Qatar: Croatian fans motivate national team with giant flag ritual ahead of World Cup match against Japan

Dozens of Croatian football fans unfurled a giant fan flag on the beach in front of the Hilton hotel in Doha on Monday morning, to repeat the winning ritual ahead of their national team’s game against Japan.

While waving the flag outside the hotel where the Croatian national team is residing in Qatar, fans sang national songs and shouted chants to support the players before the match.

In response to the fans’ enthusiasm, former Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren came out of the hotel to sign autographs and take pictures with supporters.

The iconic flag, owned by Dado Cor, has been travelling with the fans to every major international competition since Euro 2004 in Portugal and it made a colourful appearance in Russia in 2018, where Luca Modric’s team showed a historic performance, losing only to France in the final. Now, the supporters of Zlatko Dalic’s squad believe the lucky flag could encourage the players to go even further and claim the trophy.

For a place in the FIFA 2022 World Cup’s quarter-finals, Croatia will battle Japan’s ‘Samurai Blue’ on Monday evening at 18:00 local time (15:00 GMT) on Al Janoub stadium.

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