Ivan Sršen is an editor, translator, and writer. He is the author, in Croatian, of a novel, Harmattan, and a collection of short stories, and has translated a range of authors from English to Croatian, including Frank Zappa, Henry Rollins, and Robert Graves. He is the editor of Akashic Books’ Zagreb Noir series, and lives in Zagreb, Croatia. (July 2018)

NYR DAILY

World Cup 2018: Croatia’s Conflict Resolution

A Croatian football fan sitting in front of an art installation showing a former Yugoslav National Army tank in collision with a small red car, commemorating an actual event regarded by many as marking the beginning of the 1991–1995 war, Osijek, eastern Croatia, 2012

I sat on our sofa in Zagreb with my son, now the same age as I was back in 1990, to watch Croatia play Argentina in our second match in the World Cup in Russia. Twenty-eight years have passed since the summer that’s stuck in my mind, ever after, as the end of my innocence and my country’s. But suddenly, I was taking part in a remake of that long-gone experience, made up of familiar actors: Maradona was there, in the VIP section of the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, an eleven-year-old boy was sitting next to me, and I was watching the screen in disbelief: “How on earth is Croatia going to pull this off?”