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Amid fears of trouble during or after the match, police and club coaches are urging fans to remain calm ahead of Croatia-Serbia World Cup football qualifier.
|Row of fans in front ogf the ticket office in Zagreb | Photo by Beta|
Zagreb police are on heightened alert amid fears that riots could erupt at Friday's Croatia-Serbia qualification match for the World Cup in Brasil.
Croatian senior police official Krunoslav Borovec said police in the capital were well prepared for the match between the neighbouring countries, which fought a bloody war in the 1990s and have a history of intense rivalry.
Borovec said Croatian and Serbian intelligence services and police were working together to ensure security at the match, and police would film the whole match to identity any possible disturbers of the peace.
He urged fans to behave appropriately, noting that the match would be called off if there was any trouble on the pitch or in the stands.
Croatia's national football team coach, Igor Stimac, invited home fans to support Croatia "with love for the national team and not hatred for our opponents... This is a great chance to show everyone, including FIFA and UEFA, what we are really like," he said.
"Both teams have the capacity to keep this event a football match and show the world that they are great footballing nations," Stimac said.
His Serbian counterpart, Sinisa Mihajlovic, agreed that the most important thing was to behave in a sporting manner.
“It is football, not a war, that awaits us in Zagreb. We are not afraid but we have respect since they [Croata] are an excellent team,” Mihajlovic said.
|Fan holding the ticket he bought | Photo by Beta|
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