Anti-Assad Syrians Have Found a New Ally Against Russia: Croatia

The Croatian team's victory against the Russian team in the World Cup quarterfinals has been championed by anti-Assad supporters in Syria

Luka Modric in action
Darko Bandic/AP

“Croatia or Russia?” asks Alaa, Aleppo’s cat man, into Sparky the cat’s ear. “Croatia of course” he mumbles to himself before letting Sparky decide between two bowls of food – one in front of a Croatian flag, and the other in front of a Russian one. Sparky chooses the Croatian bowl. His “purr-diction” was correct. Croatia won.

Croatia’s win over Russia on Saturday evening saw a wave of outpouring of support for the Croatian team from across anti-Assad areas of Syria on Twitter.

Syria's Superfans, a Twitter page created by a group of filmmakers from Aleppo, documents Syrian reactions to the World Cup in Idlib.  

The city has nominated the Croatian captain, Luka Modric, for the Golden Ball award as best player in the tournament.

A poll taken by the same Twitter page asked whether people were supporting Russia or Croatia before Saturday's game. One-hundred percent of the votes were for Croatia, which eventually won the match 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 tie after 120 minutes.

Other Twitter users hoped Russia would be ousted from Syria the same way they were from the World Cup.