Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, left, holds a bunch of flowers presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Picture; Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, left, holds a bunch of flowers presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Picture; Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Picture: Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Picture: Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

Moscow - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a Croatian soccer shirt with the name "Putin" printed on the back on Sunday, hours before Croatia play France in the World Cup final in Moscow.

Croatia has been caught up in soccer fever after the Balkan nation of 4.2 million people swept aside more fancied opponents to reach its first ever World Cup final, which Russia is hosting this year.

Grabar-Kitarovic has, herself, entered into the spirit of the occasion, travelling to Russia to watch matches and dressing in the colours of the national flag. Croatia knocked Russia's team out of the competition in the quarter-finals.

At a Kremlin meeting, Putin congratulated the Croatian president on the Croatian team's performance.

"I'm sure we will see a beautiful game today," he said. Grabar-Kitarovic thanked Putin for what she said was the successful organisation of the competition.

Putin presented her with a bouquet of flowers, while she gave the Russian leader the Croatian national shirt.