Mislav Orsic: The former K League sensation who made Spain nervous at Euro 2020
On June 28, in Copenhagen, Denmark, there was an explosion of drama from the Euro 2020 Round of 16 match between Croatia and Spain.
Trailing 3-1 until the 85th minute, Croatia superbly scored two goals at the end of the game and leveled the score 3-3 in regulation time.
Even though they ended up being eliminated after conceding two goals in extra time, Croatia's persistence deserves thumbs up, especially former K League player Mislav Orsic who delivered an extraordinary performance.
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Coming off the bench midway through the second half, Orsic scored Croatia's second goal of the game before setting up the assist for Mario Articleic's stoppage-time equaliser. In short, Orsic played a crucial role in Vatreni's revival.
Mislav Orsic, more familiarly known as 'Orsha' to K League fans, first tasted the atmosphere of South Korean football in 2015 - when he joined Jeonnam Dragons FC, initially on loan before being made permanent, after struggling to establish himself in Europe.
Orsic bagged nine goals in additional to the seven assists in his debut season in the K League before leaving for a stint with Changchun Yatai in the Chinese Super League (ISL), only to return to Korea wherein he joined Ulsan Hyundai in 2017.
He then spent four seasons in the K League, making a total of 101 appearances with 28 goals and 15 assists. While in uniform with Jeonnam and Ulsan, Orsic has always been the mainstay at both teams.
His most memorable performance was in the 2017 season of where Orsic successfully lifted the Korean FA Cup trophy, a special achievement for himself and the club.
Orsic's brilliant action made Dinamo Zagreb, the Croatian giant club, captivated. They brought Orsic back to the country of his birth three years ago and he has maintained his good form.
In the 2020/21 season, Orsic scored a hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of the Europa League last 16 and led Dinamo to dramatically advance to the quarter-finals, having lost the reverse fixture 2-0.
The 28-year-old who can play both a winger and an attacking midfielder made his international debut for Croatia in September 2019 in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The consistency that he displayed in his game at a high level was enough for Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic call Orsic to the Euro 2020 finals, and that trust was not let down. Orsic made Spain nervous, even though, in the end Croatia had to admit the superiority of the Matador Team.
Orsic's brilliance at Euro 2020 helped make Korean fans proud because he was a star formed in the K League, proving that the Ginseng Country's elite league could be a new option for European players.