'Best scene'

Amid heartbreaking loss at World Cup, Croatia’s president emerges as an emblem of class and dignity

Croatia’s World Cup dreams came to an end at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. The Croatian squad lost a high-scoring affair to France, 4-2. But in that loss, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic emerged as a winner for her actions following the disappointing loss.

Grabar Kitarovic was seen after the game shaking hands with French President Emmanuel Macron, who, photos showed, was ecstatic over his country’s big win, and the opposing players. Grabar Kitarovic, however, drew attention and plaudits for taking the time, despite a driving post-game rain, to hug the coach of the national team and each player in the moments after the difficult outcome.

The president, who was wearing a red and white shirt — her team’s colors — won high praise on social media by many who were impressed by her passion — she attended each game and reportedly flew on a commercial flight to Russia and sat in coach — and the way she consoled the players, along with the sense of spirit she brought to the occasion.

“Best scene at the World Cup. Pouring Rain, no umbrella and Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic hugs every single player from Croatia and France, even if Croatia has just lost. That’s pure emotional and so warmly. No politics, only sport! Congrats to both teams!” one commenter on social media declared, according to Reuters.

“A heart broken Croatia President looks graceful in defeat hugging every player!” another person wrote on Twitter.

“The Croatian president is coming out of this as the winner. Football shirt, rain, crying, hair ruined, doesn’t give a damn,” another fan marveled in a post on Twitter.

The whole thing has us thinking that really what this was about was sportsmanship — or, better yet, sportswomanship.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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