Croatia’s president Kolinda won hearts across globe in WC final defeat to France


International desk, July 17: Croatia’s president has been praised on social media after her emotional response to her nation’s World Cup (WC) final defeat against France.Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won scores of admirers on Twitter as she embraced Croatia’s players following the 4-2 defeat to France in Moscow on Sunday (July 15).

The politician, who was sitting in the stadium’s VIP section, appeared tearful as she hugged Croatia’s star midfielder and captain Luka Modric.

Dressed in the team’s red-and-white shirt, she whispered into his ear as he collected the coveted Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player.

She stood alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin and overjoyed French president Emmanuel Macron as the players were awarded their medals.

While Putin was handed an umbrella by aides, she stood soaked but smiling in the heavy rain, clearly delighted by Croatia’s brave showing.

Social media users praised her graceful demeanour despite the side’s defeat.

One social media user said: “The heartbroken Croatia president looks graceful in defeat hugging every player!”

Another wrote: “The Croatian president is coming out of this as the winner. Football shirt, rain, crying, hair ruined, doesn’t give a damn.”

A third said: “Nothing can replace the human touch. Love the Croatian President. She stood in the rain and hugged every single player from each team.

“That was such a motivating thing to do. France won the game but Croatia won the heart.”

Even celebrities took to Twitter to praise Ms Grabar-Kitarovic.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted: “Putin gets an umbrella. Beautiful presidents of Croatia and France get soaked!”

Author and journalist India Knight added: “I love the Croatian president hugging them all in the rain. She looks great.”

Before the match kicked off in Moscow, the Croatian president said: “It doesn’t really matter if we win the gold or the silver.

“We’re on top of the world. And I’m so proud of my nation.”

Ms Grabar-Kitarovic, 50, attended all but one of Croatia’s knockout games during the tournament.

She was forced to miss the team’s semi-final win over Gareth Southgate’s England side to attend a Nato summit in Brussels.

Croatia’s players will receive a hero’s welcome when fly home to Zagreb later today, despite missing out on the World Cup trophy.