Croatian officials expressed shock after UEFA selected rivals Poland and Ukraine ahead of its joint bid with Hungary to host the Euro 2012 championships.
“I am shocked! Not surprised, but shocked,” Croatian football association chief Vlatko Markovic said.
“Two days ago, a UEFA commission for national teams said the Poland-Ukraine candidacy was inadequate, so I don’t know what has happened within the past 48 hours.”
“In the future, small countries should ask themselves whether it is worth competing with those who have 100 to 120 million inhabitants,” Markovic stressed.
Miroslav Blazevic, who coached Croatia to third place at the 1998 World Cup in France, concurred.
“I’m shocked, saddened. Our candidacy was impeccable and I was convinced that we would have been chosen to host” the event, Blazevic said.
Another former coach of Croatia, Otto Baric, said the decision was disappointing.
“I was convinced that we could get this and that if we lost out that it would be to Italy,” said Baric, who led the national team in 2002-2004.