2022 Sports Year: One of Busiest for Croatian Athletes

By 2 January 2022
2022 Sports Year: One of Busiest for Croatian Athletes
Slobodan Kadic

December 2, 2021 - The 2022 sports year will be even busier than 2021. A look at what's in store for Croatian athletes this year.

Behind us is a busy 2021, in which we saw Croatian athletes compete in the postponed Olympics and football Euros, among many other competitions. However, even as packed as 2021 was, the 2022 sports calendar looks crazier. 

While the dates for most of the events are already confirmed, we still await some like the boxing fights for Filip Hrgović, Alen Babić, and Petar Milas. We also expect Stipe Miočić to announce a new fight in the UFC, reports

2022 Sports Calendar

January - Sljeme, handball, UFC, HNL…
The year traditionally opens on Sljeme in Zagreb. The Snow Queen will be held on January 4 and 5, with the women's skiers on the slalom track on Tuesday. Croatia's Leona Popović is in great shape, which she showed by winning 14th place in Lienz this week, equaling her best career result. 

Men's skiers will compete on Wednesday. Filip Zubčić, who recently won third in the slalom, is in the best form among Croatia's male skiers. There will be no spectators on Sljeme this year.

Handball is also traditional in January. The Croatia men's side opens the Euro against France on January 13, and two days later against Serbia, almost at home in Szeged, Hungary.

Coach Hrvoje Horvat has rejuvenated the national team, and we will see what this new Croatia can do. The two best national teams advance to the second round, and we will see if Croatia will have a spot after the first two games. France or Serbia must fall, and then the victory against Ukraine in the last round takes Croatia further.

The first Grand Slam of the tennis season is the Australian Open, which begins on January 17. Novak Djokovic, if he performs, could overtake Federer and Nadal in the number of GS titles won. So far, all three have 20.

On the last weekend of the month, one of the most exciting seasons of Croatian football in history returns. Dinamo, Rijeka, and Osijek have 40 points each, while Hajduk joins the fight for the title with five points behind.

February - Winter Olympics, Dinamo against Sevilla, Champions League knockout phase
From February 4 to 20, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics. Croatia will be represented in alpine skiing by five competitors led by Filip Zubčić, with representatives in cross-country skiing, speed skating, biathlon, and bobsleigh. We will know the exact number in mid-January.

European club football continues in the second half of February. Dinamo will play against Sevilla in the first play-off match of the Europa League round of 16 on February 17. The return match is seven days later at Maksimir.

Two days before that, the Champions League begins with a spectacle in Paris, where Paris St-Germain welcomes Real Madrid in the most resounding showdown of the round of 16.

March - Vatreni returns
The Croatia national football team returns in the second half of March. Two friendly matches will be played against still unknown opponents. At the same time, three mini-tournaments will define the last three European participants for the World Cup in Qatar.

The draw connected Portugal and Italy, so the current European champions, who did not play in Russia, or the team full of world stars led by Cristiano Ronaldo, will be left without the World Cup.

April and May - return of the WRC, Croatian Cup, and end of HNL
On the first day of April, we will find out who Croatia will play in their World Cup group. Croatia should be in the second strongest hat.

The biggest rally stars return to Croatia from April 21 to 24. The WRC Croatia Rally will once again put motoring on all media headlines.

The end of the Croatian football championship awaits us in May, and on May 26, Poljud will host the final of the Croatian Football Cup for the first time. The Champions League final will be held in St. Petersburg two days later.

Also, in the second half of May, the World Water Polo Championship will be hosted in Fukuoka, Japan. 

June - four Croatia games in 11 days
June is reserved for a big football competition every other year, but as the World Cup in Qatar has been moved to winter this year, UEFA has filled that term with the Nations League.

From June 3 to 13, the Croatia national team will play against Austria, France (twice), and Denmark. Croatia hasn't played that many games in most major competitions in June.

July and August - football and water polo Euros in Split
Croatian clubs will have European qualifiers in the summer months, and all football championships will start a little earlier than usual. The reason, of course, is the World Cup in Qatar, which shifted the complete schedule of football competitions in the second half of the year.

In the second half of July, the postponed World Athletics Championships will take place in the USA from the 15th to the 24th.

At the end of August, Split will host the European Championship in water polo, held at the Spaladium Arena. The Euros start on August 27, and the final is on September 10. The groups have not yet been drawn.

September - Eurobasket and Nations League
Apart from playing the European Water Polo Championship in Split, Croatia will also compete in the Eurobasket at the same time. Croatia placed in Group C and Greece, host Italy, Ukraine, the UK, and Estonia. The first four national teams will advance to the knockout phase and compete in the round of 16.

Champions League group matches have never been played earlier. The competition begins on September 6, when the national teams also play. However, despite the condensed calendar, UEFA's plan is for the entire group stage to take place before the World Cup break.

Croatia will play the last two matches in the Nations Group group only on September 22 and 25, first against Denmark and then away against Austria.

November and December - Winter World Cup in Qatar
The year ends with a bang. The World Cup in Qatar will be played during the winter, opening on November 21 with the final on December 18, a week before Christmas.

The European Women's Championships will be held in Slovenia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia from December 4 to 20, hopefully with another stellar result from our Bronze generation at the last European Championships.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page