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A chequered patriotism: inside the complex politics of Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s football nationalism

Grabar-Kitarović’s fascinated the international press with her enthusiasm at the World Cup final. But the story it tells at home is more complicated

By Catherine Baker  

Wearing Croatia’s iconic red and white chequered football shirt in the VIP box, singing along with her country’s players in the locker room, and taking to the pitch in driving rain—Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has hardly missed a match of Croatia’s incredible World Cup run.

When NATO’s summit in Brussels clashed with the England–Croatia game, she arrived with named replica shirts for Donald Trump and Theresa May.

Grabar-Kitarović’s viral images projected a down-to-earth, informal warmth that seemed to…

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