By all accounts, it has been a remarkable journey for the Croatians who have endured three consecutive knockout matches going into extra time and two penalty shootouts. If they win, it’ll truly be one of the great sporting achievements. One can be sure that the football-mad state of Goa will watch Sunday’s final between Croatia and France with complete attention. While many may cheering for the French, there is one small village supporting the team from Croatia as a result of an interesting bit of shared history. Back in the 16th century, a group of Croat sailors and merchants visited a small riverside settlement 4 km away from Old Goa called Gandaulim. While the sailors and traders didn’t stay for long, what they left behind was the restored Church of Sao Braz besides the Cambarjua canal. [caption id="attachment_42697" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Sao Braz church in Goa (Left) and the jersey of Croatian WC captain Luka Modric.[/caption] Centuries after they left, the link between Croatia and this settlement in Goa was rediscovered by Croatian Indologist Zdravka Matisic, while she was studying in India. “Moments of ecstasy awaited her (Zdravka) at Gandaulim when she saw that the Church of Sao Braz, a small chapel built in June 1541 and elevated to a parish church in 1563 by Archbishop D Frei Alexio de Menezes (1595-1607). The petite church had a remarkable resemblance to the church of Svete Vlaho (Sao Braz) in Dubrovnik in her country. A 15-member Parliamentary delegation from the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by Ambassador Zoran Andric visited little Gandaulim village in April 1999,” Nonetheless, since the delegation’s visit in 1999, the village has received more Croatian tourists every year. “Every time a Croatian ship comes to the Mormugao harbor, the sailors come to visit our church,” says a villager Braz Silveira Last year a Croatian team visited the village to film a documentary. “We are waiting to see the documentary that recorded the historical landmarks in our village,” says Esperance Silveria e Vaz, another village resident The final battle is here and people are already going crazy about it, which team are you supporting? do let us know in the comments section below. this content was originally published in The Better India.