Monday, 13 March 2023

Is Ireland Losing Its Title of Promised Land for Croatian Expats?

 March 13, 2023 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. It seems that the promised land for Croatian expats has been sending them back at an increased rate.

Judging by recent trends, Jutarnji writes, it looks like the situation is changing and that Ireland is no longer as desirable a country as it was in the last ten years since Croatia's entry into the EU.

According to official data, 29,200 Croatian citizens moved to Ireland, 32,102 from 2001 to today. This is the number of issued PPS numbers, a version of the Croatian OIB (personal identity number), without which a foreigner cannot get a job in Ireland or resolve their health and social status. The peak was recorded in 2016 when 5,312 people left Croatia. A slight decline followed, further intensified by the pandemic in 2020, so only 1,399 PPS were issued then. There has been a slight increase in the last two years, 1,750 PPS were issued in 2021 and 1,823 in 2022, but the general impression is that the interest of Croats in moving to Ireland is waning. In January of this year, 133 PPS were issued, fewer than in January of last year and the year before.

The pandemic, Russian aggression against Ukraine, high inflation, and recession have influenced the trend of decreasing departures to Ireland. The negative economic indicators are most evident in the drastic increase in accommodation prices. In Dublin, the first contact with Ireland for most Croats, a bed in a room or apartment with several people cannot be found for less than 650-700 euros per month. Therefore, some Croatian expats replaced Ireland with another country, and many returned home. They also notice this in the Croatian Embassy in Dublin. Jutarnji spoke with Croatian expats who returned from Ireland.

Josip Kelava lived in Ireland for four and a half years and returned home just before the declaration of the pandemic.

"I changed four jobs. I started from working in a warehouse doing night shifts, moved to the marketing department of a company that produces stickers, and ended up at Amazon", said this IT specialist from Zagreb, who stayed in Dublin the whole time.

"The experience is very positive, but I planned to return the whole time, so I don't see this as a failure. It helped me grow up and become responsible for myself and my finances. But it's all for nothing if it's not used in the future, and now everything I did there is beneficial, especially Amazon in my CV and the daily use of the English language. The benefits are great, but if you don't monetize your stay in Ireland after returning home, you went in vain," noted Josip.

He pointed out that the great advantage of Croatian expats is that they are versatile and they are not afraid to do tasks that are not in their job description. Their Irish bosses then reward them with a promotion or a raise. He added that it was much easier for him to return to Zagreb, where there are greater opportunities, than for someone who left from the rural areas of Slavonia or Lika, where the environment might consider it a failure.

"Some people dislike the weather, so they return after two weeks. The Croatian expats community helped me a lot; we would gather at Church and play football, and we formed our own team. It was through a friend from football that I got to Amazon," said Josip, who confirmed that accommodation in Dublin is extremely expensive.

"Now it is even more difficult, and people have started fleeing en masse from Dublin to Galway, Waterford... I have family friends in Waterford who are already considering returning to Croatia. It's not a fairy tale. It's a beautiful island, the income is good, but the quality of life in Croatia is still at a higher level," concluded Josip, who, in the meantime got married, and he and his wife are now expecting their first child.

Vesna Ivanisevic from Sibenik also returned to Croatia with positive experiences but a great desire to return home. This Bachelor of Nursing returned last summer after three years in Limerick.

"I think that anyone who wishes to go should go and try it to see for themselves whether it is for them or not. I felt that I could and wanted to do more, which I couldn't achieve in Croatia, so I started looking for jobs in Europe. I contacted a recruitment agency and quickly got a job at a hospital in Limerick. It is unnecessary to talk about working conditions. They were practically ideal, and I worked in an intensive care unit where the European standard is applied: one nurse, one patient", said Vesna.

She lived in a shared house with roommates from all over Europe. She had her own room with a bathroom and paid 400 to 600 euros monthly for that. In such circumstances, she says, when you are alone, without a family, and only paying for a room, you can save a lot of money.

"Life in Ireland has many advantages, but of course, there are disadvantages. One of them is that all activities are indoors, even sports. I tried my best to go to nature, even in the rain, but I would enjoy it the most if I went to the Adriatic every year. Some values crystallized during the time I spent there. Also, the pandemic had a lot of influence on my return to Croatia. All my friends went home to their regions, both Irish and foreigners. After a while, I felt that nothing was holding me anymore and that I had no big reasons to stay. I couldn't see myself staying there in the future, and I definitely wanted to return to the Mediterranean, to return home to Sibenik, which is developing very well and where I feel comfortable," said Vesna.

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

Monday, 13 March 2023

SuperSport HNL 25th Round: Šibenik Shocks Dinamo, Hajduk Better than Osijek at City Garden

March 13, 2023 - The SuperSport HNL 25th round was played from March 10 to 12, 2023. This round saw an exciting last-minute win for last-placed Gorica, a shocking loss for table leader Dinamo, and Hajduk secure an important away victory against Osijek. 

Gorica - Istra 1961 (5-4)

Gorica and Istra opened the 25th round on Friday, March 10, in Velika Gorica in front of 937 fans. 

Istra was the first to take the lead with a goal from Bakrar in the 13th minute. Bralic equalized in the 30th minute, and Mitrovic's goal was called offside to keep the result even. Bakrar put Istra back in the lead in the 42nd minute for 1-2 at halftime. Caseres made it 1-3 in the 55th minute, and Pršir came back for 2-3 in the 79th. Fućak leveled the result in the 81st minute, and it was 4-3 for Gorica two minutes later! An exciting stoppage time saw two more goals - Matheus made it 4-4, and Gorica secured the win thanks to Mitrović in the 96th minute.


Gorica remains in last place with 16 points, while Istra is in 8th with 31 and a game in hand. In the next round, Gorica meets Varazdin, and Istra meets Lokomotiva. Before that, Istra will meet Dinamo at home to make up their 12th-round match. 

Lokomotiva - Slaven Belupo (1-0)

Lokomotiva and Belupio met on Saturday, March 11, in Zagreb in front of 760 fans. 

While the first half went without goals, Lokomotiva took the lead in the 47th minute thanks to an own goal by Soldo. That was enough to give Lokomotiva the win. Lokomotiva maintained 62% possession during the match and had six shots on target. 


Lokomotiva is in 7th place with 31 points, and Belupo is in 6th with 33. Lokomotiva plays Istra next and Belupo meets Hajduk. 

Šibenik - Dinamo (2-1)

Šibenik and Dinamo met on Saturday, March 11, in Šibenik in front of 2,497 fans. 

Two goals for Šibenik in the 40th and 42nd minutes shocked Dinamo, who were down 2-0 at the half. Ristovski came back with one goal for Dinamo in the 64th minute, but the current Croatian champion was unable to come back with another. Dinamo held 71% of possession and had 17 attempts on goal, of which only 6 were on target. Šibenik had only two shots on target which they scored. 


Šibenik is in 9th place with 23 points, while Dinamo is in 1st with 56 points and a game in hand. Dinamo and Istra finally play their 12th-round makeup game on Wednesday. Šibenik meets Osijek in the 26th round, and Dinamo plays Rijeka. 

Rijeka - Varaždin (3-1)

Rijeka and Varaždin met on Sunday, March 12, at Rujevica in front of 5,114 fans. 

Selahi put Rijeka ahead in the 45th minute, and Ampem made it 2-0 in the 53rd. Five minutes later, it was 3-0 for Rijeka thanks to Banda. Jelenić came back with one goal for Varaždin in the 88th minute. Rijeka maintained 48% of possession in the match with 20 total attempts compared to Varaždin's 16. 


Rijeka is in 4th place with 34 points, while Varaždin is in 5th with 33. Rijeka plays Dinamo next, and Varaždin plays Gorica. 

Osijek - Hajduk (0-2)

Osijek and Hajduk closed out the 25th round on Sunday at City Garden Stadium in front of 6,107 fans. 

Livaja scored a penalty for Hajduk in the 28th minute for 0-1. Melnjak made it 0-2 seven minutes later. Osijek held 64% of possession and had 11 total goal attempts, the same as Hajduk. Osijek only had 2 attempts on target compared to Hajduk's 7. 


Osijek is in 3rd place with 36 points, while Hajduk is in 2nd with 47. Osijek meets Šibenik next, and Hajduk plays Belupo. 

You can check out the HNL table HERE

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

Monday, 13 March 2023

Croatian Electricity Exports Became a Reality in February

March the 13th, 2023 - Croatian electricity exports have become a reality, with February 2023 seeing electricity from this country's hydroelectric power plants sent abroad.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, owing to large production from hydroelectric power plants, Croatian electricity exports took place in February. The Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia (OIEH) association expects that due to the melting of the large amount of snow that fell in various placed across the country last month, rivers will receive plenty of water in March and April, and all indicators point to a successful continuation of hydropower production over the next two months.

According to the data from the analysis made for OIEH by energy expert Marko Lovric, back in February this year, in the total available production, hydroelectric power plants participated with 35.58%, wind power plants with 14.36%, the Krsko nuclear power plant participated with 15.10%, and other renewable energy sources participated with 5.23%. Fossil energy sources accounted for 29.75% of the total energy structure in the Republic of Croatia in February.

"The large production of hydroelectric power plants in February was also achieved due to less emptying of reservoirs. At the same time, the wind power plants also had on average good production, and the Krsko nuclear power plant was operating at full power, considerably higher than the nominal power.

Due to the simultaneous large production of hydro and wind power plants and the resulting lack of flexibility resources in the system, it was necessary to occasionally export some energy. In February, net Croatian electricity exports of 51 GWh were achieved," stated Lovric, adding that last month there was a large variability of daily consumption and peak load due to the climatic conditions throughout that month.

Due to the lower air temperature by 0.25 °C compared to normal, electricity consumption was higher by 6 GWh in February compared to the previous month. There was also a large physical transit of electricity through the HOPS high-voltage network towards neighbouring regulatory areas, an average of around 452 MWh/h, which led to an increase in losses for the Croatian transmission network.

When looking at daily consumption and peak loads in February, the maximum daily consumption stood at 61,663 MWh/h, which was achieved on February the 8th, while the minimum on February the 19th stood at 44,612 MWh/h. The total production of wind farms during the entire month of February was 223,288 MWh, and the power utilisation factor was 33.4%.

The average production of wind farms in February was 332.3 MWh/h, while the maximum production reached 793 MWh/h, and the maximum power factor was 80.8%. The average hourly price was 145.60 euros per MWh, which is a drop of 25.4% compared to February last year. The average hourly price for the first two months of this year was 146.08 euros per MWh and is 27 percent lower.

In the first two months of 2023, Croatia had 3335 GWh of electricity available and didn't need to import it. The hydrological conditions during the first two months of this year were excellent, and hydropower accounted for almost 40% of the total available energy in Croatia, while wind power plants accounted for 14.48%.

In those same two months, wind farms produced almost the same amount of energy as the Krsko nuclear power plant. According to the currently available data, renewable energy sources accounted for 55% of the total available energy in Croatia in February, and as much as 61% back in January.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Exploring The Croatian Language - The Slavonian Dialect

March the 13th, 2023 - Standard Croatian is made up of a very significant number of dialects and subdialects. From the extreme south of Dalmatia to the northernmost points of modern Croatian territory, the way people speak varies considerably. Have you ever heard of the Slavonian dialect?

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

Heading to the overlooked eastern part of Croatia, we find ourselves in Slavonia. This region is dominated by agriculture, and in contrast to most of the rest of the country, it is flat, making it perfect for fields as far as the eye can see. Formerly the bread basket of Croatia and indeed the wider region, Slavonia has unfortunately become synonymous with Croatia's burning demographic issues which have since spread across even the more economically favourable areas.

Much like almost every other part of Croatia, Slavonia has its various dialects and subdialects. In this article, I'll stick to the basic Slavonian dialect before delving into deeper specifics surrounding subdialects. 

Where is the Slavonian dialect spoken?

The name certainly gives this one away - in the eastern part of Croatia. First and foremost, the Slavonian dialect is sometimes called the Slavonic dialect and is a dialect of the far wider Shtokavian, one of the three main dialects making up standard Croatian language as we know it today. It boasts numerous more archaic features when compared to other dialects based on Shtokavian and is spoken by ethnic Croats who come from various parts of Slavonia. As a marginal western Shtokavian dialect, the beginning of its linguistic development looked starkly different to the end result, it was also spoken in more areas than it is today.

A brief history of the Slavonian dialect

Ways of speaking that belong to the wider Slavonian dialect have been being spoken to varying degrees in the extreme northeast of parts of the country in which Croatian is spoken since medieval times. Given the fact that they are located primarily in the northwest, they are peripherally located and have features of marginality. That means that while the Slavonian dialect is undoubtedly Shtokavian, it does connect in some ways quite closely with both the Chakavian and the Kajkavian dialects.

One might assume, given Slavonia's geographical position, that the Slavonian dialect would have far, far more in common with Kajkavian. Such an assumption would be more than logical, but as I'll explain a little further down, endless migration and settlers from elsewhere made sure that Shtokavian was far more prominent.

Croatian history has been turbulent for an incredibly long time, and with the invasions of the Ottomans and various changes of power and even recognised states, one can imagine the sheer amount of migration that has taken place in and around these lands as the centuries have passed by. This naturally had an enormous effect on the languages spoken, where they're spoken, and how they're spoken. It is precisely because of strong waves of migration over time that the linguistic connections between the Slavonian dialect and the Kajkavian dialect were largely severed, but the results of these old connections are still evident in the details if one looks closely (and of course, if they know what they're looking at).

The demographic crisis in Slavonia isn't something that came about recently or even during more modern historical periods. Back during the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Slavonia lost a very significant part of its local population, attracting the populations of what were then much poorer neighbouring regions. Settlers from Herzegovina were abundant in Slavonia, and they naturally heavily influenced the physiognomy of the native population's speech over time.

As I touched on above when I mentioned Slavonia's position on the map and the proximity of Kajkavian speaking areas to it, one would assume that Kajkavian would have more of a ''say'' in the Slavonian dialect, and historically, you'd be right for assuming so. In a historical sense, the Slavonian dialect was once closely connected with Kajkavian, but migrations and new settlers from elsewhere changed that, and as a result of those very migrations, this connection decreased and decreased, and in some cases it was even broken entirely. The Podravina subdialect is more or less the only subdialect which has done well to retain its Kajkavian speech connection.

For more on the Croatian language, dialects and subdialects, as well as learning to swear in Croatian, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Croatian Driving Regulations to Change: Digital Licenses, Zero Alcohol

March the 13th, 2023 - New Croatian driving regulations set to come into force in line with those being implemented across the entire EU will alter some things for road users. Here's what is set to happen.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the European Union (EU) should become the first bloc of countries in the world to introduce a digital driver's license. All this due to the digitisation process that we're all undergoing and have been for quite some time now. This will also serve as a truly unique database that would help the police with their work.

''Your driving licenses would be on your phone or other digital device, and you'll still be able to request a physical driving license if you prefer having that,'' said Adina Valean, Commissioner for Transport of the European Commission (EC).

The younger generation could then enter into a probationary period of sorts after passing their driving test. A rule of zero tolerance for alcohol would also be introduced, because although statistics have improved in Croatia, across the European Union drivers under the age of 30 are still involved in two out of five fatal crashes in which alcohol is typically involved.

''I don't think anything in particular will change. Things will look the same as they have before, with the exception that people won't be allowed to drive under the influence of any alcohol whatsoever and they'll have to adhere to the same speed limits as before. Other than that, I don't think there will be any big changes as far as young drivers are concerned,'' Krunoslav Antonic, a driving instructor of category A and B, said in conversation with HRT.

However, according to the new proposal, the rules on fines will be changed for all drivers as part of the new Croatian driving regulations. Police within the whole of the EU will be able to access and see the databases of drivers in any EU member state. Until now, all police officers working in the European Union have been able to see if you have been fined for speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, and the European Commission is now planning to expand this.

As such, in addition to the aforementioned offenses, every police officer will also be able to see if you do one of the following in any EU member state:

1. Failure to maintain sufficient distance between vehicles

2. Dangerous overtaking

3. Dangerous parking

4. Crossing over one or more solid lines

5. Driving in the wrong direction

Changes are also coming to the revocation process for driving licenses. If you commit a serious traffic violation anywhere in the EU, you could lose your driving license, and then you would no longer be able to get it at home or in any other EU member state.

''For example, when the German police determine a certain offense and find out the perpetrator, and that person is no longer available in Germany to contact, they will use certain data through cooperation with the Croatian police and in that way, a sanction will be imposed, and if necessary, that individual's driving license will be confiscated,'' said Sinan Alispahic, an assistant general secretary at HAK (Hrvatski autoklub)

Experts agree - we won't have to wait long for the implementation of these new Croatian driving regulations, as the European Union has set itself a big task to bring these plans to fruition by 2025.

For more, check out our news section.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Croatian Returnee Buys Hotel to Provide Free Holidays for His Employees

March the 13th, 2023 - One Croatian returnee from America has invested a huge sum of money into a hotel which will be used for free holidays for the employees of his three Sisak-based companies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian returnee Darko Matt Sertic is breathing life back into an area in which the massif of Velebit plunges down into the sea. Jablanac, a place in which around fifty people live without a local school or a shop, but which does have a post office, a church, is home to a hotel like no other in Croatia. This hotel's guests, believe it or not, stay there for free.

Darko decided on making such a move way even before he bought it, and he had spent literal years looking for a facility where the workers from his three Sisak companies could come and spend their holidays without having to pay one single cent, tportal writes.

"I do it out of pure selfishness, if you like. If you want a good and prosperous company with happy employees, you have to provide them with some basic things - paid travel expenses, hot meals, and you can even throw in a nice holiday, too. You have to help them out with what is affecting their family budget a little more. That's how you keep hold of them. In addition, you'll attract new, smarter people than you to come and work for you. Then you can step aside a little and say - great, less obligations for me,'' 66-year-old Croatian returnee Sertic explained.

He bought the Ablana Hotel with its 26 rooms two years ago. It was built back during the second half of the 90s and was operational as a normal hotel until 2010, when it was left at the mercy of vandals and the cruel hands of time. It sadly turned into an abandoned, ghost hotel, joining a series of abandoned tourist facilities dotted along the Croatian coast that are decaying in silence as the years pass and the elements take their toll.

"The hotel was in a terrible state, I was simply blown away. It was overgrown with weeds and wild animals lived in it, and the rooms were toilets for the people swimming on the nearby beach. It was just awful! But in America they teach you that even that "awful" can be turned into something good. Everything can be fixed, except the location. When something is in an excellent location, then it makes sense for you to work hard on it,'' explained Sertic.

He learned his priceless American entrepreneurial wisdom during the last 40 years he spent living and working across the pond. As a young man, Sertic moved away from his native Sisak to the USA in the mid-80s. He got a job in Silicon Valley and founded Applied Ceramics back in 1994. Its main business is the production of components for the chip industry, and its clients are the world's largest manufacturers, such as Intel, Samsung, Philips and Taiwan's TSMC, just to name a few.

He opened a plant in Sisak back in 2008, in the institute building of the former Zeljezara (ironworks). Three years after that, he started the international culinary academy Kul In, and in 2014, Pisak, the first business incubator in all of Croatia created based on a private initiative. This doggedly determined Croatian returnee did not stop there, either, and in 2018, he started the production of solar modules in his company Sunceco.

Here in Croatia, Sertic employs around 200 people. With them in mind, as well as is desire to provide internships for the participants of his culinary school during the summer, he started looking for a hotel or resort by the sea, and that's how this extremely generous idea came to be.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

TCN New York Correspondent Srecko Mavrek Gains Recognition

March the 12th, 2023 - TCN New York correspondent Srecko Mavrek, a man born in Varazdin who has spent his time living, studying and working around the world, gains recognition for his promotion of Croatian culture abroad.

Last week in Bad Homburg, Germany, the winners of the 17th Vecernjak’s selection of the most popular Croats in the diaspora were announced in the categories of sport, music, acting and showbiz for the 2023 Vecernjakova Domovnica Award. This year’s “Vecernji list” newspaper awards ceremony was also held under the sponsorship of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

Photo 1

Srecko Mavrek, TCN correspondent from New York and one of the hosts of Croatian Radio New York "Voice of Free Croatia", also received special recognition.

Srecko Mavrek was born in Varaždin in 1969, and his origin is from Ivanec. He studied in Zagreb, Pecs, Graz and New York, and was one of the prominent student leaders at the University of Zagreb, where he was elected to the presidency of the Student Union and served as a representative for the social-humanistic-theological field in the university senate.

Before leaving for the USA, he worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Udine in Italy, the Karl-Franz University of Graz in Austria, the University of Augsburg in Germany and the University of Pécs in Hungary. He currently works as a swimming and physical education teacher for the New York City Department of Education.

He is also an adjunct lecturer at Hostos Community College, the City University of New York. As an internationally recognised expert in education, he was the official representative of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education at the United Nations Department for Global Communications.

He received several prestigious professional awards and recognitions, such as the 2016 President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. Mavrek sings tenor in the well-known New York klapa Astoria, which became famous by performing the American national anthem at the Croatian Heritage Night in Madison Square Garden on January 11, 2019. In Science of Music, he composes folk and world music and plays various instruments. He is also a correspondent for the Croatian Information Agency (HIA).

Srecko Mavrek is a highly respected Croatian lobbyist and promoter of Croatian national heritage and culture in America and around the world. For this reason, last Sunday he received one more recognition from the American-Croatian Congress at a ceremony held at the famous Dubrovnik restaurant in New Rochelle, New York, owned by Zeljko Tomic from the island of Lopud.

The ceremony was preceded by the premiere of the HRT documentary "Ana Mljecka", which promotes Croatia, the island of Mljet and the Mljet National Park around the world, and is dedicated to the traditional way of life on the Adriatic and the Croatian islands, showing the cultural heritage of the island through the biographical story of Ana Strazicic Rodriguez, a well-known Croatian expatriate who has been living and working in America for decades.

During his speech at the award ceremony, Srecko Mavrek thanked the entire American-Croatian Congress, which recognised his contribution to the Croatian community in New York, and he also said that it was a really great honor for him personally to be among other award winners such as Jere Kursar, Zvonko Crnogorac and all others who for many years have been contributing to the promotion and reputation of Croatia and the Croatian community in New York and New Jersey with their voluntary and humanitarian work.

As a respected member and journalist of the American-Croatian Congress, he also announced that after this recognition, he will become even more involved in a series of projects at the local community level and globally.

Mavrek UN 1

Mavrek UN 2

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Do All Brits Living in the Balkans Work for MI6?

March 12, 2023 - Being a Brit in Croatia comes with its own peculiarities.

Despite being born in 1969, I am apparently responsible for the events in Bleiburg in 1945, for example.

And we are all arrogant colonialists (I also spent a lot of my time in Kenya apologising for the British colonial past before I was born).

And of course, the main topic - what the hell are Brits doing living in Croatia? There can only be one answer - they are undercover operatives for MI6. After 20 years of rumour and accusation, including the delightful claim that I am the MI6 Balkans Bureau Chief (can you imagine), tonight the truth and a little insight into whether or not all Brits living in the Balkans work for MI6.


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

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.





Sunday, 12 March 2023

EHF EURO 2024 Qualifiers: Croatia and the Netherlands Draw in Osijek (25-25)

March 12, 2023 - In the fourth round of the EHF EURO 2024 qualifiers, the Croatia handball team and the Netherlands drew 25-25 in Osijek.

Croatia thus did not manage to win even in their second match against the Netherlands. Four days ago, the Cowboys lost 27-32 during Croatian coach Goran Perkovac's debut on the bench.

With a victory, Croatia would have taken an important step towards qualifying for the final tournament, which will be held in Germany from January 10 to 28 next year. The decision on who will qualify for the Euros will be known in April when the last two rounds are scheduled. Greece currently leads Croatia's group.

The quick Netherlands side created problems for the Croatian defense from the start. The visitors took a 4-1 lead, and in the 11th minute, it was 7-3. The Netherlands, led by Staffan Olsson, reached a big six-goal advantage (13-7) in the 19th minute.

Fortunately, in the last 10 minutes of the first half, Croatia picked up their intensity. On the wings of the great Osijek audience, they played much tighter in defense and more mobile in the attack. Croatia reduced the score to just one goal by halftime (14-15).

At the start of the second half, Croatia managed to equalize (15-15), and in the 42nd minute, they took the lead for the first time (20-19). Goal for goal was played, and there were nine ties! The Netherlands was the first to break away, taking a 25-23 lead in the 51st minute. But Croatia tied the score again at 25-25 with goals from Domagoj Duvnjak and Tino Lučin four minutes before the end. Croatia failed to capitalize on an attack to retake the lead. 

With his eighth save, Kuzmanović gave Croatia a new chance to go ahead. Unfortunately, Lučin committed a foul in the attack, and the Netherlands got a chance to lead a minute before the end. They were not successful either. Croatia had 15 seconds left to celebrate, and while Duvnjak shot, Ravensbergen registered his 15th save.

Mateo Maraš was the top scorer for Croatia with five goals, Filip Glavaš and Tin Lučin scored four each, while Dominik Kuzmanović recorded eight saves. Dani Baijens led the Netherlands with six goals, Rutger ten Velde scored five, Kay Smits scored four, and the excellent Ravensbergen recorded 15 saves.

In the second match from this group, Greece beat Belgium 26-24.

Greece leads the standings with six goals, Croatia and the Netherlands have five points each, and Belgium is at the bottom with no points.

The top two national teams from each of the eight groups will directly qualify for the Euros, and the four best third-placed teams will also qualify for the final tournament. Winning first place in the group also brings a slightly easier draw.

The last two rounds are scheduled for April. Croatia first visits Greece on April 26, and the qualifiers will conclude on April 30 at home against Belgium.

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

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Luka Modric Donates World Cup Jersey to Turkey Earthquake Victims

March the 12th, 2023 - Legendary Croatian footballer Luka Modric says all proceeds from the sale of his no. 10 jersey, worn in the 2022 World Cup opener against Morocco, will go to the victims of the devastating February earthquakes, which have claimed more than 44,300 lives in Turkey’s southern region.

"Hello to all my Turkish friends. I just want to send you a lot of strength and prayers in these difficult moments. Stay strong, we are all with you and we are praying for you", Luka Modric said in a video message on Twitter:

Turkish Ambassador to Zagreb Yavuz Selim Kiran thanked Luka Modric for his show of care and solidarity,

Croatian central defender Josko Gvardiol and goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic have also donated their jerseys and gloves to the earthquake victims.

For more, check our our sport section.

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