On July 15, 2018, Croatia became the World vice-champion in football. With a population of just 4.2 million, Croatia is the smallest nation in a World Cup final since Uruguay played Brazil at the Maracana in 1950. Whilst there are many strategies that aim countries boost their image (both domestically and worldwide) to attract tourists, foreign investments, talent and so forth, the Croatian national football team did the best promotion that no marketing budget or public relations can’t achieve. All major world media reported about the Croatia and Croatian players making them a foci of international media, whereas the website of Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) was crushing down due to the enormous interest on Croatia, reporting a fantastic 250% increase in traffic, mainly from Italy, USA, Russia, India, Germany, UK, France, Poland, and the Netherlands. Additionally, HTZ created a shorter version of the ‘Croatia full of life‘ video sorely presenting Croatian football players as ambassadors of Croatian tourism.

Croatian football players endorsing for Croatian National Tourist Board

Besides, photos and videos showing the celebration from Croatian cities that spread across the social media helped in boosting so much desired positive image of Croatia.

Celebrations across Croatia. Photo: Sabina Cvitković

Google’s doodle additionally supported an incredible promotion created by Croatian illustrator Vedran Klemens.

To compare, it has been reported that almost 18 million Britons tuned in to watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry exchange vow, whereas it is believed that more than two billion people worldwide watched the event, making it the fourth most watched royal wedding ever. However, the number of people around the world who have watched some of the World Cup this year – nearly half the total world population of 7.6bn, according to research company Global Web Index. It is estimated that a record global audience of 3.4billion was expected to tune in to at least one match either on TV or the Internet. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil reached 3.2bn with 1bn watching the final, reports Fifa. However, the growth of social networking platforms now allows fans in far-flung places to keep up with the action. Subsequently, almost half of the planet heard of Croatia, people know how Croatian flag looks like and they associate the red and white chequered pattern with the small Mediterranean country at Europe’s southeast.