The Croatian national team apparently can’t catch a break in this 2014 World Cup. First their game against Brazil ended in a controversial 3-1 defeat and now the team is subject to media hiding in bushes to get photographs of the team and their families.
According to reports, Croatian media were hiding in bushes at the team hotel and nude photographs of the team at the hotel pool were published by a Croatian website. That action has led the entire team to boycott speaking with or dealing with the media for the remainder of the tournament.
It’s a move that is supported by manager Niko Kovac, who made it clear as to why the team is taking this action following the media frenzy of the last four days.
“How would you feel if someone took naked pictures of you?” Kovac told a press conference in Praia do Forte, according to the BBC report.
“They are adamant that they won’t speak to you lot any more. I don’t know whether the silence will end tomorrow or last until the end of our World Cup campaign.”
The nude photographs published were mainly focused on veterans Dejan Lovren and Vedran Corluka, according to reports.
All of this comes on the heels of a team heated after Brazilian Fred was awarded a penalty late in the World Cup opener, a game that was tied 1-1 at the time. Brazil slotted home the penalty kick and added an insurance goal in the 90th minute from Oscar.
Following that loss, Croatian players made their feelings on the matter well known. Corluka, one of the main targets in the photograph publication was also the most outspoken about the loss to Brazil.
“If this continues, I think no one should play against Brazil,” Corluka told Yahoo Sports. “We can just give them the World Cup and everyone can go home. [Nishimura] shouldn’t be allowed to referee another game.”
It remains to be seen how long the Croatian players will maintain their boycott, and whether FIFA will step in and force them to talk to the media. The Croatians next match is Wednesday against Cameroon, kicking off at 6p.m. ET.