Monday, 28 November 2022

Did You Know About the 300 Kilometre-Long Slavonia Hiking Trail?

November 28, 2022 - The Slavonia hiking trail is an interesting story that started on July 27, 1957. The trail is the oldest and longest hiking trail in Croatia.

As written by the Turističke Priče portal, the trail is 300 kilometers long, and you can hike it in one piece or separately through a total of 5 sections. For the whole trip in one piece, even a well-prepared hiker must account for nine days or 85 hours of walking, and not many can boast of having crossed it.

This interesting route has a circular shape with 31 mandatory and four optional checkpoints, and includes Papuk, Psunj, Krndija, Požeška, and Dilj gora.

The 300-kilometer trail through the Slavonian mountains is divided into five sections

"Psunj": mountain lodge Petrov vrh - mountain lodge Strmac
"Požeška gora": mountain lodge Strmac – Komorica
"Dilj gora": Komorica - mountain lodge Borovik
"Krndija": mountain lodge Borovik - mountain lodge Jankovac
"Papuk": mountain lodge Jankovac - mountain lodge Petrov vrh

Stamps as proof of visit to the Slavonia trail

To acquire the Badge of the Slavonia Trail, hikers have to go through all the mandatory control points, where they will find stamps that they can use as proof of having passed through each of them. In case a stamp cannot be found, a photo of the hiker at the checkpoint will be needed. It is recommended to visit the checkpoints in 5 two-day trips. The stamps are located in the corresponding boxes at the checkpoints or in the hiking facilities that the trail passes by.

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Photo: Dorian Dražić-Karalić

The Slavonia hiking trail can be visited in unlimited time and in any chosen direction. The hike is done at own risk with compliance with the rules of safe hiking and staying in the mountains, recommended by the Croatian Mountaineering Society.

To date, more than 150 hiking trails have been opened in Croatia, which vary in difficulty and duration. Usually, they allow hikers to get to know the most valuable hiking checkpoints on a mountain or in the region by taking the most accessible or attractive routes. Numerous hiking trails allow a choice of interesting hiking checkpoints according to a condition or criterion determined by the trail organiser.

On the official website of the Croatian Mountaineering Association, you can find information on all hiking trails opened in Croatia so far, regardless of their status. Detailed information on registered hiking trails is available in the Mountaineering Trails Register, which is managed by the HPS Mountaineering Trails Commission, according to the Croatian Mountaineering Association.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Hvar in Travel + Leisure Best Places to Travel in 2023

November 28, 2022 - Another day, another Hvar reccommendation, this time as Travel + Leisure's only Croatian entry in its top 50 places to visit in 2023.

Another week, another list, another mention of Hvar.  

Croatia's premier is rarely out of the media when it comes to the best places to be - it is famously known as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world. So it is little surprise that the recently-released Travel + Leisure 50 Best Places to Go in 2023 included the island of Hvar. 

Also encouraging is that this year's inclusion did not include the usual cliched sentences, but paid tribute to the new and renovated hotels on the island, including the island's first sustainable hotel, traditions such as the lavender festival, and the new attraction in Jelsa - stargazing. Here is what they had to say about the only Croatian inclusion in this year's list: 

Those seeking a brighter 2023 will find it on Hvar: This Dalmatian Coast island calls itself the sunniest in Croatia. That means plenty of time for cycling more than 100 miles of bikeable terrain or kayak trips to secluded beaches. At night, those clear skies make for incredible stargazing: Jesla, on the island’s north shore, was named the first International Dark Sky Community in Southern Europe in 2022; and Moeesy, the island’s newest luxury hotel, has one room with an over-the-bed skylight for bedtime viewing. The town of Velo Grablje’s 14th-century charm peaks in July, when the lavender festival blooms with food, drink, and family-friendly activities all centered around the fragrant Mediterranean plant. And in Hvar proper, the harborside Riva Marina hotel reopened in June 2022 with refreshed waterfront terrace suites and a new restaurant and bar concept focused on local ingredients. Just down the block is the island’s first sustainable hotel, Beach Bay, which opened this past summer 2022 with an off-grid solar power system and a commitment to honor UNESCO’s Sustainable Travel Pledge.

To see the full Travel + Leisure list fo 2023, click here

How well do you know the island of Hvar? After living on the island for 13 years and having written more than 9,000 articles about Croatia's premier island, here are 10 things that blew my mind about my new home. And there isn't a beach or mention of nightlife anywhere...

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Monday, 28 November 2022

Euro Countdown: Where Can I Exchange Kuna Banknotes and Coins for Free?

November the 28th, 2022 - We're now coming very close to the final full month in which the kuna will be the official currency of this country, with the euro set to replace it as of the 1st of January, 2023. Where can you exchange kuna banknotes and coins for euros free of charge?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the country's many banks, Fina and Hrvatska posta (Croatian post) will all play the main role in the kuna exchange process as we head towards Croatian Eurozone accession at the very beginning of next year. Throughout the first twelve months from the day of the introduction of the euro as the country's main currency, it will be possible to exchange kuna coins and banknotes in all banks, Croatian post offices and Fina branches without any charge and with the application of a fixed conversion rate.

In addition to banks, Fina and Croatian post, many shops and other companies will have to be supplied with euro cash in a timely manner in order to be able to carry out cash transactions in the new currency from the day of the introduction of the euro.

After the first twelve months of Croatia using the euro as its official currency expires, the country's banks, Fina branches and Croatian post will all stop providing their free, fixed rate kuna exchange services. After that first year, kuna banknotes and coins will only be able to be exchanged at the Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB) and that too will continue to be of charge.

According to euro.hr, the Croatian National Bank will exchange kuna banknotes for free permanently, while kuna coins will be able to be exchanged within three years from the date of introduction of the euro, and after that it will not be possible to do so.

For more on upcoming Croatian Eurozone accession and other important news, keep up with our dedicated news section.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (November 28, 2022)

November 28, 2022 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Ines has kindly agreed to work with us on a new weekly feature on TCN - a weekly selection of 10 job listings, as chosen by Posao.hr.  Details and links to the job opportunities below in the latest edition of this feature.

Future HR is hiring a person for the position of Human Resources Coordinator / Administrator (m/f). Place of work Zagreb. Send applications via link until Dec 01th.

Aluflexpack Novi d.o.o. is hiring a person in the position of Supply Chain Manager (m/f). Place of work Zadar. Send complete applications via link by December 11th.

Eumetsat - Europäische Organization für Wettersate is hiring for the position Ground Segment Systems Engineering Team Leader (Based in Germany) (m/f). Place of work Darmstadt, Germany. Send applications via link until December 09th.

Gi Group Staffing Solutions is looking for a person in the position of Service Sales Engineer (m/f). Place of work Zagreb. Send complete applications via link by December 05th.

dotSource is hiring a Java Developer (f/m/x). Place of work Rijeka. Send complete applications via link by December 25th.

Röhm GmbH is recruiting for the position of Senior Business Manager Molding Compounds (m/w/d). Place of work West Balkan/Balkan Region - Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade - Home Office. Send complete applications via this link by December 15th.

TRESCON Betriebsberatungsgesellschaft m.b.H. is hiring a person in the position of Software Engineer (m/f). Place of work Austria. Send complete applications via link by Dec 04th.

Scalable Global Solutions d.d. is looking for an Application Engineer (m/f/d) in Zagreb! This might be a great opportunity for you if you have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, an independent and reliable way of working, and good communication and team skills. Apply here until Nov 30th.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring a Client Application Engineer – Windows Desktop, SCCM, Packaging (m/f/d) for work in Zagreb. In this position, you can expect diverse and responsible tasks in a challenging environment. Apply here by Dec 12th!

Pfizer Inc is hiring a Healthcare representative (m/f) in Zagreb. For all the details about the job requirements and benefits, click here! Applications can be submitted until Dec 9th.

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For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

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These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Zlatko Dalić after World Cup Win: Canada is a Small Step, Croatia Must Confirm it Against Belgium

November 28, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press after Croatia's crucial World Cup win against Canada on Sunday night at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Zlatko Dalić opened the conference by saying he was surprised by Belgium in their first two World  Cup matches. Belgium beat Canada 1-0 and lost to Morocco 0-2. Croatia will play their last Group F match against Belgium. A draw is good enough for Croatia to advance into the last 16.

"In the first game against Canada, Belgium had a bad start, but they managed to win. Big national teams win games even when they don't play well. Against Morocco, they had several opportunities, and when they went for it all or nothing, they conceded the second goal. However, they are not happy with their performance, and I expect a much better Belgium against us," he said. 

Dalić was asked if he was under stress ahead of Canada. 

"Every game is stressful for me. It's like that; that's us. I have no problem with that. We played well against Canada, but it's a small step; if we don't confirm it with Belgium, we haven't done anything," he added. 

"We can't get carried away with the match, we had a little fun, but now the preparation for Belgium begins. We have quality, I believe we can, and we will look for it. The data that we ran 120 kilometers is great; we outran and outplayed Canada. A very good match. We haven't been this good in all segments of the game for a long time."

He also spoke about Andrej Kramarić and his position in the team.

"Media are creating that drama around him. Instead of asking about his scoring, you ask what his position is. Got some better questions? The two of us resolved everything two years ago. He will play what he is told; he understands that and made up his mind. So be silent, work, and it'll come back to him."

The midfield played together for several years, culminating in the silver medal in Russia.

"It is difficult to replace Rakitić, but we need Kovačić as he was yesterday. With his vertical conquest of the pitch. When the team struggled yesterday, he kept the game's rhythm. In preparations, we said that the most important thing is to break through the first block; if we break through that, everything opens up. The team was fantastic, but Andrej and Mateo might have been a shade better."

The coach spoke about whether he knew the squad for Belgium.

"We will see the situation with the players today at training. I think everyone who entered justified their role. We planned to start with Marko Livaja, so later, Bruno entered the game. We were thinking about whether it would be Budimir or Petković. We ran enough, and the solution was to put a player to guard the ball. He replaced Marko, and I think that was good. I am happy we have guys on the bench who can come in and continue in the same rhythm."

A Belgian journalist asked Dalić to explain why it was difficult for Croatia to play against Belgium in the last ten years.

"For the last ten years, Belgium has been at a high level. For five years, they were first in the FIFA ranking. They played great, won bronze at the World Cup, and were always in the finals. That's why it was difficult to beat them because they are a great team."

Canadian coach John Herdman did not congratulate Zlatko Dalić after the game.

"I experienced that twice in my career. When we beat Argentina and now. I don't remember leaving the pitch in my career without congratulating whoever beat me. I think it's basic culture, but I won't get into that. As far as I have seen and filmed, the gentleman is a good coach, promising, and has ambition, but he is young and will learn the latter."

Belgium is a crucial match. The most important thing is that Croatia rests well in the next two days.

"To repeat the approach, the same desire, and energy. We still have good reserves. Ivan Perišić was very dangerous, and he set up two goals. A slightly different role than against Morocco. He played more forward, like Kramarić. It is very important against Belgium that our midfield is at a high level. It is important not to make these small mistakes because the opponent will punish them. We mustn't have black holes like in the first 10 minutes against Canada."

When asked who he would like in the round of 16, Spain, Germany, or Japan, Dalić concluded:

"Japan."

Source HRT

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 28 November 2022

Exploring Croatian - A Brief History of the Istro-Romanian Language

November the 28th, 2022 - Have you ever heard of any Balkan-Romance languages other than Romanian? Unless you happen to be a linguist, the term is probably somewhat alien to you, especially given the fact that the languages spoken across much of the region (but not all of it) are Slavic. Let's get better acquainted with the sparsely spoken Istro-Romanian language.

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously. That goes without even mentioning much about old Dalmatian, Zaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

Istria in particular is full of culture, and its rather complex historic relationship with Italy and in particular with the formerly powerful Venice has a lot to answer for in this regard. That brings us to a language that actually has nothing to do with Venetian, and is only spoken by people who call themselves Rumeni or sometimes Rumeri. It can only now be heard in very few rather obscure locations and with less than an estimated 500 speakers of it left, the Istro-Romanian language is deemed to be seriously endangered by UNESCO's Red Book of Endangered Languages.

Who are the Istro-Romanian people?

The Istro-Romanians are an ethnic group from the Istrian peninsula (but they aren't necessarily native) and they once inhabited much of it, including parts of the island of Krk. It's important to note that the term ''Istro-Romanian'' itself is a little controversial to many, and most people who identify as such do not use the term, preferring instead to use the names taken from their villages. Those hamlets and small settlements are Letaj, Zankovci, the wider Brdo area, Zeljane, Nova Vas, Jesenovik, Kostrcani and Susnjevica.

Many of them left to begin their lives in either larger Croatian cities or indeed in other countries as the industrialisation of Istria in the then Yugoslavia progressed at a rather rapid pace. Following Istrian modernisation which had enormous amounts of resources pumped into it by the state, the number of Istro-Romanian people began to dwindle rather significantly, until they could only really be found in a handful of settlements.

The origins of the Istro-Romanian people are disputed, with some claiming they came from Romania, and others claiming that they arrived originally from Serbia. Regardless, they have been present in Istria for centuries and despite efforts from both the Romanian and Croatian governments to preserve their culture and language - the Istro-Romanian people are still not classed as a national minitory under current Croatian law.

Back to the Istro-Romanian language

Like many dying languages, the Istro-Romanian language was once much more widely spoken across the Istrian peninsula, more precisely in the nothwestern parts near the Cicarija mountain range. There are two groups of speakers despite the fact that the language spoken by both is more or less absolutely identical, the Vlahi and the Cici, the former coming from the south side of the Ucka mountain, and the latter coming from the north side.

Back in 1921, when the then Italian census was being carried out, 1,644 people claimed they were speakers of the Istro-Romanian language, with that figure having been deemed to actually be around 3,000 about 5 years later. Fast forward to 1998, the number of people who could speak it was estimated to stand at a mere 170 individuals, most of them being bi or trilingual (along with Croatian and Italian).

The thing that will be sticking out like a sore thumb to anyone who knows anything about language families - the fact that this is called a Balkan-Romance language. While it is classified as such, the Istro-Romanian language has definitely seen a significant amount of influence from an array of other languages, with approximately half of the words used drawing their origins from standard Croatian as we know it today. It also draws a few from Venetian, Slovenian, Old Church Slavonic and about 25% or so from Latin.

Istro-Romanian is very similar to Romanian, and to anyone who doesn't speak either but is familiar with the sound, they could easily be confused. Both the Istro-Romanian language and Romanian itself belong to the Balkan-Romance family of languages, having initially descended from what is known as Proto-Romanian. That said, some loanwords will be obvious to anyone familiar with Dalmatian, suggesting that this ethnic group lived on the Dalmatian coast (close to the Velebit mountain range, judging by the words used) before settling in Istria.

Most of the people who belong to this ethnic group were very poor peasants and had little to no access to formal education until the 20th century, meaning that there is unfortunately very little literature in the Istro-Romanian language to be found, with the first book written entirely in it having been published way back in 1905. Never used in the media, with the number of people who speak it declining at an alarming rate and with Croatian (and indeed Italian) having swamped Istria linguistically, it's unlikely you'll ever hear it spoken. Some who belong to this ethnic group who live in the diaspora can speak it, but that is also on a downward trajectory.

This language has been described as the smallest ethnolinguistic group in all of Europe, and without a lot more effort being put into preservation, the next few decades to come will almost certainly result in the complete extinction of the Istro-Romanians and their language.

For more on the Croatian language, dialects, subdialects and history, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Croatian Economy Slowing Down, Recession Coming in 2023?

November the 28th, 2022 - The Croatian economy is slowing down, with a recession more than likely to come knocking at Croatia's door in 2023, at least according to some experts.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, forecasts that the Croatian economy will have its "handbrake" pulled as the end of the year approaches have begun to come true. After experiencing impressive growth of 7.8 percent in the first and 8.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, the annual domestic GDP growth rate in the third quarter stood at 5.2 percent. Although there have been strong quarterly dynamics, certainly among the better ones in Europe, the problem is sliding downwards. Seasonally adjusted data shows that compared to the previous quarter of 2022, growth slowed by 0.4%, suggesting that the Croatian economy entering a difficult and uncertain 2023.

The all important three months of summer show the positive contribution of all components, at least when it comes to the domestic component. As expected, personal consumption with +5.6 percent and investments with an increase of 8 percent lead the way, while the state's contribution was a slightly positive 1.3 percent. The negative contribution to growth came only from net exports, as imports with a 30.5 percent increase exceeded exports with a 30.5 percent increase, but this is nothing unusual when tourism demand is booming.

While the quarterly growth figures outline an excellent tourist season, some will note that real GDP expectations were even higher if the precision of inflation coverage is taken into account. In other words, if the real price rise is to be assumed to be higher than what government statistics manage to capture (given the changes in behaviour and consumption patterns that go hand in hand with a prolonged period of high inflation), the GDP growth rate could have been better.

This year, summertime optimism and tourist euros that place an alluring but perhaps not quite accurate shine on the Croatian economy's results, can't camouflage the echoes of the fall in industrial production, retail sales and construction at the quarterly level. This year, the Croatian economy will draw the line under that previously rather reassuring GDP growth of 5 to 6 percent.

At the same time, there is more and more irrefutable evidence that out-of-control inflation is dangerously eroding peoples' purchasing power, narrowing the room for maneuver for companies to amortise cost shocks and shut down orders, meaning that a real recession is increasingly likely to be knocking on Croatia's door in 2023 as well, even without the further escalation of the war in Ukraine and the spiralling energy crisis.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Vrbovsko Giving Land to Those Who Move There Under Certain Conditions

November the 28th, 2022 - Vrbovsko, located among the beautiful rolling hills of Gorski kotar, is set to provide land to those who decide to move and set up their lives there, but only under certain conditions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Vrbovsko will give those who move there some land for use, but the condition is that they build a house within a period of three years. If they fulfill that request, then the land in question will be transferred entirely to them.

Memories of the days when Vrbovsko teemed with life are now as deep in the fog as the tops of the trees and buildings are at this time of year in that part of the country. Every ten years, Vrbovsko loses around one thousand inhabitants. This isn't a large area at all, and this new measure is intended to become the drop that fills the well of hope that things could eventually be like they were there once before.

"Vrbovsko is dying ff, more and more young people are leaving, so these measures contributed to us creating more jobs, and something that for me as a young boy would've been... a much more normal life,'' Neven Sulic from Vrbovsko tells Danas.hr.

"We believe that people can start building houses even in their fifties and sixties. These houses will be able to be either for residential purposes or for tourist purposes,'' says Marina Tonkovic of Vrbovsko's local administration.

The previous measure showed that changes are indeed possible, and 200,000 kuna was allocated from the local budget. Two families each received a hundred, which was part of the amount for the purchase of houses. Vlasta also moved from Solin with her husband and ten children.

"First we were in a smaller place, we waited for the loan to be granted, it took a year and finally everything opened up. We bought a house there and settled in Vrbovsko, living there permanently. Our experience was good, the locals welcomed us very warmly and I think that whoever moves here will be satisfied with it all,'' says Vlasta Majic from Vrbovsko.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Kramarić, Livaja, and Majer Bring Croatia Crucial World Cup Win against Canada (4-1)

November 27, 2022 - With two goals from Andrej Kramaric and one each from Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer, Croatia topped Canada 4-1 in their second 2022 World Cup match on Sunday at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar. 

After drawing 0-0 against Morocco, expectations were high for Croatia to get a good result against Canada. The two teams met at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Sunday, November 27, at 19:00 local time. Canada lost their 2022 World Cup opener against Belgium 0-1. 

But the group got a lot more interesting an hour before Croatia and Canada met. Morocco defeated Belgium 2-0. 

This means that Morocco will have enough points to qualify for the last 16 in their last round against Canada.

Croatia's fate largely depends on the result against Canada tonight. If Croatia wins, they also need a point in the last round against Belgium. And if they lose? Only a win is good enough in the last round.

Even if Croatia lost to Canada, there is still some hope. A win against Belgium would bring them four points. In theory, Canada and Morocco can have that much, and the goal difference will decide. 

Recall, leading up to the match tonight, Canada coach John Herdman stirred the pot by saying, 'eff Croatia.' You can read Dalić's response and plan for Croatia in the press conference roundup yesterday. 

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković, Sosa, Gvardiol, Lovren, Juranović, Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić, Perišić, Kramarić, Livaja

Canada: Borjan, Miller, Vitoria, Johnston, Davies, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Laryea, Buchanan, Larin, David

Match report

The match couldn't have started with a bigger wake-up call for Croatia. Tajon Buchanan crossed into the penalty area in Canada's first attack, in the first minute of the match. The ball found Alphonso Davies, who found a hole in the Croatia defense to head the ball in for 0-1 Canada.  

Croatia attacked in the 6th minute, with Kramaric crossing into the penalty area at the Canada keeper.  

Another dangerous Canada attack saw Larin 1-on-1 with Livakovic. Luckily he was called offside. 

Perisic attacked up the left wing in the 10th minute and forced the ball out for a corner. Modric played short. The ball ultimately went out for a Croatia throw-in. 

Croatia started to find their rhythm in the 16th minute with quick passes through the midfield. Sosa crossed into the box in the 17th minute, forcing the Canada keeper to punch the ball out. Juranovic played it back in, but the ball finished in the hands of the Canada keeper. 

A Canada corner in the 19th minute was fortunately cleared by Gvardiol. Croatia looked tired, and it was only the 21st minute. 

Kovacic played a brilliant ball to Livaja in the penalty area, which was just slightly too quick to get a shot off. 

Canada was looking dangerous, and their quick legs were running circles around Croatia. 

Croatia finally looked like they had a chance to score in the 26th minute. Croatia's midfield moved the ball up the pitch to Livaja, who played through to Kramaric to score. Kramaric's goal was called offside. 

Lovren fouled Davies outside of the box in the 30th minute, giving Canada a dangerous free kick. 

Croatia attacked well from the 30th minute. Livaja got a shot off in the 35th, which the keeper pushed out for a corner.

But Croatia's chance finally came. Perisic nutmegged Johnson on the left wing to find Kramaric. Krama shot far post for the equalizing goal in the 36th minute! 

Croatia picked up their game until the end of the half. And Hajduk Split's Marko Livaja was the hero for Croatia this time. The striker beat the keeper and found the back of the net in the 44th minute for 2-1! Marko Livaja is the first Hajduk player to score for Croatia at the World Cup. 

Five minutes of additional time were added. Croatia had a corner to finish the first half, which ended 2-1. Croatia had five attempts on goal, 4 shots on target, and 3 corner kicks in the first half. 

The second half started without any changes for Croatia. Stephen Eustaquio subbed off for Ismael Kone, and Cyle Larin subbed off for Jonathan Osorio (Canada). 

Canada had a dangerous chance in the 48th minute. Fresh-legged Osorio just missed the goal. 

Croatia almost found the back of the next again in the 50th minute. Kovacic attacked up the midfield and played Krama on the right wing. Krama crossed it over the box to Sosa. Sosa played it back into the box and just missed Perisic and Livaja in front of the goal.

And another Croatia chance in the 54th minute. Brozovic faked and played the ball through the right wing. Juranovic crossed it into the box, and Krama's shot was hit out for a corner by the keeper. 

Canada threatened again in the 55th minute and took their second corner of the match. The ball was cleared by Gvardiol. 

The Canada keeper nearly made a catastrophic mistake in the 57th minute, passing the ball straight to Perisic outside the box. Perisic crossed the ball back in, but it went straight to the keeper. 

Dalic made his first sub in the 60th minute. Goalscorer Livaja was subbed off for Dinamo's Bruno Petkovic. For Canada, Richie Laryea subbed off for Junior Hoilett. 

Canada was awarded a dangerous free kick just outside the box in the next play. Davies played into the Croatia wall. 

By the 67th minute, Croatia's experience was outclassing Canada. The defense was calm and collected and first to every ball, while Canada was making careless mistakes and misjudging passes. 

Big-tournament-player Andrej Kramaric wasn't done, either. Perisic crossed the ball from the left to find Krama in the box. Krama faked the Canada defense to score far post for 3-1 Croatia in the 70th minute!

Both teams made substitutions in the 73rd minute. Jonathan David went off for Lucas Cavallini, and Atiba Hutchinson went off for Sam Adekugbe. Dalic brought off Kramaric for Nikola Vlasic. 

Vlasic forced a Croatia corner in the next play. Perisic called to the Croatia fans in the crowd to make noise. 

Another Croatia chance in the 78th minute. Persic played around the Canada defense on the left wing. His shot was saved by the Canada keeper. The ball ultimately found Kovacic alone in the penalty area, who decided to play Vlasic instead of shooting. It could have easily been Croatia's 4th goal. 

Perisic tried shooting again in the 82nd minute but was wildly off target. 

Dalic made three more subs in the 86th minute. Perisic for Orsic, Modric for Pasalic, and Kovacic for Majer. 

Six minutes of stopped time were added. 

'Veceras je nasa festa' could be heard in the stands, and rightfully so, as we awaited yet another goal. A quick counter saw Orsic 1-on-1 with the Canada keeper and Majer to his left. Orsic played Majer in the box to make it 4-1 Croatia! 

The official attendance at the match was announced - 44,374. 

Croatia meets Belgium in their final Group F match on Thursday, December 1, at 6 pm local time. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Andre Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra in Sold Out Arena Zagreb

November 27, 2022 - On Friday the 25th of November, I had the pleasure of attending the concert of the year and enjoy the legendary conductor Andre Rieu's performance with his Johann Strauss orchestra. The concert took place in Arena Zagreb, which was completely sold out for this event. The performance in Zagreb was part of the Andre Rieu 2022 World Tour, which included concerts in South America and all over Europe.

Andre Rieu and the orchestra

This 73-year-old Dutch King of the Waltz is best known for his performances with the Vienna Philharmonic Crchestra for their New Year concerts. As the name of his orchestra reveals, he finds a lot of insipration in the music of the great German composer Johann Strauss. He has been the orchestra's conductor for over 35 years. The members of his crew come from all over the world. The fourteen nationalities include the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, even Tasmania. Though the music they play belongs to the classical genre, the overall style in which they do it is a lot more quirky and fun. From start to finish, Andre's comments made the audience laugh, and even the musicians behind him would get in on the jokes. Winking to the cameras, little waves and nods, making faces, they do it all to make sure that everyone has a great night. And they genuinely look like they're having the same amount of fun as well. Even if you're not a big fan of classical music or simply do not know enough about it (like me), the experience is definitely worth the hefty price and three hours of your night.

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Set list

The ensemble entered the arena at 20:00 sharp, playing Georges Bizet's Toreadores, setting the tone for the concert and the atmosphere that they were about to ensure. What followed was a mix of tunes which captured everyone from opera lovers to those completely uneducated who were there just for the experience or as a plus one. Giacomo Puccini's Nessum Dorma performed by the Platin Tenors received a standing ovation, while the three beautiful sopranos left the full arena in awe. The Phantom of the Opera was there, and so was Scheherazade. The Berlin Comedian Harmonists also made an appearance, singing Veronika der Lenz ist da, followed by more of their repertoire. Johann Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz (An der schönen blauen Donau) marked the beginning of the end, with all the audience members who had access to the floor waltzing it away, while Radetzky March had the entire arena stomping to the rhythm. The final part of the evening even included the romantic notes of Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love.

Production

Though all twenty five thousand seats in the Zagreb Arena were sold out, the entrances were well organised and the queues took no longer than 5-10 minutes. The same cannot be said for the traffic in Zagreb, though, which was really busy for a number of reasons, including Black Friday and the first weekend of Advent in Zagreb. As for the organisation of the concert itself, the festive atmosphere was enhanced with fake snowflakes during the first part of the concert, and balloons for the energetic, joyful ending. Drinks and popcorn were served in the lobby before the performance and during the break. Unfortunately, that was it. Sharing the experience with other members of the audience, it seems that the venue did not meet expectations to do justice to the overall mood and aesthetics of the orchestra. With most of Andre Rieu's concerts held in castles and theatrical venues, the Zagreb Arena felt a little cold and basic. 

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The verdict

All in all, the experience of going to a classical concert that does not take itself too seriously is a lot of fun, and like stated above, worth the investment. Even that of taking a train in Croatia (50 minutes late on arrival to Zagreb from Vinkovci, only 30 on the way back). The three hours of the concert really flew by, even for someone with a very basic education in classical music. The extra touch of communicating with the audience and even with the Croatian interpreter made it all that much more fun. 10/10, would go again.

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