Saturday, 3 December 2022

New Croatian Profit Tax to Undo Effects of Important Reforms

December the 3rd, 2022 - The highly unpopular new Croatian profit tax has already been raked over the coals by many, but it seems that it will go as far as to undo all of the very important reforms that have been successfully implemented so far.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, over the weekend, Finance Minister Marko Primorac will have the opportunity to study a number of proposals that came up in the public debate on his, controversial to many, legal proposal for a new additional income tax.

 Even before that, Primorac repeated to journalists that he wouldn't give up on the introduction of this new Croatian proft tax, which is in fact tax on extra profit, as well as that there should be no exemption of certain sectors from paying this new tax.

Proposals were submitted by numerous large Croatian employers, as well as some smaller ones, consulting firms, banks, associations, and even economic analysts. Marijana Ivanov, a professor at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, was among the most active individuals in this debate, and among others, she has been calling for the application of this new Croatian profit tax to be moved to 2023.

Although, it seems, the minister isn't remotely inclined to single out and ''show mercy'' to certain sectors, part of the proposal regards precisely those appeals for him to do so. Along with the Viktor Lenac shipyard, which has warned that it will be the only one in the entire EU to will be burdened with this, a similar cry comes from the Croatian association of shipowners - Mare Nostrum.

With this new Croatian profit tax, they warn, shippers who have chosen to participate in the tonnage tax system will be imposed such a tax incompatible with the tonnage tax system, thus putting them in an unequal position compared to competing EU shippers.

For the Medjimurje-based company Muraplast, an important correction would be to exempt companies using the Investment Promotion Act from paying additional tax, or to propose that, otherwise, the requested amount of additional tax be taxed as normal profit tax, which can be reduced by a certain amount through the Investment Promotion Act . They're also standing up for the protection of energy-intensive companies, which did manage to make somewhat of a profit this year.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) is also active in this regard. In their proposal, they present the case of a member from the automotive industry, which, after coping with some bad times, is already having to deal with a 20 percent drop in orders for next year.

AmCham also joined the debate that literally erupted recently, warning that the announcement of this new Croatian profit tax actually goes against the positive results achieved by the Republic of Croatia through several rounds of tax reform, as well as the efforts the government has made so far to achieve tax stability and predictability. They fear the move will do nothing but call the positioning of Croatia as an investment destination into question once again.

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

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Croatian Pessimism: 44% of People Expect Worsening Quality of Life

December the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian pessimism is usually given in somewhat healthy doses, but it seems that it is on the increase according to a new citizens' survey.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, as many as 44.3% of people living here in Croatia believe that their overall quality of life will be worse in the years to come, and more than half of them (more precisely 61.2% of the respondents) stated that they experienced a decline in purchasing power over the past year.

Croatian pessimism is on the rise, they're distrustful and worried, according to the Zero Quadrant survey on citizens' attitudes, beliefs, fears and expectations, conducted by the Val Group agency in collaboration with Ipsos.

This higher dose of Croatian pessimism is also reflected in the expectations for 2023 because, according to the research, as many as 88.8% of consumers are significantly or very worried about further price increases as the country introduces the euro during a period of high inflation. As such, 41% of them will have to spend more, and only one in four respondents will actually work to actively reduce their personal consumption.

As many as three quarters of those surveyed (73.9%) are worried about the crisis unfolding for the domestic economy. In addition, Croats are losing confidence in all sectors, trusting the media the least - with only 13.3% of respondents saying they have much faith in it. The state institutions, trusted by 13.6% of people, fared a little better. In the real sector, however, insurance companies enjoy the least trust (18.1%), and tradespeople the most - 57.7%.

As for healthcare services, people are more satisfied with private healthcare facilities - 46% of them in total. On the other hand, only 26% of citizens are satisfied with public healthcare.

The finding on the impact of price increases on consumer attitudes towards brands is also interesting, and today, the social responsibility of companies and their impact on the environment is less important to them as prices soar. For example, back in pandemic-dominated 2020, as many as 58% of respondents said they bought brands from socially responsible companies. Today, just 45% of them say the same. As far as investments are concerned, as many as 82% of people have singled out investing in knowledge as the most profitable type of investment.

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

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Overhaul for Zagreb Public Transport as ZET to Modernise Fleet

December the 3rd, 2022 - An overhaul is on the cards for Zagreb public transport as ZET plans to modernise its fleet as part of a wider project aimed at decarbonisation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the JIVE2 project, organised by the national coordinating body of the Croatian Hydrogen Association and the project partner, the Hydrocarbons Agency, the final event of the demonstration CEE bus roadshow was held recently in Zagreb's popular Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, which covers three geographical areas of the EU (Central and Eastern Europe, Poland - the Baltic region and Southeastern Europe).

This is part of an important EC (Clean Hydrogen Partnership) project, which aims to encourage the commercialisation of hydrogen-powered buses, i.e. the procurement of 300 hydrogen-powered buses in accordance with the European Strategy for Sustainable Mobility and the European Hydrogen Strategy, and which is financed by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership with the support of Hydrogen Europe. The manager of the project is H2LV - the Latvian Association for Hydrogen, while the technical partners in the project are the Messer Group and CaetanoBus.

Through the JIVE2 CEE bus roadshow project, the City of Zagreb and ZET d.o.o., they got the opportunity to test these technologies in real driving conditions, collect a large amount of data (telemetry), all with the aim of making future informed decisions regarding the modernisation of the Zagreb public transport offer, more precisely the ZET bus fleet.

The president of the Croatian Hydrogen Association, prof. emer. Frano Barbir, Ph.D., said that the transition of the vehicle fleet of public carriers across Europe from the existing fossil fuel-powered drive to clean energy sources such as hydrogen is still in its infancy, and he highlighted the lack of infrastructure that would support hydrogen-powered vehicles as the main problem.

Hydrogen, as an energy carrier, has great potential for decarbonising numerous sectors of the economy, especially where batteries aren't technically possible or end up being a more expensive solution. One of these sectors is the public city transport sector where hydrogen, used in buses with fuel cells, enables high performance and provides a level of comfort for passengers, all without emissions of greenhouse and other harmful gases, particles and noise.

Bearing in mind that back in May, through the "REPowerEU Plan", the EC secured additional investments of 200 million euros available for the Partnership for Clean Hydrogen through the Horizon Europe programme, and announced future measures for development. This is now an opportunity to use the funds for the decarbonisation of the Zagreb public transport offer.

Croatia took a significant step in this direction by connecting with neighbouring countries in the establishment of the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley. It is precisely the funds from REPowerEU that strongly support the increase in the number of hydrogen valleys and all the projects that are being implemented within this initiative.

''This is the first step towards the implementation of the Croatian strategy for hydrogen, which we adopted back in spring this year, and I'm extremely happy that we've already taken the first steps. We're extremely honoured that the Croatian Hydrogen Association, as the national coordinator of the JIVE 2 CEE bus roadshow project, is part of the initiative towards Zagreb's decarbonisation,'' said sc. Ankica Kovac, vice president of the Croatian Hydrogen Association.

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

Friday, 2 December 2022

Discover the Croatian Danube: SOM (Catfish) on Our Way to Šarengrad

December 3, 2022 – Having passed through Vukovar, the Croatian Danube continues its journey east toward Ilok. We reach the slopes of Fruška Gora, which is positioned just above the picturesque little villages, helping the river frame them.

When my family moved back to Vukovar in 1999, there was not a lot to do. Shops and playrooms weren’t really a thing, and my brother and I (4 and 6) spent most of our time outside. Hanging around the Danube in the summer, making snowmen in the winter. Year after year.

From time to time, we would get into the car to go on a family field trip. These special occasions were filled with laughter and excitement because the road would always surprise us anew. My dad would speed up on the little hills, making us feel like we were riding a rollercoaster and there was something to learn between them. We saw our first hazelnut trees, learned the difference between apple and pear trees, and we could even tell apart different kinds of crops. And the grapevines were always so much fun to look at. They stretched so far and wide that it felt like we were racing them.

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The road follows the course of the Danube, and it leads to Šarengrad. That’s where the Danube kisses the sky, as sung by Josipa Lisac. And between Vukovar and Šarengrad came our first fish – som (Croatian for catfish). SOM stood for Sotin, Opatovac, and Mohovo, and it was a mnemonic taught to my mom by her father, who spent all his free time fishing in the Danube. To make sure that you get the villages in the correct order. When I was six, I thought it was the coolest wordplay ever; then, I thought it was kinda lame; now I’m sure that I’ll take my kids on the same road trip and teach them the same trick. In the newest edition of our Croatian Danube series, we will discover Sotin, Opatovac, Mohovo (som), and Šarengrad.

Sotin

  1. Sotin is a tiny village adjacent to Vukovar, with a population of about 700. Sadly, during the homeland war, as much as 10% of Sotin’s population was either killed or taken away, and many have not yet been found. That is why the first thing that you see in Sotin will be a monument dedicated to those people and their sacrifice. And though the village is relatively small, its location right next to Vukovar and on the crossroads of some other villages from the direction of Ilok makes it a convenient stop for refreshments.

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Vukovar Tourist Board

If you’re looking to have a drink or a bite of delicious local dishes, make a stop in Gondola Sotin. Gondola is a family run picnic ground and restaurant, with a few rooms available as well. The whole place is decorated with traditional patterns of Syrmia, telling the story of this beautiful area. In addition to daily operations, they host events, celebrations, and more, so it could be a good choice for a team building as well.

Opatovac

In Opatovac there’s a church, a small shop, a lake, and an internationally successful ping-pongng team. This even smaller village counts roughly three hundred people these days. Its residents will tell you there’s nothing to do, yet they spend most of their time hanging out in their little village. The first written recordings of its existence date as far back as 1387, when it was the home to a monastery. The reason why people settled there was its rich soil, which to this day remains one of the most fruitful areas in all of Europe.

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Lovas Municipality

Opatovac is the ideal place to rest, recharge, and wander around in nature. The most appreciated location in the village, especially if you visit in the summer, is undoubtedly the Opatovac Ada. On this river island, all locals and some visitors like to go swimming, camping, or just chilling in the shade. The volleyball tournaments that happen here are an experience in themselves. We would like to thank Andrija Pole for the pleasant conversation about his home village.

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Mohovo

Welcome to the Mammoth Valley! Similar to Opatovac in size, Mohovo hides own little secrets. Though it only has about three hundred residents, they do know how to come together and show off their piece of paradise to the world. Thanks to Goran Popović and the association Dolina Mamuta (Mammoth Valley), the village is well on its way to becoming known as an epic place where remains of prehistoric animals can be found. So far, multiple mammoth teth and rhinoceros remains have been found right there.

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Udruga Dolina Mamuta FB

So far, the association has ensured that the remains were arranged into an exhibition, hosted two Mammothfests, and has put up educational materials around the valley for all visitors to learn along. In addition to promoting their history, the association regularly organises events for the village residents, like Fišijada (fish stew cook-off), the upcoming Christmas market, and more. Mohovo is the perfect little place to feel the spirit of community.

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Udruga Dolina Mamuta FB

Šarengrad

Last, but not least, we have arrived in Šarengrad. The arrival there feels like you’re entering a fairytale -you are high on a hill, you can see the remains of a fortress on your left, a little settlement on your right, and the Danube framing it just below. Oh, and there’s a giant sign saying “Gdje Dunav ljubi nebo” (Where the Danube kisses the sky). And you know that it’s right here as soon as you see it.

danube6_1.jpgVioleta Kovačević - Viki Vu Fotografije

That is the perfect description of Šarengrad. The remains of the fortress date back to the 15th century, and there was info that the village might even date back to the 11th century. The village is slightly bigger than its neighbours, with some eight hundred residents, but it is still on its path of recovery. There might not be much to do there, but a day of exploring the fortress and hiking the bank of the river in perfect peace is all the escape that one might need. And though Šarengrad does not mean the colourful city like we thought when we were kids (in Croatian šaren = colourful), but is just a Hungarian word for Syrmia, the colours of Šarengrad in the spring or in autumn will leave you speechless. That’s a promise.

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Violeta Kovačević - Viki Vu Fotografije

Discover the Croatian Danube with us and check out Aljmaš part 1 and part 2, Erdut, Dalj and Milutin Milankovic, and Vukovar. Stay tuned for the finale of the series – Ilok.

How good is your knowledge of eastern Croatia? Take the CROMADS test above - how many places do you recognise?

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

Friday, 2 December 2022

Part of 5C Highway Connecting Osijek to Beli Manastir Opened

December 2, 2022 - Yesterday, the section of Corridor 5C highway, connecting Osijek and Beli Manastir, 25 kilometers long, was opened. 

The town of Osijek celebrated their day yesterday, and as a part of that celebration, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković opened yet another section of the popular Slavonika highway, Večernji list reports. Corridor 5C is an international traffic route whose goal is to connect Budapest and Ploče, and its Croatian section will be 88.6 kilometres long, and all but the final five kilometres have now been completed. The last five kilometres between Beli Manastir and Ivandarda will be completed in 2024.

This was a joint venture, thanks to HBOR and EBRD, whose funds and extremely favorable interest rates made this project a reality, Plenković added. This means that the balanced regional development of Croatia, transport connectivity and the construction of transport infrastructure are strategic priorities of our Government. The investment in this section of the highway was HRK 206.4 million. 

The construction of Slavonika, which is what the Croatian section of the corridor 5C highway is often called, started in 2005, and two years later the first section from the Sredanci rest stop to Đakovo, 23 kilometers long, was put into traffic. The mayor of Osijek, Ivan Radić, stated that the opening of the Baranja section is the best gift to Osijek. He pointed out that Osijek is now two hours away from Zagreb, and now they will be two hours away from the capitals of the neighboring countries, Budapest and Sarajevo.

The Osijek Baranja Prefect Ivan Anušić pointed out that the bridge over the Drava River, as part of Corridor 5C, is the longest bridge in Croatia, and bears the name of the 3rd Guards Brigade, which made the greatest sacrifice in the Homeland War. The mayor of Beli Manastir, Tomislav Rob, said that this is a historic day for Beli Manastir and the whole of Baranja, the biggest one since the peaceful reintegration.

 

Friday, 2 December 2022

Ukrainian Embassy in Zagreb Receives Gory Package

December 2, 2022 - Croatian media report and the Ukrainian embassy in Zagreb has confirmed on their social media that they are among the embassies which have received extremely gory packages today.

The first report of the threat came from Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign affairs. In it, he mentions that one of the packages was sent to the Ukrainian embassy in Zagreb.

The packages supposedly contained animal eyes and were soaked in a liquid of "characteristic colour" (not too difficult to determine which colour it is from the context clues, although not explicitly stated).

In addition to the embassy in Zagreb, similar packages were sent to embassies in Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, and Austria, as well as to consulates in Naples and Krakow. Additional threats to the embassy in Vatican, Kazakhstan and the USA are also being reported and are investigated.

When asked to comment, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković briefly stated that the Croatian police is in charge of keeping embassies safe.

We will update this story when further information about the events in the Zagreb Ukrainian embassy becomes available.

Friday, 2 December 2022

A Week in Croatian Politics - Ukrainian Soldiers, Schengen, Euros and Hats

December the 2nd, 2022 - This week in the often weird world of Croatian politics, we've been dominated by football, Qatar and people's outfit choices more than we have much else. Still, Ukraine, Schengen, Croatia's now rapidly approaching Eurozone accession and more are still reigning strong. Oh, and let's not forget the drone from back in March which we're still not sure who launched.

Who was best dressed for the most recent Croatia match in Qatar - former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, or the wife of current president Zoran Milanovic, Sanja Music Milanovic? That is the question!

Croatia has been progressing well in Qatar, and with some of Croatian politics' main women being present, including former president Grabar-Kitarovic, who is known for her unbridled passion and love for the Croatian national team when they play. Memes were made, articles were written, comparisons were made - but who wore it best? Index even had a poll, check it out for yourself here.

Parliamentarian Kreso Beljak is against training Ukrainian soldiers here in Croatia, believing we have nothing to teach them

Member of Parliament and president of HSS (Croatian Peasants' Party), Kreso Beljak made a guest appearance on N1 television/televizija recently, during which he explained why he is choosing not to support the government's proposal on the training of Ukrainian soldiers here in Croatia. He also commented on the parliamentary debate on the matter and the decision of Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic, who banned him from speaking for two days.

Beljak claims that Jandrokovic cut him off when he suggested to Defense Minister Banozic that it might be time to take a different view of things and try to sit down with President Zoran Milanovic on the matter. He accused the Speaker of the Parliament of not allowing him to exceed his speaking time by 12 seconds, and after that he only allowed HDZ representatives to reply to him, while he himself failed to have the opportunity to speak.

"I'm a public figure, I represent the people who pay me to do so, and that Jandrokovic with all his complexes isn't going to stop me from doing that," he said. Beljak also explained why he will not support the government's proposal on the training of Ukrainian soldiers, although he emphasises that it is indisputable that Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is the victim in this situation

"A war is being waged, it's being waged with technology that we could only dream about or see in sci-fi films, aircraft, drones... something that we could've only imagined back in 1991. I don't see what we, that is, the Croatian army, could ever teach the Ukrainians at this moment in time, it could only be the other way around," said Beljak.

He is convinced that the entire story surrounding the training of Ukrainian soldiers is actually a spin of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who wants to ingratiate himself with high-ranking people within NATO and the EU and use this situation to do precisely that. He concluded that he'd support the decision on military training if all EU member states participated in it, but that he will not because only ten of them, Croatia included, have agreed to take part.

Nobody has any issues with Croatian joining Schengen, the EU's top brass claims

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), which consists of ambassadors of European Union member states, discussed the expansion of the Schengen area to Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania as part of the preparations for the meeting of the Council for Justice and Internal Affairs next week.

No member state had objections to the proposal to admit Croatia to Schengen. According to their internal rules, some member statesmust obtain the approval of the competent committees in their national parliaments for their positions in the EU Council.

The governments of Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, and the Netherlands have submitted proposals to their parliaments supporting Croatia's entry and are now waiting for their green light. All other EU and Schengen members have already confirmed their support for Croatia. Coreper will again have the expansion of the Schengen area on the agenda on December the 7th, just one day before the meeting of interior ministers who should take the final decision.

You can read more into this very important matter for the world of Croatian politics by clicking here.

President Zoran Milanovic talks energy crisis, claims that Russia and the United States of America are two large and indestructible countries, but China isn't

Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that energy isn't a commodity, but a resource that guarantees security, independence and strength, and that the European Union is currently in a situation where it will ''have to buy gas from the USA at three times the price".

"Energy is a key issue at this moment, but it always is otherwise,'' said Milanovic at the opening of the "Business Meets Politics - Energy Today and Tomorrow'' economic forum, organised by the Slovenian-Croatian Business Club and the Slovenian Embassy in Croatia, held as part of the visit Slovenian President Borut Pahor to Croatia. Milanovic stated that Croatian Schengen accession will see the two neighbouring countries cooperate and deepen their ties even more.

Milanovic then said that Russia and the USA, each in their own way, aren't "two large and indestructible states" just by chance. "They're indestructible because they have certain technologies (...) and unlimited amounts of energy for their needs. China is no longer that category," Milanovic asserted.

For a long time, the European Union was "under the illusion" that it would establish an energy market, but given the serious state of the Russia-Ukraine war, it came to the point that it would simply need buy gas from its ally, the USA, at three times the price, he claimed.

"Those countries are in a very serious state of war, more serious than ever before in our lives. We've come to the conclusion that we'll just have to buy gas from our allies at three times the price. That's a fact. It's going to cost us money," he said.

He also said that this is why French President Macron went to the US to talk with US President Biden. "Actually, he went to beg from the position of a weaker partner for understanding and mercy," Milanovic assessed in his usual ''gloves off'' style.

Croatia will be much more deeply protected when we introduce the euro as our official currency, claims PM Andrej Plenkovic

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently said at the Days of Regional Development and EU Funds conference which was held in Opatija that the county needs to face the great challenge of declining natural growth and the demographic deficit far more seriously, as this is all becoming an essential strategic problem in and for Croatia.

"Now it's up to us to make our country and society as high-quality as we possibly can, to face the great challenge of the decline in natural growth, the demographic deficit that is becoming an essential strategic problem of the Croatian people and society, and where we must use all good practices and mechanisms to at least slow down the negative the trends we're dealing with," emphasised the Prime Minister.

In his presentation, Plenkovic also said that the meeting on regional development and EU funds is significant because it takes place in a year that was full of numerous EU activities and the completion of large projects and processes which were of enormous importance for the country in a strategic sense, as well as for Croatian politics.

"This is the year in which we completed the largest EU project of the Peljesac bridge and all of its access roads, which will forever be a symbol of the first seven years of EU membership and which finally connected the territory of the Republic of Croatia," said Plenkovic, adding that "we showed what modern sovereignty looks like and how the strengthened position of Croatia can best be used for the realisation of our strategic national goals."

He noted that we're now in the very last month in which our currency is the kuna, and that in a month, Croatia will become the 20th member of the Eurozone, scrapping the kuna and adopting the bloc's single currency.

"Croatia will be much less exposed and much more protected when it joins the Eurozone,'' he said, noting that a ministerial decision on Croatia's entry into the Schengen area is expected very soon. He assessed that it is a precedent that the country enters both the Eurozone and the Schengen area on the very same day in January 2023.

"This means that through the two mandates of our government, we've achieved our strategic goals and reached the stage where, after only 30 years of international recognition, we're among fifteen countries in the world that are in NATO, the EU, Schengen and the Eurozone.''

Going back to the Ukrainian, or Russian (or whoever's) drone which landed in Zagreb earlier this year, the Defence Minister has stated that no, he still doesn't know where it came from or who launched it

The Croatian Ministry of Defense reacted to how the media reported the statement of Minister Banozic about the drone that fell in Zagreb back in March this year. Their reaction is presented below. "Regarding media articles under the headings "Minister Banozic: We know who launched the drone that fell on Zagreb" and similar, in order to provide true and objective reporting to the public, the Ministry of Defense is obliged to react.

Namely, the texts published an incorrect quote as well as an incorrect interpretation of what Banozic said in the Croatian Parliament on November the 30th, 2022. Minister Banozic never said "we know who launched the drone that fell on Zagreb, but it's a secret".

He referred to the fact that the unmanned aircraft passed through several countries and stated that Croatia exchanged information with NATO member states, but didn't prejudge the final information about who launched the drone, about which the investigation is still ongoing," explains the statement issued by the Croatian Ministry of Defense.

The Ministry of Defense then wrote exactly what Banozic actually said in the parliament in response to the reply of the representative of the Homeland Movement, Stipe Mlinaric:

"Responding to the reply of Stipe Mlinaric, a member of the Croatian Parliament, the minister said: "First of all, I want to say that neither Prime Minister Plenkovic nor I took pictures of ourselves standing next to any hole/crater [left by the drone when it crash-landed], we were present at the location for which we expressed concern based on analyses at the time, which clearly showed that there was a threat being made from the incoming missile itself.''

 

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section, and follow our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published each Friday.

Friday, 2 December 2022

Croatia into World Cup Last 16: Zlatko Dalić Comments on Japan, Joško Gvardiol, and VAR

December 2, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press the morning after Croatia secured their World Cup round of 16 spot. Croatia will play Japan on Monday, and Dalić gave his first impressions. 

The Croatia national team will play in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 against Japan, the winner of Group E. Second-placed Croatia will thus face a rather unexpected opponent for a spot in the quarter-final. Coach Zlatko Dalić spoke to the press in Qatar the morning after Groups E and F were completed. 

Recall Croatia and Morocco drew 0-0 in the opening match, after which Croatia beat Canada 4-1 and finished 0-0 against Belgium, enough to win second place in Group F. Croatia thus crosses over with the winner of Group E, Japan, which lost to Costa Rica 0-1, and beat Germany and Spain 2-1.

Have you had time to analyze the match against Belgium one more time?

"I looked at it last night in peace, I got the statistics, and the impression is better than yesterday. Great match by Croatia, great 98 minutes. Control, defense, pressing - everything was at the highest level. Full control. We had two or three situations that could have been fatal, but they came from our mistakes, not Belgium's game.

The complete story was great. There were so many good things. According to statistics, we ran 122 kilometers and did not fail in that segment. Everything we did was very, very good. The impression after the recording is better than after the game."

What awaits Croatia against Japan?

"Tough game for both teams. Spain took the lead and thought it was over, but Japan never wavers and never gives up. Japan deserved to win because they were compact and fast. Germany was eliminated, and Belgium and Denmark, which speaks of the quality of the other national teams. Maybe earlier, we would have chosen Japan as the best option, but they beat Germany and Spain, and Japan is anything but an easy opponent."

How is Croatia doing physically?
"We work very well all the time; training is at a high level. We didn't fail the physical fitness part, and I'm not afraid of that. We have to rest for two days and prepare for Japan, but we are full of energy and motivation. We want to avoid injury. We can't rest the whole team, but it's not necessary either."

How would you rate Japan as a team, and what will be critical for that game?
"If someone finishes first in the group ahead of Spain and Germany, they are good and quality. Japan showed that they do not give up. They came back after losing and have great quality. We must be disciplined and patient and not make mistakes at the beginning of the game. Japan punishes it with counterattacks. We have to have a good comeback."

How does it feel to be statistically one of the best coaches at the World Cup?
"I will look at it from the aspect of Croatian football and the national team. We have continuity; we are always at the top. Along with Germany and France, we are the only ones with medals in the last 20 years. We are a small country; we must be happy and proud. It's not my success, but it's the success of all of us. I hope this is not the end and that Croatia will do better and bigger things.

We have become a team that deserves the respect I'm talking about, not that we play at 1 pm as World Cup finalists. We deserved it with the results. However this ends, it is a fact."

What is the next goal?
"Appetites have not increased. We must be calm and modest and look for what is most important. It's the next game. We must not think that we have done great things. We did what we were preparing for, and we are moving on. When we were first in the group with nine points in Russia in 2018, we went to Denmark. I said then that we would have been losers if we had lost that game. No one would remember the group.

It is the same now. We will not go with big announcements. We will try to win the next game and take the next step. We must be firmly on the ground. We know that Japan has a lot of players in Europe, or eight of them in the Bundesliga. They also have players at Celtic, good players in the championship. The Japan coach knows European football. Japan will be a worthy rival to Croatia.

I'm not surprised that Japan is in the round of 16. They deserved it with their games and quality, and I congratulate them on that."

Dalić commented on the photo of Joško Gvardiol in his mother's arms.

"It warmed my heart when I saw it. That's why he's the best stopper in the world; you can't be complete if you don't have those feelings. That picture is the picture of the Croatia national team. I congratulate his mother for raising such a son."

And what about that VAR call in last night's match?
"I don't usually comment on the reffing, but I was angry. It's a centimeter; it takes away the emotion. Because of this, Croatia lost the World Cup title. It hurts. If this were the interpretation, that hand in Russia would not be a penalty."

Source: Index.hr

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

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Croatia and Japan to Meet in 2022 World Cup Round of 16

December 1, 2022 - Croatia and Japan will meet in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 on Monday, December 5. 

With a 0:0 draw against Belgium in the 3rd round of Group F, Croatia secured a spot in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 on Thursday night. 

Morocco topped Group F with seven points, Croatia finished in second with 5, and Belgium and Canada were knocked out of the tournament. 

After Croatia and Belgium finished, the Group E matches were played. And what a crazy way we got to find out Croatia's next World Cup opponent.

Japan beat Spain 2-1 and topped Group E, meaning they play Croatia as the second-placed team min Group F. Spain thus finished second in Group E and will play Morocco, who finished first in Group F. Germany and Costa Rica have been knocked out of the tournament.

You can find all of the possible scenarios of how Croatia learned about its opponent below. 

How Croatia's round of 16 match opponent was decided 

Spain
If Spain beat Japan, they were guaranteed first place. A draw was enough for Spain to pass from first place. However, Spain could have dropped to second only if Costa Rica beat Germany. If Spain lost to Japan, they needed a draw between Costa Rica and Germany or for Germany to win to advance. In that case, goal difference is the deciding factor. 

Japan
Japan could not lose if they wanted a spot in the round of 16. If Japan and Spain drew, Japan would go through if Germany and Costa Rica drew. A draw could also happen if Germany won, but then the total number of goals scored by those teams is considered. A Japan win secured their spot in the next round, almost certainly from first place. 

Germany
Germany was in the most difficult situation in terms of points and only needed a win against Costa Rica. With a win, Germany would be in second place. However, they could only be first if Japan beat Spain - then the goal difference between Germany and Spain would be considered, and Spain has a big advantage there.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica would be eliminated if they lost. They could only move on with a point if Spain beat Japan. If Costa Rica won, they could have been first only if Spain and Japan played a draw. 

Croatia and Japan thus play their round of 16 match on Monday, December 5, at 6 pm local time. 

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

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Croatia Entering Schengen Area: No EU Member State has Objections

December 1, 2022 - The ambassadors of the EU member states discussed the expansion of the Schengen area and the proposal of Croatia entering Schengen. According to diplomatic sources, none objected to the proposal to admit Croatia to the zone without internal border controls.

As Index writes, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), which consists of ambassadors of the member states, discussed the expansion of the Schengen area to Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania as part of the preparations for the meeting of the Council for Justice and Internal Affairs next week.

No member state had objections to the proposal to admit Croatia to Schengen. According to their internal rules, some member statesmust obtain the approval of the competent committees in their national parliaments for their positions in the EU Council.

The governments of Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, and the Netherlands have submitted proposals to their parliaments supporting Croatia's entry and are now waiting for their green light. All other EU and Schengen members have already confirmed their support for Croatia. Coreper will again have the expansion of the Schengen area on the agenda on December 7, a day before the meeting of interior ministers who should take the final decision.

Austria is allegedly against Bulgaria and Romania entering

According to diplomatic sources, the Dutch ambassador was against accepting Bulgaria, Germany supported all three countries, and Austria was against Bulgaria and Romania. Another diplomatic source told Hina that France is strongly committed to Romania.

The problem is that Bulgaria and Romania cannot be separated because the border between these countries was never even intended to be the external Schengen border. To separate the two countries, it would be necessary to prepare the protection of that border and organize the border crossings in accordance with the Schengen rules, and this would take several years.

According to this source, there may be pressure on those who oppose Bulgaria and Romania so that all three countries enter, but it is more likely that only Croatia will get the green light. On the agenda are proposals for two decisions, one for Croatia and one for Bulgaria and Romania. The decision requires the consent of all 22 member states in the Schengen area.

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

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