Football: Croatia silent on racism claims, focus on Spain
(WARKA) - Croatia stayed tight-lipped on Saturday over claims that their fans racially abused Italy's Mario Balotelli, saying they wanted to stay focussed on their crunch Euro 2012 fixture with Spain.
"We will make an announcement about that on our website," team spokesman Davor Gauran told reporters at Croatia's training camp in the eastern Polish town of Warka.
"It is not a question for the players today before the crucial game," he added.
European football's governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatian football federation, after witnesses said they heard Croat fans taunting Balotelli, who is black, and a banana was found on the pitch during Thursday's Group C clash.
The probe also concerned the display of racist symbols and the setting-off and throwing of fireworks at the match in Poznan, western Poland, which ended 1-1.
Missiles were also thrown and a spectator got on to the pitch during Croatia's 3-1 win against Ireland last Sunday in Poznan.
Croatia face Group C leaders Spain on Monday in the Baltic port of Gdansk.
If they beat the defending European champions, they will go top of the group and storm into the quarter-finals in style, though a draw should also put them through.
"We want to win," said striker Nikica Jelavic, who scored in the opening 3-1 win over Ireland. "Like always, we want three points."
"We've never played against Spain. But we always see them on TV, they're similar to Barcelona. We need to be careful. We expect a tough game."
"I think we have a good team as well, so it will be a good game and we expect a good result for us."
Text and Picture Copyright 2012 AFP. All other Copyright 2012 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.