Why is Sean Lynch playing for Croatia in the World Cup?

There's no greater honour for a sportsman than playing for their country - or, if you're Sean Lynch, for Croatia in the World Cup.

That's exactly what the eagle-eyed folks at Joe.ie discovered last night in the squad lists, as, amid many a Vrsaljko, Strinic and Subasic, they spotted the oddly Irish name.

Only - Sean Lynch doesn't exist.

The men's website, with a staff of die-hard sports fans, had never heard of Lynch, and despite his obvious Irish name had no idea if he was originally from here. Even more confusingly, he was listed as playing for HSV (that's Hamburg) – but there's no record of him there.

Perhaps it could just have been a copy-and-paste error: but the listing appeared not only on the ESPN website, but also on Fox News.

What was going on?

Eventually, readers solved the mystery of the gifted Irishman - it was all just lost in translation.

Say hello to Mr Lynch. Pic: KathiRudminat / CC

Twitter user Pauric McGlone got in touch with the observation that someone was missing from the team lists - Hamburg player Milan Badelj.

Unbelievably, Milan Badelj translates, according to Google Translate - to Sean Lynch.

How Google figured that these words are completely translatable is beyond us – and it also causes one to wonder why American broadcasters chose to run the squad through Google translate in the first place.

So, sadly, we won't be able to poach one of Croatia's footballers to our side through an Irish grandparent. But he'll always be Seanie Lynch to us.

Joe.ie and its readers noticed the oddball omission, and cracked the mystery - you can read their coverage here and here.

By Dave Molloy
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