Vladimir Petkovic, 57, stretches his arms towards the sky at Römer Olympico. On his left forearm, protected by a thick glove, sits a live eagle, the prophetic animal of Lazio Roma. “Le Aquile” eagles are also called “Biancocelesti” (white and azure) in Italy. In addition to Petkovic, then Lazio coach, a fan shed tears of joy. Written on his shirt: “La coppa e nostra”. The cup is ours.
The photo is eight years old. Nati coach Vladimir Petkovic shows this in his only victory as the club’s coach. On May 26, 2013 he won the Italian Cup with Lazio Roma at the Romer Stadium. Ironically, the Derby della Capitale (the capital derby) against the hated AS Roma. The scorer of the 1-0 win is Sinad Lulic, who grew up in Schluein GR, and Petkovic’s companion at AC Bellinzona and YB.
“It feels so good to be here again.”
The cup win saved Petkovic from being sent off in Rome. Now he’s back. In his former living room. With the national team, he is fighting today in the Olympics in the second group match of the European Championship against the towering candidate Italy. The night before the match, Petkovic said: “It definitely feels great to be here, I’m back here for the first time in eight years. I remember having the biggest success of the Lazio era.”
When asked about the bleached hair of his players Granit Xhaka and Manuel Akanji, Petkovic had a saying to the media: “I really wanted to surprise you and dye my hair black. Like I was in Rome.” Soon Petkovic’s first gray hair grows in Rome. Six months after winning the cup and negotiating an offer to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld with SFV, Petkovic was fired on December 30, 2013 by Lazio coach Claudio Lotito.
“We’ll try to make our game”
gone and forgotten. Meanwhile, Petkovic with the national team qualified for the 2016 European Championship, 2018 World Cup and the current tournament. A reminder: The Italians were absent from the World Cup in Russia. Petkovic yesterday: “Italy is the biggest candidate. Not just for Wednesday’s game, they’re also favorites for our group – and for the entire tournament, too. We’ll try to make our game anyway. We respect every opponent, but not too much. Italy dominated 80, 90 percent of the first match against Turkey, full of enthusiasm. We have to curb this enthusiasm. We’ve shown that we can score against top opponents.”
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