SBS host Lucy Zelic has broken down discussing the importance of Croatia’s World Cup heroics to the people of the small nation.
Zelic, who has Croatian heritage, was reduced to tears as she read out a quote from one of the Croatia’s star players, ahead of the side’s World Cup final loss against France.
Wearing a Croatian jersey, the SBS star was discussing the war-torn history of the nation of 4.5 million people with co-host Craig Foster.
“They’ve used that adversity to channel it, it’s deeply ingrained in their DNA and their culture and it’s also the rhetoric that comes out from (coach Zlatko) Dalic, from the players,” Zelic said.
The SBS host then went on to read out a heartfelt quote from Croatia and Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic.
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“‘It doesn’t only concern the 23 players, our coach, the staff, physios, doctors, journalists — but the 4.5 million people back home,’” Zelic said.
“‘It’s with incredible pride and joy we were lucky to reach the final but we’ve shown this kind of commitment each game.’”
Then, Zelic started getting very emotional.
“I’m sorry, this is the line (from Rakitic) that got me,” she said.
“‘If there was a stadium big enough for 4.5 million people it would be full,’ and I’m sorry, apologies.
“It’s a really big deal for the Croatians, for the players and what it means to us.”
Still can’t believe the greatest party on Earth has come to an end. Couldn’t have asked for a better team to tackle this epic schedule with, both here and back home. Thank you Australia for allowing us to share this experience with you. It was an honour. #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/AeknR3Up2f
— Lucy Zelić (@LucyZelic) July 16, 2018
Unfortunately Croatia couldn’t harness that passion to bring home the World Cup, losing 4-2 to France in the final, however they undoubtedly made their small nation incredibly proud with the effort and skill the displayed across the tournament.
Zelic, the younger sister of former Socceroo Ned Zelic, also received high praise for her work hosting the World Cup from Foster.
She received online abuse throughout the tournament for the way she pronounced player names.
It really has been an extraordinary performance that you have given this World Cup,” Foster said
“You have orchestrated it for us right throughout the World Cup and you have been the best player of this World Cup. Can I say it’s been a privilege to see you really grow through this World Cup.”