It was the eve of July 7 when Croatia played the World Cup 2018 hosts Russia at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

Not even the most optimistic Croatian fan, in general, and football fans, in particular, deemed Croatia as favourites and serious contenders in the ongoing tournament against giants such as Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France and 2014 champs Germany.

In a nerve-racking and tense match, millions of football fans across the globe witnessed how Croatian dribbling-master Luka Mudric pushed his team through to the semi-finals when they defeated the host nation on penalties following a 2-2 tie during the 120-minute game.

Nobody had seen Croatia as vital contenders and they were regarded as just a daring team whose quality of players would barely help their team qualify to the last 16.

Every four years, fans around the globe get bedazzled by two types of results during Fifa’s big event.

Those two results are the elimination of football giants or the qualifying of the brave and less-favourite teams to the latter stages.

During that game against Russia, when a blonde lady dressed up in the Croatian team jersey appeared sitting in the VIP seats alongside Fifa’s head Gianni Infantino and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, very few were aware that the woman was Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia.

Having been in office since 2015, Grabar-Kitarovic was spotted on giant screens jumping up and down, joyously cheering her fellow countrymen at every chance.

On the other hand, millions of fans were also fascinated with her cheerfully celebrating her country’s two goals followed by their historic victory at penalties.

Following their astounding victory, a video went viral across social media networks and digital platforms showing Grabar-Kitarovic greeting and hugging her countrymen winners one-by-one and taking selfies with them.

Having travelled to Russia on a chartered flight along with several Croatian football fans, the President was cheering her country’s team, a team that was deemed by millions of football fanatics as the darkest of horses to win the World Cup.

To millions, if not billions, football is the No. 1 favourite sport that chills their hearts, swings their moods and ignites their passion.

It has been noticed that billions took to the social networks to mock and ridicule the elimination of all-time football giants such as Germany, Argentina, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay.

Since day one, millions of hard-core German fans repeatedly and aggressively ridiculed Brazilian fans and constantly reminded them of the unprecedented 7-1 thrashing in 2014.

Many countries’ fans shared dozens of sceptical videos on their socials ridiculing and deriding the Brazilian superstar Neymar for his overdramatised diving every time an opponent went near him.

German fans took the lead in ridiculing Brazilian fanatics for drawing with Switzerland 1-1.

Brazil, in turn, mocked German fans when the latter’s team lost to Mexico 2-0 in the group stage and then when they were eliminated as they faced South Korea and lost 2-0.

In the knockout stage, Lionel Messi was shamefully ridiculed for failing to assist his country, Argentina, in qualifying to the quarter-finals following their unexpected but deserving defeat to France.

And fans from Germany, Argentina, Spain and even Italy and Holland — who failed to even qualify for the finals in Russia — ridiculed Neymar and his Brazil teammates after their thunderous 2-1 loss to Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The efforts to mock, deride and mimic giants who were eliminated, were noticed remarkably across all forms of social media platforms and networks.

Millions of football fans dearly and truly believe that teasing and being teased and mocking and being mocked is the juice and essence of cheering in football especially when the rivalling contenders lose or fail to qualify to further stages.

Such mockery is believed and has been proven to be an unsportsmanlike and unethical attitude and behaviour.

Football is a sport in which the essence and sportsmanlike attitude should prevail constantly despite your team’s result.

In football, fans should enjoy a sporty, ethical and respectful spirit whether their favourite teams lose or win.

Henceforth, fans of giant teams are seriously invited to arm themselves appropriately and be ready to accept their teams’ results whatsoever and respect other teams by giving them credit for their outstanding performance.

Rather than mocking teams at each loss, why don’t hard-core football fanatics spill out a new attitude and start praising bold and unfavourable teams by giving them credit for their brave performances?

In the final, the 1998 champions, France play Croatia.

From a sportsmanlike point of view, may the best team win and good luck.