh have taken huge strides,” Kohli said.Asked whether the lack of exposure to the lower order batting will affect the side in case of a crisis situation, Kohli said: “No, that’s not a concern, obviously as a batsman you want to finish off games. Everyone has batted well in the practice games and we know Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) are playing really well at the moment.””So we are not bothered at all. Rather they are looking for an opportunity, if the team is in a sort of trouble, I am sure those two guys are going to step up along with Jadeja (Ravindra) and Ashwin.”Kohli also congratulated veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh, who will play his 300th One-day International (ODI) on Thursday and hoped that the southpaw will contribute in a special way in the big match.”I congratulate him and wish him all the very best and hopefully he can play a lot more for us and get in those match-winning performances all over again and I hope tomorrow is a special one for him.””Yuvraj’s contribution to Indian cricket has been outstanding. He has been a total match winner for India, won us so many big tournaments and series and this is just a testimony to the kind of talent he possess,” he added.