Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia to Compete at Mediterranean Games in Oran with 55 Male Athletes, 50 Female Athletes

June 22, 2022 - At the XIX Mediterranean Games in Oran, Algeria (June 25-July 6), Croatia will be represented by 105 athletes in a delegation of a total of 172 people.

Croatia will compete in 17 sports (athletics, badminton, bocce, boxing, gymnastics, wrestling, sailing, judo, karate, 3x3 basketball, fencing, volleyball, swimming, handball, archery, shooting, and taekwondo).

Most Croatia representatives are in volleyball (36), which plays in both competitions with quite strong teams. The Croatia women's handball team will also play in team sports. These two women's teams significantly affected the gender balance of Croatia's competitive delegation, which, with 55 male athletes and 50 female athletes, came close to an almost equal representation.

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Croatian colors at the Mediterranean Games will be defended by the Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo Matea Jelić and bronze medalist Toni Kanaet (both from taekwondo), and most of our trump cards (karate, judo, wrestling, boxing) come from martial arts. Silver gymnast Olympian Tin Srbić will also compete in Oran, as well as his representative colleague, currently in excellent shape - Ana Đerek.

Croatia will have exceptionally high hopes in archery, led by Miran Maričić and the Glasnović brothers, and we must not neglect Croatia's bowlers because they brought a gold medal from the last Games (Pero Ćubela and Nives Jelovica), as well as sailors led by Olympian Elena Vorobev.

The result expectations are within the framework of Croatia's overall ranking so far in the competition of 25 Mediterranean countries, and this means a place in the Top 10 rankings of medal winners.

Recall, at the last Mediterranean Games in 2018 in Tarragona (Spain), Croatia's 99 athletes won 17 medals, of which nine were gold, five silver, and three bronze. At the same time, both Croatia national teams in team sports - volleyball and handball - took gold, and Croatia took ninth place in the list of countries that won medals. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

PM Phones Zelenskyy to Convey Croatia's Support to Ukraine's EU Membership Bid

ZAGREB, 22 June - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to express support to Ukraine ahead of the European Union's decision to grant the candidate status to Ukraine.

The European Council will convene for 23-24 June in Brussels to discuss the wider Europe, Ukraine, EU membership applications from Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, economic issues, the Conference on the Future of Europe and external relations.

"Ahead of the meeting of the European Council I spoke on the phone with President  Zelenskyy to convey our support to Ukraine in obtaining the status of EU candidate. We grieve the deaths of many innocent victims and we continue providing assistance to Ukraine that is defending its freedom and the values of the whole Europe," the Croatian PM wrote on his Twitter account.

The support to Ukraine's prospective status of candidate for EU membership has already been expressed by the leaders of Germany, France and Italy who together visited Kyiv last week.

While a majority of the EU member-states express the support to the future status of candidate for Ukraine, the Netherlands and Denmark and some other countries seem reserved about those prospects.

The decision on granting candidate status has to be adopted unanimously.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

81st Anniversary of Foundation of 1st Partisan Unit Marked in Brezovica Forest

ZAGREB, 22 June - Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at the Brezovica Memorial Centre on Wednesday on the occasion of Croatia's Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, observed on 22 June in memory of 22 June 1941 when the first Partisan detachment and the first anti-Fascist unit in this part of Europe were founded near Sisak.

President Zoran Milanović, who laid down carnations in front of the "Debeli Brijest" monument, said in his speech that anti-Fascism had deep roots in Croatia.

"It is a feeling, emotion, it is an integral part of Croatia's journey and one of the segments that make up our roots," said the president who underscored "No to fascism, freedom to the people!", alluding to the "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!" salute used by Tito-led Communist Partisan units in the Second World War.

Milanović said that Croatia's path in WW2 and after that was "just and successful".

Justice Minister Ivan Malenica, who laid a wreath on behalf of the government, said that anti-Fascism is part of the identity and past of the Croatian people, it is deeply intertwined in Croatia's statehood, and accepting both one's own good and bad things in the past is a sign of the maturity of a nation, the minister added.

It is a historical fact that Croatia's nation was among the victors at the end of the Second World War, the Croatian people were among the members of the anti-Fascist coalition, he said.

Sisak Count Prefect Ivan Celjak said that soldiers in the Homeland War made it possible for Croatia to see its dream of independence come true, and the borders of the country were defined by anti-Fascists and the anti-Fascist Struggle in the Second World War 

The head of the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia (SABA RH), Franjo Habulin, said being anti-Fascist is not a political orientation but a human one.

"Anti-Fascism is alive and never surrenders," he said.

In attendance at the ceremonies were also two former presidents, Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović, Deputy Sabor Speaker Davorko Vidović, Labour Minister Marin Piletić, Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronić, Sisak Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček, and Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia Ready to Receive Another 60 Irregular Migrants

ZAGREB, 22 June - Croatia has applied for reception and accommodation of another 60 irregular migrants who can be relocated and is one of the few EU member-states that have expressed willingness for welcoming an additional number of migrants.

Irregular migrants should be relocated from Italy, Greece, and Cyprus to other EU member-states, the Večernji List daily recalls.

Apart from Croatia, the other four countries where more migrants can move in are France, Germany, Portugal, and Ireland.

Voluntary applications for welcoming irregular migrants who should be resettled can still be lodgedCroatia also supports France in its broad initiative to reform the asylum-seeking system, says the daily.

During its recent meeting, the EU Homes Affairs Council, under the French presidency, "very broadly supported the first step of the gradual approach to migration and asylum proposed by the presidency, including the screening regulation, the Eurodac regulation, and the solidarity mechanism," according to the information on the French presidency's web site.

A declaration on assisting the countries that bear the brunt of the arrivals of EU-bound irregular migrants and asylum seekers was adopted at the last meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg, says the daily.

During that meeting, the EU countries were offered two options: to take in additional migrants or to provide them with financial assistance.

According to the state of affairs in applications, an estimated 8,000 applications have so far been lodged for taking in migrants. Germany and France are on the top of the ranking with the highest number of applications.

A provisional plan is to ensure the relocation and resettlement of about 10,000 migrants annually.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 834 New Cases, Four Deaths

ZAGREB, 22 June 2022 - In the last 24 hours, there have been 834 new cases of infection with coronavirus, and four more patients have died, Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Wednesday.

Currently, there are 2,834 active cases, and 188 patients are receiving hospital treatment, including four patients on ventilators.

The infectious disease has taken 16,039 lives in the country so far.

In the last 24 hours, 140 persons have recovered from the disease.

For everything you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatian Gymnasts Continue Winning Medals this Season - What's Next?

June 22, 2022 - Croatian gymnasts were brilliant at the recently concluded World Cup in Slovenia, with Ana Đerek winning two new medals (gold and silver) and Mateo Žugec securing gold on the pommel horse. A look at what's next. 

Ana Đerek won two new medals at the World Cup in Slovenia! After Varna (gold on the beam and bronze on the floor) and Osijek (silver on the beam and floor), she climbed the podium again. Ana claimed gold on the floor routine and won silver on the beam, continuing an incredible series - the third World Cup in a row this season with two medals each. Or even better, she is thrilled that she won gold twice for the fourth weekend in a row since the Croatian Championship between Varna and Osijek! 

The GK Marjan Olympian from Split finished 2nd in Slovenia on the beam, scoring 13,250. Only Hungarian Zsofia Kovacz (13,650) was better, while her compatriot Greta Mayer (12,450) won the bronze. The second Croatian finalist on the beam, Tina Zelčić (ZTD Hrvatski sokol), remained one step closer to the podium, finishing fourth with 11,700 points in her 3rd SK final in her career.

Ana Đerek's silver on the beam was her 18th medal in World Cup tournaments, but only a few moments later, she reached the 19th in her 33rd final, thanks to gold on the floor. She won it with a score of 12,900 and stood on the podium with silver medalist Poppy-Grace Stickler (12,750) and bronze medalist Greta Mayer (12,650). This is Ana's second gold this season after the beam in Varna and the fifth in her career at the World Cup. 

"Three World Cups in a row, six medals, and gold and silver. I really couldn't be happier," said Ana after listening to the Croatian national anthem in Slovenia.

"Things happened this time on my own, considering that I made a small mistake at the beginning of the exercise on the floor where I thought that I had dropped out of the fight for gold, but in the end, things turned out so well that even with that one mistake I won gold."

And the beam?

"I did the exercise without falling; I won silver… I am delighted because I haven't been training on the beam very well for the last few days. We haven't found a common language on this beam until today. And the warm-up was bad, so I have no comment. However, my effort and work returned very nice," Ana was grateful.

Mateo Žugec won gold on the pommel horse at the World Cup in Slovenia. The 20-year-old from Varaždin, a member of GK Vindija, won the second medal in his third World Cup final, and in just three weeks, he added gold from Koper to his silver medal from Varna.

Mateo, once the fourth junior in Europe (2020) and the fifth junior in the world (2019), is quickly profiling himself as a great senior who taught a lesson to many more experienced than himself and celebrated with 14,050 points (start 5.6) in the final. 

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Slobodan Kadic

"I hold this gold medal in my hand and have no words. I can't believe that in only three appearances at the World Cups, I took silver and here, this time gold. I am happy with myself. I hope this will continue at the Mediterranean Games in Algeria, which are now waiting for me. And until then, we are going to celebrate this gold," said Mateo after the final, in which he stood on the podium with the silver medalist Ukrainian Peter Pahnjuk (13,750) and the bronze medalist Hungarian Krisztofer Meszaros (13,200).

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Slobodan Kadic

The Croatia national team is now turning to the Mediterranean Games, where Tin Srbić, Jakov Vlahek, Mateo Žugec, Ana Đerek, and Tijana Korent compete. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

From Zagreb to Split Taking the Magical Old Highway

June 22, 2022 - If you are traveling from Zagreb to Split, or vice versa, you will most likely take highways E71 and E65 to get to your destination as quickly as possible. If you are not in a hurry, the old highway passing through Drniš, Knin, and Lika will surprise you.

I went to Zagreb recently, and contrary to my usual practices, I decided to bet on BlaBlaCar to travel to the Croatian capital. For those not very familiar with this application, you can choose a place of origin and destination and see which drivers (people like you or me) travel the same route and can give you a lift for a fee. I remember that a few hours before I met the driver in Split, she called me to ask if I had to get to Zagreb fast or if we could take the old highway that passed through Drniš. I didn't think much about it, but it was true that I wasn't in a hurry.

I am one of those people who say yes without thinking much, and sometimes that works against me. On this occasion, I want to thank my brain for being that way, since I discovered a way to travel through Croatia that will always remain in my memory, and that I will surely try to repeat more often.

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The beginning of the route is quite similar if your plan is to get to Dugopolje to take the E65 highway, only this time you will have to take the highway junction at Klis-Grlo, and you will now be on the D56 road in the direction of Drniš. Unlike the fast highways to Zagreb, this route can take between 5 and 5 hours and thirty minutes by car, almost an hour more. It's worth it? If you really have to get to Zagreb, or to Split, as soon as possible, there is not much I can tell you. But if you have time to spare, there are plenty of things you should consider that will surely encourage you to try something new. I mean, yes. There's nothing like the feeling of speed, but don't you sometimes get bored with your foot on the accelerator at a constant speed watching cars and trucks go by? I'm not saying the views aren't spectacular, because they are. What I'm trying to say is that there comes a point where you're no longer excited or surprised. Sometimes daring helps you discover new places and landscapes.

Here are some of the places you will see along the way:

Drniš

After crossing the picturesque valley behind Klis and crossing into the Sibenik-Knin region, you will find yourself in the village of Drniš, located halfway between the city of Šibenik and Knin. The valleys that anticipate and surround it will make you stop several times to carefully appreciate its beauty. There are many reasons why you should discover Drniš. Because it is a town with a rich tradition of culture and food, not least Croatia's most-distinct prosciutto (Drniš pršut). Additionally, it is the birthplace of Croatia's most famous sculptor, the world-renowned Ivan Meštrović.

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Image: Drniš Tourist Board

Knin

In Drniš, you will change the D56 road to the D33 in the direction of the historic town of Knin, which is almost half an hour away by car. If you start to feel like it's time to grab a coffee, grab a bite to eat, or even go to the bathroom, this is a good time. Personally, I would tell you to hold on a little longer because the next place to visit may be worth the wait. You can also walk through the streets of Knin, full of history that goes back hundreds of years and is mixed with a very recent one.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Macola Restaurant

Have you stopped at the Macola restaurant on the E65 highway? If the name doesn't ring a bell, you'll remember it for its stuffed bears and boars inside. It is very likely that you have stopped there on the way to have a coffee or something to eat. Although it is not exactly a destination, you might like to know that the original Macola is located on the D1 road, an hour and a half from Knin, and already in the county of Lika-Senj. Before the E65 existed, this was one of the most popular rest and refreshment points among travelers. My suggestion? A coffee and a walnut or apple strudel are a must.

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Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich

Plitvice

I know that while you are not in a rush, you also do not have enough time to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park, the largest and oldest national park in Croatia. Perhaps you may find it interesting that two of the entrances to the national park are on the D1 road. You will definitely have to visit the Plitvice Lakes at some point, but for now, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful greenery that accompanies this part of the road, something that you will not be able to see on the E71 highway. If you are interested in visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park, have you taken a look at the contest that we have organized in collaboration with the Park? You can win two tickets to visit it!

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Image: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Slunj

It is difficult to get to Zagreb or Split via the same old motorway, as at some point you will have to return to the fast one either in Karlovac or in Dugopolje. However, that doesn't mean that was all you could see. Be it the first or last of your stops, you have to check out the magical, fairytale town of Slunj. If you have the time, visit it! And if not, from the same road you will be able to see it in the distance and feel that you are going through a location described by J.R.R. Tolkien!

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Image: Slunj Tourist Board

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Zadar Digital Nomad Week Diary: The Final Days

June 22, 2022 - In the blink of an eye, the exciting Zadar Digital Nomad Week program came to a close with more keynotes and a call to nature. A look at the last two days of a great week that has helped highlight Zadar's magic in attracting digital nomads.

If you ask me, I would have thought that there was still one more week left of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week. Although six days loaded with various activities, workshops, panels, and keynotes have passed, I felt that there was more. And surely there is. I hope this doesn't sound like dissatisfaction, but I have come to the conclusion that a week in Zadar is still not enough. Looking at Zadar as a region, it becomes clear that there is still a lot to discover and do.

The participants were able to see a destination that, although it definitely stands out for its infrastructure, coworking spaces, and life on its streets, also stands above the rest when it comes to reconnecting with nature and authentic experiences. Living and working in Zadar means being in pure contact with rich history, being able to choose hundreds of destinations to visit, nature to discover, being part of its potential as a tech city, and much more.

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The Zadar Digital Nomad Week program reserved three very interesting keynotes for the last day, which were held online. The first of them was led by Sara Dyson, better known as ''Expat in Croatia'', who moved to Croatia 10 years ago. Sara founded ''Expat in Croatia'', now one of the top English-language resources for everything related to Croatian bureaucracy and assimilation including residence, citizenship, business, healthcare, and culture. In her live session, Sara explained how a blog managed to become a business that today has managed to facilitate the path of many people to achieve their dream life in Croatia.

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The second keynote was held by Orest Zub, a digital nomad from Ukraine. Orest was recently at the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik, where he participated in keynotes and panels, recounting his experience as a digital nomad in times when his country is at war. Orest tells about the internal debate of being a person with a desire to explore the world (he has visited 129 countries to date) and the feeling that he should return home. Orest, precisely, returned home to take care of his family and use his influence and platforms to recount the events of the current war in Ukraine. Almost four months after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Orest is traveling again but this time not only to connect with other digital nomads but to use his voice and raise awareness about what is happening in his country. Definitely, a keynote that helps to understand the social roles and responsibilities that a digital nomad can also assume beyond remote work.

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The last keynote was held by Diane Erceg, an Aussie with Croatian roots. In her live virtual session, Diane takes us all out of the box and makes us wonder, what about Antarctica as a destination for digital nomads? Diane's doctorate has covered 50 years of tourism on the ''seventh continent'', and whose many experiences at the globe's south pole are soon to be made into a book. Digital nomads tend to pursue destinations that, in addition to satisfying their most personal desires, such as destinations with tropical climates, paradisiacal beaches, or jaw-dropping landscapes, also have to meet the requirements that allow them to work remotely, such as good WiFi or coworking spaces. Precisely, in a Zadar Digital Nomad Week that has brought us closer to nature and the authenticity of a destination, Diane tells us about the ways in which it is possible to reach Antarctica as a digital nomad and live a truly unique experience compared to others destinations in the world.

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There was no better way to close not only the day but also the Zadar Digital Nomad Week, than by packing all our things and heading to Paklenica National Park, 50 minutes from Zadar city by car. Reconnecting with nature took on a new meaning, as we hiked for almost two hours in the direction of Planinarski Dom Paklenica, a cabin that welcomes adventurers and hikers. The cabin is located in the middle of the national park, and the only thing that surrounds you are its forests and impressive peaks. It sounds curious that the closing activity in a digital nomad event means being away from WiFi, technology, and coworking spaces, but at no time was it a reason for complaints. All the participants began the walk with the mindset of reconnecting with nature, with themselves, and even as an opportunity to share and create authentic bonds. Fireflies lighting up the night, and the morning donkeys bringing supplies to the cabin, are details that helped create that real atmosphere of presence.

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We all spent the night in the cabin and woke up very early to start our way back. There could not be a better setting for Diane Erceg to carry out her long-awaited keynote while we descended towards the entrance of Paklenica. The end of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week meant everyone's return to their daily lives and work. But I am very sure that we all now have a unique memory of a valuable experience, and we can boast of authentically knowing a destination that perhaps we would never have imagined being like this before. Congratulations to Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads for putting together an outstanding program, as well as the support of the Digital Nomad Association, the City of Zadar, the Zadar Tourist Board, the University of Zadar, and all the sponsors who made this event possible.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatian Football League Transfer News: Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and More

June 22, 2022 - A look at the latest Croatian Football League transfer news ahead of the 2022/23 season. 

The summer transfer season is heating up as Croatian clubs look to enhance their squads ahead of the 2022/23 season. A look at who Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and Šibenik have brought in so far. 

Dinamo

Boško Šutalo is a new Dinamo player, arriving as a reinforcement in the stopper position. It is increasingly likely that current Dinamo player Josip Šutalo will leave the club.

Boško Šutalo comes from Atalanta, and Dinamo allegedly paid 3 million euros for the transfer. The 22-year-old Croat thus becomes one of the most expensive reinforcements in Dinamo's history. 

Šutalo was born in Metković, played for Neretva and Split, and in 2018 went to Osijek. He was transferred to Serie A, signed for Atalanta, and played on loan last season.

"I am very happy to come to Dinamo. Dinamo is the most successful Croatian club that achieves significant success every season in Croatian competitions and Europe," Šutalo said.

"I will do my best in the Dinamo jersey in every game. I will fight for the club. I hope we will have great support from the fans in everything ahead of us this season, and I am sure that great moments await us," concluded Šutalo, who has signed a four-year contract with Dinamo. 

Hajduk

Toni Borevković is a new Hajduk player. On Sunday, the 25-year-old stopper underwent medical examinations in Zagreb and joined Hajduk's preparations in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria. Borevković joins Hajduk on a one-year loan with the right to buy his contract from the Portuguese first division club Vitoria de Guimaraes. He will wear the number 5 for Hajduk.

Borevković was born on June 18, 1997, in Slavonski Brod and began his football career at Marsonia. In 2012, he transferred to Dinamo, where he played until 2016, followed by Rudeš, where he played notably for the next three seasons and collected over sixty official appearances.

He transferred to the Portuguese city of Rio Ave in 2018 and recorded over 80 official appearances in three seasons. In the last season, he joined the ranks of Vitoria de Guimaraes, for which he played 24 games.

"My ambitions coincide with Hajduk. I came here to fight for the title. I followed Hajduk and the First HNL last season; I am glad that we won the trophy and were a little short of taking the second. I believe we can make that happen in the new season. I come ready for the preparations. I will immediately join the training, and I can only tell the fans that I will do my best in every training session and game," said Toni after signing for Hajduk.

Rijeka

Mario Vrančić is a new Rijeka player. Last season, Vrančić played for Stoke City in the Championship. Mario is an offensive midfielder and arrived in Rijeka on a one-year loan with the possibility of buying his contract.

Behind Vrančić is an impressive career in which he played for Mainz, Paderborn, Darmstadt, Norwich City, and Stoke City. However, Rijeka is a new station, a new opportunity to prove himself, and a great challenge. Vrančić has already played with Josip Drmić, Antonio Čolak, and Roman Bezjak in his career.

"I am very happy to be a new player of Rijeka. This is a new challenge for me. I chose Rijeka because I have a very good feeling," said Mario. 

Mateo Pavlović also signed with Rijeka on Wednesday. Pavlović arrived in Rijeka from French club Amiens and joined the first team. 

"I am happy and excited to be in Rijeka. The main reason for my arrival was that I felt that the people in the club wanted me, they showed great will and desire and that was decisive. I can't wait to wear the jersey and prove myself on the pitch," said Mateo Pavlović.

Mateo has played for Zagreb, Werder, Ferencvaros, Angers and Amiens.

Osijek

Damjan Bohar is no longer a player of Osijek. An agreement was reached on his transfer to Polish first league club Zaglebie Lubin, from which the occasional Slovenia national team player joined Osijek less than two years ago. Bohar mutually terminated his contract, and he should spend at least two seasons in Poland. 

Although he arrived in Međimurje for Osijek preparations, Mirlind Daku will go on loan again from Osijek. Daku joined Slovenian first division team Mura, where he also spent the spring half-season. 

Šibenik

Duje Čop arrived in Šibenik and agreed on a one-year loan from Dinamo after it expired in Celje, Slovenia.

This will be the 11th club in Čop's senior career, and he returns to Dalmatia after 10 years, where he left RNK Split in 2012. The 32-year-old striker has already joined Šibenik's team in the preparations in Slovenia with their new coach Damir Čanadi.

"The former Vatreni, as well as the former top scorer and player of the HNL, is coming on a one-year loan from Dinamo. We wish him a lot of luck and goals in the orange jersey," reads a short post on Šibenik's Facebook profile about the transfer. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia and Denmark to Meet in U21 EURO Playoffs

June 22, 2022 - Croatia and Denmark will meet in the U21 EURO playoffs in September this year. 

The national team of Denmark will be the last obstacle for Croatia on the way to the U21 European Championships next year. According to the value of all possible rivals Croatia could draw in the playoffs, Denmark ranks up there as one of the highest quality national teams.

"From the teams we were able to draw, they are the best, and their results show that. However, due to the goal differential, they remained below the line, similar to us. A difficult match for us, but also for them," said coach Igor Bišćan for Gol.hr.

Does he believe Croatia will qualify?

"Certainly, we believe in us, in the team. The guys have shown in these qualifiers, which ended the way they did, that they have the right mentality, character, and quality to hope for the best."

The games do not directly overlap with the Nations League. Did he talk to Zlatko Dalić about sharing players?

"We didn't because we only found out the draw on Tuesday, and the game is still very far away. Dalić has priority, he will be the first to choose, and we are happy when one of ours finishes in the first team. That is the purpose of our work. Dalić has shown a lot of understanding so far, we have cooperated very well, and I believe we will continue."

Croatia led the qualifiers until the end - what happened?

"Well, it's hard to expect such a decline; we were almost perfect in qualifying. We didn't expect to stumble so much in those moments. We'll learn. Our players haven't matured in football yet, and let's not say mentally. We paid dearly for that by not going directly to the Euro. We can't change that; I would attribute that to some growing up. If it had to happen, it's good that it happened now that we can still correct it."

How is he dealing with criticisms?

"They are an integral part of our work. Those who cannot understand that should not engage in this profession," Bišćan concluded. 

The additional qualifier matches will be played between September 19 and 27 this year. The Croatia U21s will play the first game at home. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

 

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