World Cup: Responsible Croatian firemen miss winning penalty kick after fire alarm sounds

A video of the incident shows firemen, decked in Croatian jerseys, immediately rushing to put on their firemen suit after an announcement sounds over the department's broadcast.
A video of the incident shows firemen, decked in Croatian jerseys, immediately rushing to put on their firemen suit after an announcement sounds over the department's broadcast.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/VATROGASNA POSTROJBA ZAGREB

With their country one kick away from qualifying for their first World Cup semi-final in 24 years last Sunday (July 8), the firemen at Zagreb Fire Department in Croatia were tense.

Opponents Russia had just converted their final penalty to level the shoot-out at 3-3, but a successful kick from Ivan Rakitic would see the Croatians through.

Two of the firemen had their head in their hands, while the others were fidgeting.

Then an announcement sounded over the department's broadcast, alerting the men to a fire.

The firemen, decked in Croatian jerseys, immediately rushed to put on their firemen suit. Within 23 seconds, a fire engine was moving out of the station, with its siren blaring.

Only three men who remained behind saw the winning kick, which saw them embrace and jump together in joy.

A video of the incident was uploaded online by the fire department before Croatia's semi-final victory over England on Wednesday, with the department encouraging Croatians to be careful with flares and pyrotechnics so that the firemen can get to enjoy the match.

Jubilant Croatian fans have been reported to let off fireworks in celebration during Croatia's fairytale World Cup run.

The video has since gone viral, with almost 900,000 views and 10,000 shares. Many netizens hailed the men's professionalism.

Facebook user Rovil Reis said: "Professionalism. Absolutely amazing. Greetings from Brazil. We are supporting you now."

 

Another Facebook user, Jose Aguilar, also declared his newfound allegiance to Croatia, posting: "I don't follow the world cup, didn't care who won or lost. But after watching this video... I am 100% behind Croatia! Best of luck!"

On Twitter, the video has also snowballed in popularity. A repost of the incident by Twitter account 433 gained 2.3 million views in the 19 hours since it was uploaded, and many other accounts also hopped on the bandwagon with posts of the video.

The firemen and Croatians could now have a lot more to celebrate, after their country's unexpected march to the final of the most prestigious tournament in international football.

The country, with a population of just over four million, will take on France at the Luzhniki Stadium, as they bid to secure their first World Cup.