Monday, 9 January 2023

Ryanair Leaves Passengers of Zagreb Flight Stranded in Airport Corridor

January 9, 2023 - The famous Irish low-budget flight operator, Ryanair leaves passengers stranded. Several Ryanair passengers missed their flight last week after being locked in a windowless airport corridor. The flight from London's Stansted to Zagreb took off, leaving 23 passengers behind after both sides of the aisle were locked, trapping the passengers inside.

"The children were crying; it became claustrophobic."

As Index / The Evening Standard / Business Insider write, a Ryanair spokesperson commented that there was a "human error," which meant passengers could not "exit the pre-boarding door" and unfortunately missed their flight. Devina Raval, one of the passengers who said she was trapped in the corridor, told MyLondon she felt like she was being "held hostage." Insider could not immediately reach Raval for comment.

People were banging on the walls calling for help, Raval told MyLondon. "Kids were crying, and the whole place became really claustrophobic. It scares me to think what would happen if someone had a heart attack or something."

After about half an hour, one of the passengers set off the fire alarm, alerting a member of staff who asked them what they were doing in the corridor. "At that moment, I was just shocked that they didn't realise we were there. We were told the plane took off without us," added Raval.

Ryanair claims human error

The passengers were sent to a nearby hotel for the night and boarded a flight to Croatia on the following day at 6 a.m.

"Due to human error by staff at London Stansted Airport, a small number of passengers were unable to exit through the pre-boarding gate and unfortunately missed their flight to Zagreb (January 2). The error was caught when the flight had already taken off," a Ryanair spokesperson told Business Insider.

"Ryanair has provided overnight accommodation for the affected passengers and moved them on the next available flights," the airline said in a statement.

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Crni Macak, a Zagreb Cafe That Got Cheaper with Euro Entry

January 9, 2023 - As countless stories of increased prices in Croatia circulate with the adoption of the euro, meet a lucky black cat cafe in Zagreb, where things just got a little cheaper - Crni Macak. 

Along with many other people who had a longer association with Culture Club Mesnicka, I was very saddened when the owner announced suddenly that the iconic cafe and alternative music venue, which also happened to be my local for the previous year, announced that it was closing, as previously reported on TCN

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Wonderful people, great events, perfect vibe. And I had only been in the neighborhood for a year, so I can only imagine what true locals felt about the closure. Thankfully, I hear that they have reopened elsewhere (if someone wants to let me know where, I will add to this article and pay a visit). And of course, in addition to being sad to see them go, it left me without a local. After years of driving all over the country to meetings - many of them in Zagreb - for a blissful year, I could organise coffee meetings just a couple of minutes from my front door. 

Weeks went by until suddenly, just before New Year, the premises reopened, with a new name - Crni Macak (Black Cat). It had a different vibe, and a younger feel, but it still had lots of the charm, as well as the board games that had been there previously. There is something civilised about popping out for a pint and a game of chess. 

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I popped in for a pint on New Year's Eve to meet a friend and was pleasantly surprised to find that the price of my staple at that pub - a cool Niksicko bottle - was 2 kuna cheaper than before at 19 kuna, a fine start. I took a photo of the bill, for I was curious to see and document how much the price would go up the next day, as Croatia entered the Euro. There were certainly plenty of price hikes elsewhere. 

I popped down last night for the first time for a cold one after a long day of vlogging and blogging (maybe a combined term could be flogging, as I was exhausted) and ordered the same. How much more was this going to cost me than a week ago?

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To my VERY pleasant surprise, the price of my pint had got cheaper, down from 19 kuna to 18.84. A small reduction, perhaps, but a nice gesture from the Crni Macak team to round kuna prices down rather than up to match the new euro price. 2.50 euro for a pint in my local - I can certainly live with that. 

I thanked the waitress for the pricing and asked if I could publish the two bills. She explained that they had wanted to keep the prices down and explained what Crni Macak was - the reason why the clientele was a little younger, as explained on their Facebook page:

A welcoming bar dedicated to SF, fantasy, gaming, board-gaming culture and all gaming-related things.

The first in Zagreb apparently. The cafe is a real warren of rooms, and that made it excellent for previous niche concerts. Those rooms are now given over to Dungeons and Dragons (is that still a thing, asks this Boomer?) and a host of other games - both online and off. 

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There is a lively list of events through the month of January. I can't say that it is particularly my scene, but I do wish these guys the very best. 

And to have a local bar for my meetings and general unwinding - and at a reasonable price (a beer is 5 euro just 50 metres away) in such a good location, well - 2023 started well. 

You can follow the lively programme of events on the Crni Macak Facebook page.  

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Monday, 9 January 2023

Croatia Cup 2023: Croatia Wins Poreč Tournament as Last Test before Handball World Champs

January 9, 2023 - The Croatia men's handball team beat Israel 37:23 on Sunday in Poreč to win the Croatia Cup 2023, their final preparation before the Handball World Championships begin this week!

The Croatia men's handball team defeated Israel in the 3rd round of the Croatia Cup 2023 (37:23) to win the tournament! It was Croatia's last test before the Handball World Championships, which starts this week in Sweden and Poland. Croatia plays in Group G against Egypt, the USA, and Morocco.

Compared to Croatia's first match against North Macedonia at the start of the tournament, coach Hrvoje Horvat left Mate Šunjić and Nikola Grahovac in the stands, and Dino Slavić and Leon Šušnja were in the lineup. Recall Croatia beat North Macedonia 40:34 at the opening of the Croatia Cup, and North Macedonia defeated Israel 38:37 in the 2nd round. 

Croatia's starting lineup against Israel featured Dino Slavić in goal, Lovro Mihić and Paolo Kraljević on the wings, and Željko Musa, Domagoj Duvnjak, Igor Karačić, and Ivan Martinović. 

Croatia took 10 minutes to find their rhythm, after which they took a 7:3 lead. At halftime, they were up by 10 points (20:10). Six minutes before the end of the game, Croatia was up by 13 points (34:21), and in the end, the game finished 37:23.

Croatia was led by Ivan Martinović with eight goals, while Luka Cindrić scored six and Igor Karačić scored five. For Israel, Adir Cohen was the top scorer with eight goals.

The Croatian Handball Federation and Sportske Novosti also presented the best players of 2022 during halftime. Ana Debelić was named the best female handball player for the second year, while Luka Cindrić was again named the best male handball player. 

Croatia will play its first match at the World Championships on Friday, January 13 (8:30 pm) against the national team of Egypt. You can find Croatia's schedule below.

Group G (Jönköping)

1st round, January 13
18:00 Morocco - United States of America
20:30 Egypt - CROATIA

2nd round, January 15
18:00 Egypt - Morocco
20:30 CROATIA - United States of America

3rd round, January 17
18:00 United States of America - Egypt
20:30 CROATIA - Morocco

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Exploring the Languages of Croatia: Bosnian/Bosniak/Bošnjački

January the 9th, 2023 - The Bosnian language, or Bošnjački jezik, if you want to say it in the local way, is a tongue belonging to the western subgroup of the wider south Slavic language family. It's worth mentioning straight away that it is rather ambiguous for many people here in Croatia, and has attracted many a dispute from linguists and other experts.

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 DalmatianZaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

Standard Croatian is far from the only language or dialect spoken in this small country, and some have more rights than others based on their level of dispute and controversy. While some, such as Istrian-Albanian, are now extinct as a result of a lack of preservation and/or a rapidly dwindling number of speakers, others are widely spoken but attract significant debate. The so-called Bosnian language is one of them.

Bosnian, Bosniak, Bošnjački - the basics

Let's start with the basics and say that in Croatia, the Bosnian language is usually called the Bosniak language. As I touched on above, this language attracts debate very often, and as such, you'll likely face corrections no matter what you call it. The issue with this has little to do with the formation of spelling of the word, but instead with historical ties to the country (Bosnia), and the terminology used when referring to it. 

Bosnian (as it is called in Bosnian), or Bosniak (as it is called in Croatian), as you might have guessed, is one of the three official languages spoken in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other two being Croatian and Serbian. The use of Bosnian, despite being a language which has no difficulty in attracting linguistic arguments, especially here in Croatia, is widespread, with over two million individuals spanning the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia speaking it.

Members of the diaspora, along with their descendents, across Western Europe, North America and even much closer to home in Turkey, also speak Bosnian, although their precise numbers have never been confidently determined. 

Bosnian is very similar to Croatian and Serbian, but developed down its own path as a result of Ottoman Turkish influence, which reigned strong in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a very long time. There are also Arabic and modern Turkish influences thrown in there, as well. Despite having an array of influences thrown into the mix, Bosnian is primarily based on four main subgroups of the Shtokavian dialects, with Shtokavian also being one of the pillars of standard Croatian, alongside Cakavian and Kajkavian.

A brief history and a (past) Croatian connection

On a small scale only, Bosnian leans on the Ijekavian pronunciation of modern Serbian but there are an abundant use of Turkish words to be found, and anyone with an interest in language and knowledge of Croatian will be able to instantly point them out. The language evolved and changed throughout the centuries, with the first Bosnian-Turkish glossary being published in 1631. Fast forward a few years to the post-Ottoman occupation period, more specifically to the nineteenth century, the much more extensive cultural activity of Bosniaks appeared in a language that was constantly referred to as something different: Serbo-Croatian, Croatian, Serbian, and then Bosnian. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy's long rule also led to the predominance of the Latin script across its former territories (which included modern Croatia in a very large part), giving birth to a (by then) much more visible Bosniak language, which was much, much more like Croatian than Serbian back during those times.

Where can the largest number of Bosnian speakers be found in the modern day?

In this day and age, the largest number of Bosnian speakers live in Bosnia and Herzegovina - more precisely in the cities of Sarajevo, Bihac, Tuzla and Zenica, with some other locations also having a significant number of people who claim it as their mother tongue. Just over 1.5 million people who claim their mother tongue to be Bosnian live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Disputes about the name, and where Croatia stands when it comes to Bosnian

There are a considerable number of people (just under 10,000 of them) who live in the Republic of Croatia who consider their mother tongue to be Bosnian, and the name ''Bosniak'' as Croatia typically refers to it, has and continues to be the subject of argument and debate from not only those in the world of linguistics, but also from politicians. Bosnian politicians believe Croatia should refer to it as Bosnian, and not Bosniak, and there are several Croatian linguists who very staunchly agree with the sentiment. Most Croatian language experts believe that nothing other than ''Bosnian language'' will do, and that such a title is the only appropriate one. Some linguists and experts who make up that very same group believe that Bosnian and Bosniak are actually two different things entirely.

Just to add to the confusion, in Croatia's 2001 census, this language is referred to as ''bošnjački'', while in the one which was carried out in 2011, the term ''bosanski'' is used, only furthering the ''Bosniak or Bosnian'' debate. Croatian state institutions, it seems, can't seem to make their mind up on this issue either.

For more on languages spoken in Croatia, as well as standard Croatian, dialects, subdialects and extinct languages, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Sunday Times Features Hvar as 1 of 3 Digital Nomad WFA European Destinations

January 8, 2023 - More good news for Croatia's attempts to attract the remote work sector, as the Sunday Times promotes Hvar in its top three WFA (Work from Anywhere) destinations. 

It seems so long ago, May 2019.

That was when I met a Russian and Ukrainian couple wanting to rent our apartment for 3 months the following year, from April 1 - June 30. They were doing something called remote work 10 months a year, with two in the office in Munich. Three months each year in Jelsa, then to Italy, then to Spain, then to Portugal at home. 

It sounded like an idyllic lifestyle, and one which I was about to immerse myself in, as well as dealing with the imminent pandemic.

That coffee was one of the moments of realisation about the power and the reality of the digital nomad movement and remote work shift. I became a big promoter in the opportunity, helping Jan de Jong and his team to realise only the second digital nomad permit in Europe after Estonia. 

The rest is history, and Croatia is now firmly established on the digital nomad global map, with the latest evidence in the influential Nomad List 2023 survey, which has Croatia as the most-liked country for nomads, and Zagreb as the second most-liked city. You can read more about this in Croatia Tops Nomad List 2023 Survey as 'Most-Liked Country.' 

And it seems that some of that nomad attraction has been rubbing off on my adopted island of Hvar, where that initial coffee took place almost four years ago, for the Croatian sunshine island featured in an excellent article in today's Sunday Times about the new breed of nomads, and the new hotspots - Hvar, Valencia and Malta in 

WHY THE NEW BREED OF DIGITAL NOMADS HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS

Forget twentysomethings backpacking with a laptop. Now CEOs, architects and lawyers are doing their jobs from anywhere in the world. Plus: the new hotspots 

Here is what they said about Hvar.

The WFA hotspots

by Hannah Ralph

Hvar, Croatia

Since January 2021 Croatia has been offering temporary residence via its digital nomad visa, but while most flock to the cinematic cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb, many remote workers forget the islands can be equally welcoming to those in need of an internet connection, a community of friendly faces and little else. Try Hvar, one of the Dalmatian coast’s most popular haunts, which has co-working spaces by the sea, an emerging après-beach scene, and crystal-clean coves ideal for a post-work dip.

You can read the full article here.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Tax Office Comments on Prices in Croatia and Slovenia

January 8, 2023 - As anger at the price differences between Croatia and Slovenia continues with the introduction of the euro, a statement from the Croatian Tax Office, reports Index.hr.

IN THE LAST days, one of the main topics in the public eye is the prices in Croatia and Slovenia. After the introduction of the euro in Croatia, it is easy to compare prices with those in Slovenia, where the euro was introduced back in 2007.

The Tax Office actually reacted to the statement of economist Damir Novotny.

"For the purpose of truthfully and fully informing the public about the incorrect claims of Mr. Damir Novotny, Ph.D., made in the RTL Danas show on January 7, 2023, in which he says that "Slovenia has a lower tax burden on most products of daily consumption and the basic VAT rate is lower than in Croatia, and the VAT rates for food products are especially lower, which are 9.5 percent, i.e. significantly lower than in Croatia", we draw attention to the fact that in the Republic of Croatia, on a fairly wide range of basic food products, the VAT rate is and reduced to 5%, while in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on these products is almost twice as high and amounts to 9.5%," writes the Tax Administration.

So they continue:

"In the Republic of Croatia, VAT is calculated and paid at a reduced rate of 5% on deliveries of the following goods:

* all types of bread,
* all types of milk (cow, sheep, goat) marketed under the same name in liquid form, fresh, pasteurized, homogenized, condensed (except sour milk, yogurt, kefir, chocolate milk and other dairy products), substitutes for mother's milk,
* baby food and processed cereal-based food for infants and young children,
* edible oils and fats, of plant and animal origin, butter and margarine,
* delivery of live animals: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled meat and edible slaughter products from: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled sausages and similar meat products, meat slaughterhouse products or blood,
* delivery of live fish,
* delivery of fresh or chilled fish, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates,
* delivery of fresh or chilled crabs
* delivery of fresh or chilled vegetables, roots and tubers, including leguminous dry vegetables,
* delivery of fresh and dry fruits and nuts,
* delivery of fresh poultry eggs, in shell,
* products that are mainly used as animal feed, except for pet food.

Despite this, although in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on eggs, for example, is almost twice as high as in the Republic of Croatia, it is pointed out in the attachment that the price of eggs in Croatia is higher than in Slovenia. Namely, the prices of products in retail are affected by a number of factors, and tax is only one of them," they add at the end.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Downtown to Winter Wonderland: Zagreb’s New Cable Car Experience

January 8, 2023 - Did you know that a whole different world awaits you a short distance from Zagreb, a world which is as far removed from the bustling centre in every possible way? And a world which is accessible in just 15 minutes via the recently opened Zagreb Cable Car.

Zagreb is one of the few European cities that has quality skiing on its doorstep, and now even closer thanks to the cable car ride up the mountain to Sljeme. On a gorgeous December day, I made my way to the base station, determined to overcome my fear of heights and cable cars, to see what the 15-minute ride would bring.

The cable car was incredible smooth, quiet and secure – I actually enjoyed the experience for the first time in my life, and I was rewarded with a choice between sun-kissed views of the city below and a winter wonderland of trees above. With several stops en route, I opted to the top and entered a vibrant world of winter fun, active fun, family fun, and just pure fun, fun, fun.

Skiing, sledding, mountain biking, hiking, snowball fighting, or just relaxing over a mulled wine or hearty winter portions of homemade food. Enjoy the experience in the video below, before descending back down into the Zagreb sunshine.

Zagreb is a destination of four distinct seasons, and Sljeme is a wonderful experience whatever the time of year. Don’t miss it – a wonderful escape from the city.

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Sunday, 8 January 2023

Advent in Zagreb 2022: A Video Snapshot

January 8, 2023 - Advent in Zagreb 2022 has come to an end. How was it for you? A video snapshot. 

And you thought Croatian tourism was all about the coast in the summer? Come visit the Croatian capital of Zagreb in December, as hundreds of thousands of others do, to experience one of the best Christmas markets in Europe (and voted the best three years in a row from 2016-18).

It is a remarkable story of a small event which was first branded as Advent in Zagreb in 2010, at a time of year when tourism in Croatia was almost non-existent. And yet, within just 6 years, it was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe on the European Best Destinations website, a feat Advent in Zagreb repeated for two more years. You can read more about the event’s sensational success in From Zero to European Champion: a History of Advent in Zagreb.

The pandemic put global tourism on hold in 2020 and severely limited it in 2021, but while many destinations put their Advents on hold, Zagreb chose to continue the tradition through those difficult years, albeit in a reduced, online and hybrid format.

But in 2022, Advent was back to its pre-pandemic best in Zagreb, with the iconic skating rink on Tomislav Square perhaps the symbol of that. Take a video tour below and see why Croatia away from the beach and summer has plenty of other attractions.

Learn more from the official Advent in Zagreb website from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Sunday, 8 January 2023

5 Things I Advise New Arrivals Moving to Croatia

January 8, 2023 - Thinking of moving to Croatia? Looking for a little advice from a foreigner who has been here for 20 years? Five things I advise new arrivals coming to live in Croatia.

Croatia is a wonderful place to live, although it is certainly not easy. Having lived here for 20 years, I have made all the mistakes possible - and more - and have been very frustrated by a number of things.

In order to lessen the pain for those coming after more with plans of living in Croatia, here are 5 things I advise people to take into consideration when moving to Croatia, in order to have a better experience. Want to learn more about the realities of living in this flawed but majestic country? Our new book, Croatia, a Survival Guide for Foreigners is now available on Amazon.

And there is a little bonus at the end as well, if - like me - you happen to be a beer drinker.

Many thanks for all your support on my little YouTuber journey so far. I have to admit it is a lot of fun, and I do feel humbled by the level of interest, subscriptions, and comments. Keep them coming. If you have not seen the channel yet, it is called Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert, and we will be posting two videos a week minimum, covering all aspects of life as a foreigner in Croatia, after my last fabulous 20 years here. 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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Saturday, 7 January 2023

FIFA Gives Robert Ljubičić Green Light to Play for Croatia

January 7, 2023 - FIFA has given Robert Ljubičić the green light to change his football citizenship. The 23-year-old Dinamo Zagreb midfielder can now play for the Croatia national team!

In November 2022, Robert Ljubičić decided that he wanted to represent the national team of Croatia in the future, after which the process began with FIFA to change his football citizenship from Austrian to Croatian. After months-long efforts, Ljubičić can play for Croatia! 

Ljubičić started his senior career at St. Pölten, after which he played for Rapid Wein and came to Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 2022.

"We are happy with the decision that Robert can play for the Croatia national team, and we believe that it will strengthen Zlatko Dalić's squad. I thank the management of GNK Dinamo, led by president Vlatka Peras, for supporting Robert and HNS in this process, as well as our technical director Pletikosa and the Federation's administration, who once again did a superb job in communicating with the player and with FIFA. Of course, I am most pleased that Robert and his family chose to play for Croatia, which confirms how strong the cult of our national team is and how much patriotism our people raise their children with abroad. It's up to Robert to impress the coach with his games, and I welcome him to the Croatian football family," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

"It was not easy to make such a decision considering that I grew up in Austria, where I also developed in football, for which Austria, my coaches, and clubs have my utmost gratitude and respect. However, Croatia is in my blood, it is my family, and I felt a strong desire to represent Croatia as my homeland. I thank HNS and Dinamo for supporting my family and me during this process, and I will continue to work hard to earn a call-up to one of the best national teams in the world, which would fulfill my football dream," said Robert Ljubičić.

"First of all, thank you to Robert and his family for the pleasant communication. Robert proved to be a very serious and intelligent young man who made a decision that made us happy - that he wanted to play for Croatia. I'm glad we formally made it possible and thus got a quality candidate for the national team. Now it is up to Robert to earn coach Dalić's trust with his games. Of course, we in the Federation believe that he can contribute to the national team with his football skills," said the technical director of the Croatia A and U-21 national teams, Stipe Pletikosa.

Source: HNS

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

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