'The sermon will be very short': Croatian priest in Regina preparing for World Cup final Sunday
Croatia is making its first appearance in a World Cup final against heavy favourite France
People around the world are preparing for a sporting event four years in the making — the 2018 World Cup final — and Saskatchewan is no different.
Croatia defeated England Wednesday in a semi-final match and will make its first-ever appearance in the World Cup final against France Sunday.
Despite France being a heavy favourite, fans of Croatia are confident their team can hold its own.
Croatian-born Vladimir Simunovic is one of those fans. He's also a priest at Regina's St. Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Simunovic is such a dedicated fan, he might alter his Sunday sermon to accommodate the game.
"I can tell you the sermon will be very short," Simunovic said with a laugh.
"First half I'll be able to watch, and for the second I'm not sure," he said.
Simunovic said he experienced an "explosion of emotion" when Croatia punched their ticket to the final.
- 'In Mexico soccer is like religion': Brazil and Mexico fans in Regina support their teams
"It's an achievement that everybody wanted to see but it was hard to believe because the competition is really really tough," he said.
Simunovic said soccer is the top sport in Croatia.
"Croatia is a small European country of four million inhabitants, and we say that we have four million coaches as well," he said.
He anticipates businesses will close early in Croatia for the game.
As for predictions, Simunovic believes Croatia can win but also recognizes France as a talented team.
"Anything can happen," he said. "Let's all cheer for Croatia."
With files from CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition