For a full day, the Croatian national team had refused to speak with the press ever since photographs leaked online Sunday of them swimming naked in a hot tub at their hotel in Praia do Forte, Brazil, following the team's frustrating loss to the host country's squad.
The images, which are NSFW and taken by photographers hiding in the bushes near the site of the team's nude swim, caused an immediate uproar online as some fans decried what they saw as an invasion of privacy while others enjoyed the look at the private lives of some of the best footballers in the world.
But the Croatian team didn't find the release of the photos funny, and they didn't join in the debate about whether the nude photos should be allowed to be posted online.
On Monday, however, Croatian striker Ivica Olić broke the day-long silence. "You can write freely that it’s a real shame!” Olić told Sportske Novosti newspaper, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We came here to represent Croatia, give our best, we are preparing ourselves for a difficult match against Cameroon and then such things happen. Is it normal? Do people really need to watch us without our underpants, do our families have to blush? Did media representatives come here for football or something else?"
The strong comments were the first the team's players had made on the record since the photographs leaked on the website 24sata.hr, but the team's head coach, Niko Kovač, did offer angry comments about the topic on Sunday, coming down hard against the press and in support of his players.
“I can’t force them to be at your disposal after what you have done to them and their families,” Kovač told reporters. “How would you feel if someone took naked pictures of you? They are adamant that they won’t speak to you lot any more and I don’t know whether the silence will end tomorrow or last until the end of our World Cup campaign."