Saturday, 17 December 2022

A New Bronze Generation: Croatia Finishes 3rd at 2022 FIFA World Cup!

December 17, 2022 - A new 'Bronze Generation' was born tonight in Qatar. Croatia beat Morocco to finish 3rd at the 2022 FIFA World Cup! 

After Croatia lost to Argentina on Tuesday and Morocco lost to France on Wednesday, the two teams dropped out of the fight for the 2022 World Cup title. But that doesn't mean they had nothing left to play for.

Croatia and Morocco met in the 3rd place play-off on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium, the winner of which would take home the bronze medal. 

Croatia will thus close the tournament against the same national team they opened against almost one month ago. Croatia and Morocco opened Group F at Al Bayt Stadium on November 23, ending 0-0. 

Croatia then beat Canada 4-1 at the same stadium they're playing at tonight, followed by a 0-0 draw against Belgium, which secured them second place in the group. Morocco finished first.

Croatia beat Japan on penalties in the round of 16 and did the same against five-time world champions Brazil in the quarter-final. Croatia lost to Argentina 0-3 in the semi-final earlier this week, who will go on to play France in the final on Sunday. 

Morocco finished at the top of Group F, defeated Belgium and Canada, then eliminated Spain in the round of 16 on penalties and beat Portugal in the quarter-final. They then lost to France in the semi-final on Wednesday. Morocco is thus in a similar situation to Croatia's 'Bronze Generation' at the 1998 World Cup. They wanted the bronze medal to put their country and Africa on the football map. 

Croatia was playing for a lot, too. Not only would the bronze medal be a brilliant feat after finishing second at the World Cup four years ago, but they had the chance to achieve the same success as the 'Bronze Generation,' which many national team players remember well. 

Some 40,000 Morocco fans were expected compared to a few thousand Croatia fans tonight, but if we know anything about Croatia, small numbers make no difference. 




Match report

Croatia kicked off first and thus attacked first. Livaja nutmegged the Morocco defense to Majer, who couldn't get to the ball quick enough. Orsic played it into the box a minute later and an almost fatal mistal by Bono, fortunately, went out for a Croatia corner. 

Keep in mind Croatia was playing with a very offensive lineup, which we witnessed already in the first few minutes. 

Croatia was awarded a free-kick outside the box in the 6th minute. Modric faked the kick, and Majer played to Perisic's head, who flicked it to Gvardiol for 1-0 Croatia in the 7th minute! 

But a free kick for Morocco in the next play evened the result. Majer tried clearing the kick with his head which went to Dari for 1-1 in the 9th minute!

Stanisic had a shot in the 14th minute, which went over the goal. 

Croatia had another corner in the 16th minute and another chance at goal in the 18th minute from Kramaric's head. 

A great chance for Croatia in the 24th minute. Luka shot with his left foot, which the keeper struggled to save. 

Majer launched the ball from a free-kick in the 26th minute, which Perisic header over the goal. 

Morocco had an excellent chance in the 29th minute. Hakimi beat the Croatia defense up the right and sent the ball across the box. Luckily no Morocco player could get there in time. 

A dangerous free-kick for Morocco in the 35th minute. And then two Morocco corners in the next play. But it ultimately ended with a goal kick. 

Ziyech's shot in the 40th minute was hit near post but went out for a Croatia goal kick. 

And finally, Croatia's next goal came. Stanisic played Majer, and Majer played Livaja, who laid the ball off to Orsic to score for 2-1 in the 42nd minute. 

Two minutes of stoppage time were added to the first half. The first half ended with 59% possession for Croatia and 41% for Morocco. 

The second half started without any changes for Croatia. Abdelhamid Sabiri went out for Ilias Chair. 

Orsic nailed the near post net in the 47th minute. A Croatia corner followed. And another. 

Stanisic brilliantly dribbled up the right wing and switched sides to Majer, who crossed back into the box. Livaja was in the penalty area, but the ball went off the Morocco defender. The ref mistakenly called for a Morocco goal kick. 

Croatia had another corner in the 53rd minute. 

Morocco subbed off Khannouss for Ounahi in the 56th minute. 

Kramaric was subbed in tears from an injury in the 60th minute. Vlasic was brought on as Croatia's first sub.

Morocco brought on Sofiane Boufal for Anass Zaroury and Badr Benoun for Dari in the 64th minute. 

Petkovic was brought on for Livaja and Pasalic for Majer in the 66th minute. 

And the Morocco players began dropping from injury. El Yamiq came off for Amallah a minute later. 

Ounahi was shown a yellow card in the 69th minute. 

Vlasic's shot in the 71st minute went over the goal. 

Gvardiol's heel was clipped in the 76th minute, causing Croatia to call for a penalty. The ref said to play on. After watching the replay, that was a harsh missed call for Croatia. 

Croatia was given a corner in the 82nd minute. Perisic called for the fans to make noise.

Amallah was shown a yellow card in the 85th minute and a mini brawl erupted on the pitch. It was Croatia's free kick. 

Orsic and Kovacic had a chance in the 87th minute. Kova's shot went far post and out for a goal kick. 

The ref added 6 minutes of stoppage time to the game. 

Livakovic was forced to make a few saves as Morocco pressured in the final minutes of the match. 

Dalic subbed off Orsic for Jakic. Morocco headed over the post for what could have been their equalizing goal. 

And there you have it - Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 to finish 3rd at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, just four years after they finished 2nd in Russia!!!

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

Friday, 16 December 2022

Dalić and Kovačić ahead of Morocco: "We Want to Win World Cup Bronze and Repeat 1998"

December 16, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić held Croatia's final pre-match day press conference at the Main Media Center in Qatar on Friday. Croatia and Morocco will fight for the World Cup bronze medal on Saturday at 6 pm local time. 

After Croatia lost to Argentina on Tuesday and Morocco lost to France on Wednesday, the two teams dropped out of the fight for the 2022 World Cup title. They will play the 3rd place play-off on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić addressed the press at the Main Media Center for the last time. 

Will Modrić play in Euro 2024?

"I hope that he will. How he lives for football and how he feels at 37, I think he will play for Croatia then, too," said Dalić. 

About the World Cup bronze medal match against Morocco 

"This is a big final for us. The fight for the medal. We have the most respect for Morocco, who had an incredible World Cup. I think they think the same as us and will play with the best they have like us. This is the game for third place in the world. This is a big final for two small nations," Dalić. 

"Of course, we were sad after the semi-final. We wanted to be in the final, but it didn't work out that way. But our focus is on the game tomorrow. It's a big game, and we want to bring home the bronze medal," said Kovačić.

How does this compare to the 'Bronze Generation' in 1998?

"1998 was the first medal for our country from our football team. This was the beginning of our success. This is slightly different as we have now won the silver medal, but we want to be 3rd after being 2nd in the world. Every medal for us is a big thing. We are a small country," said Dalić. 

"We all remember 1998. We all hoped that one day we would achieve the same thing. To have a chance to win a medal for the second time in 4 years is a huge thing. We will give everything we can to achieve that," said Kovačić. 

Are all players ready?

"This is our 7th game in a month; we played extra time twice. We have some injuries - Juranović, Brozović, and Gvardiol. We will see how the rest of the day goes. We only want to play the players that are 100% ready. We don't want to play players that have problems. It will be challenging for the players who can't play, but we need to do what is best for the team," said Dalić. 

"We want to return home with the bronze medal. We have a big welcome reception waiting for us. We can't wait to come home," said Kovačić. 

"Morocco reminds me of us four years ago. Tomorrow will be much tougher than the first game. We have so much respect for them and are blown away by what they have achieved here," said Dalić. "When you look at the teams they have eliminated and beaten, it is amazing."

"We have no idea what our team will be or do in four years. So we are only focusing on that bronze medal tomorrow," said Kovačić.  

And Croatia's future?

"Croatia has a very bright future. We needed some players from this current generation to stay with us to help the younger players transition into the national team," said Dalić. 

"The older players have shown just how much Croatia means to us and how much longer we want to keep playing for Croatia," said Kovačić. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Croatia and Morocco to Fight for 2022 World Cup Bronze Medal

December 14, 2022 - After Croatia lost to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, they will play the match for 3rd place on Saturday. After losing to France tonight, Croatia will fight Morocco for the 2022 World Cup bronze medal. 

It wasn't Croatia's night on Tuesday. A penalty that likely should have never been called disrupted Croatia's otherwise stunning football in the first 34 minutes of their semi-final match against Argentina. And that was all the Messi-led Argentina needed to come out and score another two goals to win 3-0, ending Croatia's World Cup final dreams. 

But not all hope is lost, and not only is Croatia still among the four best national teams in the world, but they have the chance to win their third World Cup medal since 1998. They fight for the bronze on Saturday at Khalifa Stadium in Qatar against Morocco. Recall, Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign against Morocco, drawing 0-0 in their first match of Group F at Al Bayt Stadium on November 23. 

France and Morocco met at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday night. France's first goal came early - in the 5th minute. A lapse in the Morocco defense was followed by a failed save from Bono. Hernandez was alone on the left to score for 1-0 France. 

But Morocco wasn't far from a goal, either, and managed to attack most of the first half. Their best chance was a bicycle kick by Jawad El Yamiq, which got caught between the post and Lloris' hands. The entire stadium was painted red for Morocco, and their fans did not stop with synchronized chants and songs the entire first half. 

Morocco was playing far more physically than they did against Croatia, and France was not having an easy time, especially with their chances on goal. 

Morocco tried dominating much of the second half, too but failed to capitalize on their chances at goal. France had a few good chances but nothing good enough to increase their lead. But their golden opportunity finally came in the 79th minute. An Mbappe masterclass in the penalty area found Kolo Muani alone on the far post to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes to go.  

Croatia will have no easy task going up against Morocco for the World Cup bronze medal. Khalifa Stadium will be dominated by Morocco fans, and after the display the team put on tonight, it will be a much different game than their World Cup opener almost one month ago. 

Croatia and Morocco will meet at 6 pm local time on Saturday, December 17. 

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

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Argentina Ends Croatia’s Hopes of 2022 World Cup Final (3-0)

December 13, 2022 - Argentina gained revenge on Croatia from the 2018 World Cup and won 3-0 for a spot in the 2022 World Cup final. Croatia will play the match for 3rd place on Saturday against the loser between France and Morocco in their semi-final tomorrow. 

The Croatia national team met Argentina in one of the biggest matches in Croatian football history - their second consecutive World Cup semi-final. The two teams met at Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday night. 

The last time the two teams met was four years ago. Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 in the group phase of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Croatia thus finished first in their group and Argentina in second. 

Croatia finished 2nd in their 2022 World Cup group after drawing 0-0 against Morocco in the first round, beating Canada 4-1 in the second round, and drawing 0-0 against Belgium, which was enough for the round of 16. Croatia beat Japan on penalties in their last-16 tie and knocked out favorites Brazil on penalties in the quarter-final. 

The winner tonight would play in the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday. Both teams had everything to play for - Croatia for Modrić and Argentina for Messi.

Tonight's match was refereed by Italian Daniele Orsato. 


Argentina - Martinez - Molina - Romero - Otamendi - Tagliafico - De Paul - Fernandez - Paredes - Mac Allister - Messi - Alvarez

Croatia - Livaković - Sosa - Gvardiol - Lovren - Juranović - Brozović - Kovačić - Modrić - Perišić - Pašalić - Kramarić

Match report

Croatia had the kickoff and the first possession of the match. Croatia calmly maintained that possession in the first 10 minutes, with one ball into the box from Perisic in the 5th minute. 

Croatia played quick one-twos up the pitch, creating space around the Argentina players. Modric fouled Mac Allister in the 13th minute on an Argentina attack. 

Lovren played a long ball to Pasalic in the 14th minute, which forced Argentina's defense to kick it out for a throw-in. A brilliant play up the right wing with Juranovic and Modric forced the ball out for Croatia's first corner in the 16th minute. 

Croatia was winning the most balls in contest compared to Argentina by the 18th minute. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick after Kovacic was fouled in the 19th minute. 

A dangerous attack by Argentina in the 22nd minute, fortunately, went out for a Croatia goal kick. 

Another Argentina attack in the 25th minute was cleared by Sosa, and Livakovic was forced to make his first save seconds later. 

A quick Croatia counter and a stunning move by Kovacic gave Croatia a foul outside of the box in the 27th minute. 

A quick Argentina counterattack followed, which Luka headed out for an Argentina throw-in. 

A Modric nutmeg on the right wing gave Croatia another brilliant attack. Perisic shot on goal but hit just over the crossbar. 

Another Argentina counterattack resulted in a penalty. Kovacic and Livakovic were both shown yellow cards. Messi scored for 1-0 Argentina in the 34th minute. 

Croatia won another corner in the 37th minute. Luka played it short, and Brozovic's cross was deflected off an Argentina player for another quick counter. Sosa failed to clear the ball properly in the penalty area, and Livakovic committed early. Alvarez turned it into a goal. Argentina was up 2-0 in the 39th minute. 

Argentina won a corner in the 42nd minute, which nearly went in for another goal. Livakovic punched out the ball after another close call for an Argentina throw-in. 

Croatia's best chance at goal was in the 45th minute. Luka's shot deflected off Argentina, and he played it to Juranovic, who sent the ball near post. 

The ref added four minutes of stoppage time. 

The first half ended 2-0 for Argentina. Croatia had 62% of possession in the first half but got caught on Argentina's quick counterattacks, resulting in two goals. 

Dalic made two subs at halftime. Sosa was subbed off for Orsic and Pasalic for Vlasic. 

A foul on Vlasic in the 47th minute was awarded to Croatia just outside the box. Modric sent the ball in but Martinez saved it. 

Dalic subbed off Brozovic for Petkovic in the 50th minute. Croatia was getting knocked off the ball but winning it back. Croatia had a good attack in the 53rd minute, but Petkovic failed to shoot when he should. Vlasic sent the ball into the box, but it went into Argentina's possession. 

Livakovic made an incredible save off a Messi shot in the 58th minute. 

Another free kick for Croatia was awarded on the left sideline in Argentina's half. Argentina subbed off Paredes for Martinez. 

Another great chance for Croatia came in the next minute, forcing Martinez to make a quick save in goal. 

Alvarez fouled Modric on a Croatia counterattack. Romero received a yellow card in the 68th minute. 

Messi was at his best in the 69th minute, outdribbling Gvardiol down the right, setting it up for Alvarez in the penalty area, who scored for 3-0 Argentina. 

Kramaric was subbed off for Livaja in the 72nd minute. 

A free kick for Croatia in the 73rd minute was taken by Perisic. It wasn't an easy save for Martinez. 

Argentina started making subs in the 74th minute. Alvarez for Dybala, and Palacios for De Paul. 

Orsic tried shooting far post in the 77th minute, but it went wide of the goal. This Croatia team just didn't have it today. 

Luka Modric was subbed off for Lovro Majer in the 81st minute. Dalic was trying to give the bench as much playing time as possible - it was the World Cup semi-final, after all. 

Messi missed an open chance in the 83rd minute.

Another chance for Croatia in the 85th minute was played out by the Argentina defense for a Croatia corner. Perisic flicked it back to Lovren, who missed an open goal. 

Majer had a good shot on goal in the 89th minute, which deflected into the hands of Martinez. 

The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia was given a corner in the first minute of stoppage time, which Majer hit into the Argentina defense. 

Kovacic shot with his let foot to end the match. Argentina will be going to the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday and Croatia will play the match for 3rd place on Satuday. 

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

Friday, 9 December 2022

Croatia Beats Brazil on Penalties for 2022 World Cup Semi-final!!!

December 9, 2022 - WHAT A MATCH! Croatia beats Brazil on penalties for the 2022 World Cup semi-final!

Croatia and Brazil met at Education City Stadium in the first 2022 World Cup quarter-final on Friday, December 9, at 6 pm local time. 

Croatia beat Japan on penalties in the round of 16 match on Monday. Croatia's hero was Dominik Livaković, who saved three penalties to send Croatia into the quarter-final. 

Croatia has played Brazil four times, recording three defeats and one draw. The last time Brazil and Croatia met was in June 2018 as part of their World Cup preparations.

While Croatia has not lost in a World Cup quarter-final, Brazil was knocked out by European teams in the quarter-final in 2006, 2010, and 2018. 


Croatia: Livaković – Juranović. Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa – Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić – Pašalić, Kramarić, Perišić

Alisson - Militao, Marquinos, T. Silva, Danilo - Casemiro - Raphinha, Paqueta, Neymar, Vinicius - Richarlison

Match report 

Croatia won the coin toss to kick off first. Croatia had their first free kick in the 3rd minute when Kovacic was fouled. Vinicius tried shooting in the 5th minute, which was an easy save for Livakovic. 

Croatia did well in keeping possession in the first 10 minutes, with the defense clearing any dangerous attacks. 

Croatia's first chance at goal came in the 12th minute. Juranovic made an incredible run into the middle and played Pasalic on the wing, who crossed into the box. Kovacic and Perisic both missed the cross. 

Croatia's first corner came in the 14th minute. It was cleared by the Brazil defense, but Croatia won back the ball. Modric crossed into the box, but Brazil cleared it out again. 

Croatia denied Brazil too much space. Brazil tried attacking again in the 20th minute, which was blocked by the Croatia defense. Neymar hit a light shot on goal to Livakovic. 

Casemiro shot on goal in the 22nd minute, which was deflected off the Croatia defense for Brazil's first corner. 

A seriously ugly play by Danilo on Juranovic in the 25th minute. Danilo's high kick with cleats up at Juranovic's head gave Croatia a free-kick right outside the box. Brazil's defense cleared the play. 

A questionable call for Brazil in the 28th minute awarded them a free kick, cleared by the Croatia defense. 

Brozovic was shown a yellow card in the 30th minute. 

Croatia played stunning football for the next 5 minutes, maintaining possession and calming down the play. 

Brazil regained possession in the next 5 minutes but was unable to create any dangerous attacks for a goal. But the ref awarded Brazil a free kick outside the box after a soft foul on Vinicius. Neymar's shot on goal luckily deflected and went into Livakovic's hands. 

The ref added one minute of stoppage time. The first half ended 0-0 with 48% possession for Croatia. 

The second start started without any changes on either side. 

Gvardiol saved the day yet again on a nearly open chance for Brazil in the 47th minute. A penalty check for Brazil held the game up slightly in the next minute, which was ultimately called offside for Croatia's ball. 

Croatia's first corner of the second half came in the 49th minute. Kramaric was called offside. 

Juranovic intercepted the ball in the 53rd minute and carried the ball into Brazil's half. He played the ball to Perisic on the other side of the pitch who was just off finding Pasalic's head for the goal. 

Livakovic brilliantly saved Neymar's shot on goal in the 55th minute. 

Brail subbed off Raphina for Antony in the 55th minute.

Croatia was dangerous in the 58th minute and stopped a quick Brazil counterattack. 

Brazil subbed off Vinicius for Rodrygo in the 64th minute. 

Brozovic fouled Neymar in the 65th minute and needed to be careful about getting a second yellow. 

Livakovic - Croatia's lifesaver - saved another dangerous Brazil shot on goal. 

Casemiro was shown a yellow card for fouling Kramaric in the 68th minute. 

Kramaric was subbed off for Petkovic and Vlasic or Pasalic in the 72nd minute. 

Livakovic again saved a quick Brazil counterattack, which went out for a Brazil corner. 

By the 80th minute, Brazil had a few more scary chances, cleared by Livakovic and Croatia's defense. 

Richarlison was subbed off for Pedro in the 84th minute. 

Croatia's defense was brilliant in the block on Brazil's counterattacks. 

The ref added 4 minutes of extra time. 

Brazil had a corner in the 91st minute, cleared by the Croatia defense. 

The match ended 0-0 and went into extra time.  

Croatia, the kings of extra time at the World Cup - could they do it?

Brazil had a corner in their first attack, which went out for Croatia's ball. 

Croatia was closing them off in any attack, and Croatia was trying to keep possession. 

Croatia had a brilliant attack in the 102nd minute when Petkvovic held the ball up top before playing it to Brozovic. Brozovic was alone at the top of the box and shot over the goal. 

One minute of stoppage time was added to the first half. 

But Neymar found the back of the net. Livakovic committed too early to Neymar, who scored for 1-0 Brazil in the final seconds of the first half. 

Majer was subbed on for Kovacic to start the second half of extra time. 

Perisic played two brilliant balls into the box, which were too strong for Croatia's attack. 

Croatia had a corner in the 109th minute. Croatia subbed on Budimir for Sosa in the same minute. 

Orsic came on for Brozovic in the 114th minute. 

Brazil had a corner in the 114th minute and then a free kick outside the box seconds later. 

But this Croatia came out to play. And a stunning Orisic-Perisic play saw Croatia equalize in the 117th minute!!!!! Petkovic found the back of the net. It was 1-1 with a few minutes before penalties!!!

Majer had a brilliant shot on goal in the 119th minute. Two minutes of stoppage time were added. 

Croatia cleared Brazil's last dangerous free kick. Livakovic was absolutely brilliant again. What a keeper. 

And the match went into penalties. 

Vlasic was up first for Croatia and scored for 1-0 Croatia!

Livakovic saved Brazil's first penalty!!!!!! The king! 

Majer scored Croatia's next penalty for 2-0 Croatia!!!

Casemiro scored Brazil's next penalty - 2-1. 

Luka Modric scored Croatia's next pen for 3-1!!!! 

Pedro scored for 3-2. 

Orsic scored for 4-2 Croatia!!!!!

And Brazil missed their final penalty!!!!! Croatia is in the SEMIFINAL!!!!!

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

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Dalić and Modrić ahead of World Cup Quarter-final against Brazil: "We Want More"

December 8, 2022 - Croatia and Brazil will meet in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final on Friday at Education City Stadium. Kick-off is at 6 pm local tie or 4 pm Croatia time.

The Croatia national football team will face the biggest test at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Friday - the quarter-final match against Brazil.

Brazil is the favorite to win the World Cup, which would be their sixth title in history and first in the last 20 years. They played brilliantly in their last-16 tie against South Korea, winning 4-1, while Croatia struggled against Japan, advancing only after penalties. 

At the last press conference before the match, coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić expressed their thoughts.

"I think we did a very big thing by reaching the quarter-final, but regardless, I want more. We know that perhaps the biggest game of the tournament awaits us against one of the biggest favorites. They are always the favorites, but at this World Cup they are rightfully so. We have to be real, give our best, and play our best game and then we have a chance. If we just settle for being there, then it will be difficult, but we believe in our strength, and that is how we will position ourselves on the pitch tomorrow," said Modrić.

Are all the players ready, and will there be any changes?

"There was not much time for preparation, and today we will train and prepare. Sosa trained, we won't make many changes. Placing among the eight with an almost new national team is a great success. But we will play fair, try to fight for something better," said Dalić.

Can Luka's knowledge of Casemiro and Vinicius help Croatia?

"Vini is a great guy, we have a great relationship, he is in incredible shape, and since he came to Real, he has improved greatly. Tomorrow we have a difficult task to stop him. I will surely help my teammates with details on how to neutralize him more easily. Everyone is fighting for himself and their country." 

Which of Croatia's past matches will the game against Brazil be most similar to?

"This will be the most demanding match for us. Maybe we would compare it to the final in Moscow against France if we were to compare. Out of 11 games at two World Cups, we did well in ten and only lost to France. Croatia is the only smaller country that, after success at one World Cup, repeated it at another, maybe the only one in history that immediately after the final made it to the top eight at the next World Cup," says Dalić.

"I agree with the coach, the final against France is similar to tomorrow's match, that's the ranking," Modrić continued.

What does Dalić think about Brazil's dancing after scoring?

"That makes them happy; they have their nature and character, and they have the right to that. It is their nation, and it looks beautiful."

Does Dalić think that this is a stronger Croatia team than from 2018?

"This is a new national team with 18 new players who did not play then, and it cannot be compared. That generation played together for ten years; those players played in the world's biggest clubs. This team is different, we need time, but they are lucky to have the remaining six from Russia with whom they can grow. These guys still have many games to prove themselves, but they have potential and quality."

What is the key to tomorrow?

"We played against Brazil several times and haven't beaten them yet, but I hope this tradition will change. Brazil has phenomenal players in all positions, so we will have to be very aggressive, run at the right level, not let them play; that will be very important," says Modrić.

Did Modrić watch Brazil's loss to Cameroon?

"I didn't have the chance to watch the match between Brazil and Cameroon, but Brazil did not play with the strongest team in that match. Of course, this is not a benchmark, but it certainly indicates that they can be defeated."

Does Croatia expect another extra time finish on Friday?

"If it comes to that, that last match with Japan gave us great confidence. Each match is for itself, we will see what will happen, but we are ready for anything."

How would Dalić compare Croatia's game against Argentina in 2018 and against Brazil tomorrow?

"Maybe they are similar games, but then we had Argentina in the group stage, and this is the knockout round. Of course, we will apply a similar recipe to narrow down the space for Neymar, but I think he has better support from his teammates than Messi did four years ago."

Do they consider Brazil a big favorite in tomorrow's game?

"They always favor big teams, but we have shown many times that the favorites don't always win. We appreciate every national team and their qualities, but we also appreciate ourselves," Modrić replied.

Did Croatia learn from Serbia's defeat to Brazil?

"We watched that match. Serbia played great for an hour, but they got nervous when some situations started. Until Brazil scored, the game was almost even. Brazil played after the goal, and Serbia could not follow that rhythm and fell. We must not do that; we must be disciplined and return to our formation. Serbia played well until they conceded a goal, said Dalić.

Will Modrić continue playing for Croatia?

"I can repeat that I don't think about the future. We'll see how long I'll be around. I am concentrating on this World Cup; there will be time to consider the future. I don't have a tactic for rejuvenation like there was for growth. If you have it, let me know," Luka jokingly replied to the journalist.

What can we expect from Croatia tomorrow?

"We play the way we play; sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good. But we always do our best. We will see what Croatia will be like tomorrow. We are ready, we will give our best, and I believe we can do a great thing," says Modrić.

Journalists also asked Luka to comment on the strength of Brazil and Argentina.

"These are giants of world football, two world teams with many great players. I enjoy watching them; playing against such teams is a pleasure. Playing against them is a holiday for football and something everyone wants, especially in big competitions like the World Cup."

Brazil is dangerous from all sides.

"Brazil is the best team at this World Cup, faster, more energetic, and more diverse than others, and they can come from all sides. They use all the templates; you don't know where the danger comes from. We have no chance if we give them too much space and time. We want to try to get the ball. We must position ourselves well, not fall out of the system and block, and constantly play as a team. It is important not to give them space because it is difficult when they receive the ball."

Why did Dalić replace Modrić so early in the match against Japan?

"It wasn't early; it was the 100th minute. We talked, me and Luka always agreed; I didn't decide on my own. We ran a lot, I had to refresh the team, and I had to make substitutions. We passed, and it turned out well. Luka will always play as long as he can. That's why Luka will be more rested tomorrow than if he had played 120 minutes," Dalić believes.

Tomorrow Modrić is playing against many Real Madrid teammates.

"I am looking forward to playing against former and current teammates. Of course, we will be friends before and after the game, but everyone is fighting for their country and for themselves on the field."

How will coach Dalić motivate the players?

"You don't need a bigger motive than the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil. I'm sure these guys dreamed of such matches. We don't have much to lose; we must fight back as best we can. We have already achieved great success but want more, although we would prefer to play them in the final."

Does Modrić miss Rakitić in the midfield?

"Unfortunately, Ivan is not with us, but Mateo is here, who replaced him very well. So we are good again, maybe not as in Russia, but we have an excellent team."

How is Croatia so successful in sports with less than four million inhabitants?

"Croatia is very talented; we have talents in all sports, not only in football. I don't have a particular explanation. We love sports; talents are born, and good work is done in football schools, where a lot of work is done with children. We are a talented nation; it's hard for me to say why that is," concluded captain Modrić. 

Source: HRT

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

FIFA Disciplinary Committee Confirms Croatia's Fine for Fan Taunts at Milan Borjan

December 7, 2022 - The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has confirmed Croatia's fine for fan taunts at Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan in their second-round Group F match at the World Cup on November 27, 2022. 

The disciplinary committee of the International Football Federation (FIFA) fined the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) 50,000 Swiss francs for the behavior of some fans at the 2022 World Cup match against Canada in Qatar.

During the match, some Croatia fans insulted the Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who has Serbian roots and had previously made inappropriate statements about the Homeland War and being born in Krajina, not Croatia, back in 1987. A poster with offensive content referencing his leaving Croatia also appeared in the stands.

"The Croatian Football Federation was fined 50,000 Swiss francs for violating Article 16 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (use of words and objects to convey a message that is not appropriate for a sporting event) in connection with the behavior of Croatia fans during the match against Canada," FIFA announced.

The Football Federations of Serbia and Saudi Arabia were also fined.

Serbia was fined 20,000 Swiss francs for "violations of Article 11 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and Article 4 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Regulations about the flag displayed in the dressing room after the match against Brazil," they said.

Namely, after the match against Brazil, a flag was hung in Serbia's dressing room with a map of Kosovo painted in the colors of the Serbian flag, with the slogan: "No surrender."

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has been fined 15,000 Swiss francs twice for misconduct by players who earned six yellow cards during matches against Argentina and Mexico.

Source: HRT

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

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."


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 

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 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 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 Advances to 2022 World Cup Round of 16!

December 1, 2022 - Croatia and Belgium finished 0-0 at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Thursday night, which was enough for Croatia to advance to the 2022 World Cup round of 16!

Croatia and Belgium met at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Thursday, December 1, for their final Group F match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

The Croatia national team enters the last round with 4 points: 1 point for drawing against Morocco and 3 points after defeating Canada 4-1. Belgium, on the other hand, had only 3 points going into the final round. While they narrowly beat Canada, they suffered a shocking defeat to Morocco (0-2). 

Belgium needed a win to advance to the round of 16, while Croatia would be safe with a draw. Croatia losing would seriously complicate their chances of moving forward and would depend on the result between Morocco and Canada in the other Group F match. 

There has been a lot of talk about the crisis in the Belgium camp as one of the world's top national teams struggles to find its rhythm. Are they motivated enough by the noise to prove everyone wrong against Croatia?


Croatia: Livaković; Juranović, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić; Kramarić, Perišić, Livaja

Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Meunier, Castagne, Witsel, Dendoncker, De Bruyne, Carrasco, Trossard, Mertens

Match report 

Seconds after the whistle to start the match, Perisic hit a rocket at Belgium's goal, which went wide. Croatia was dangerous in the next few plays and got the ball into the penalty area. 

Carrasco threatened in the 3rd minute, but Croatia's defense cleared any potential danger. 

Croatia looked calm as they played one-twos up the midfield, working their way into Belgium's box. 

Belgium picked up their game and looked for holes in the Croatia defense to play through to Carrasco. There was a close encounter in the 11th minute when he shot near post, but it was brilliantly kicked out by Livakovic for a Belgium corner. 

A quick counter for Belgium in the 12th minute saw De Bruyne take the ball up into Croatia's half, finding Mertens alone on the left wing. Fortunately, Mertens shot high over the goal. 

Modric took a free kick in the 14th minute. The ball made it into the penalty area and the play ultimately resulted in Kramaic falling to the ground. The ref immediately called for a penalty. After consulting VAR, the penalty was recalled due to offside. 

Croatia looked better than Belgium in the first 20 minutes of the match. They quickly found their rhythm, was first to every ball and put pressure on the defense. They only had to watch out for quick Belgium counterattacks thus far. 

Croatia was awarded a corner in the 26th minute, which was cleared by the Belgium defense. 

Belgium spent a few minutes in Croatia's half, unable to produce anything dangerous enough for a goal. Croatia was composed with short passes up the pitch to regain possession.

Sosa worked his way up the left wing and found Brozovic alone at the top of the box, who took one touch too many before shooting. Livaja tried with his head but went over the goal.

Up until now, Belgium struggled to connect passes or crosses. However, Belgium regained possession in the last 5 minutes of the first half and began to control the game. Mertens had a chance in the 43rd minute, and De Bruyne tried crossing into the penalty area in the next play, which was saved by Livakovic.

Kramaric found Sosa in Croatia's next attack, which he shot over the goal. 

Lukaku was warming up to go in for the second half. The referee announced four minutes of additional time. Juranovic closed out the half with a volley on goal.

The first half ended 0-0. The other Group F match between Canada - Morocco ended 1-2 at the half. 

The first half ended with 46% possession for Croatia and 53% for Belgium. Both teams had 5 shots on goal, 0 on target, and 1 corner kick. 

The second half started with no substitutions for Croatia. Lukaku replaced Martens for Belgium. 

Belgium had a dangerous chance in the 48th minute, which Gvardiol cleared for a corner. The ball ultimately found Lukaku's head and ended in Livakovic's hands. 

Croatia had an excellent chance in the 50th minute. Gvardiok received the ball at the top of the box, faked the defense, and found Kovacic, whose shot skimmed off Courtois' fingers for a corner. 

Croatia had another great chance three minutes later. Brozovic picked up the pass on the edge of the penalty area and shot directly at Courtois. Modric did the same moments later. 

Trossard came off for Thorgen Hazard in the 58th minute. 

The most dangerous chance of the match came in the 60th minute. De Bruyne brilliantly played Carrasco. The Croatia defense tried clearing the play before the ball found Lukaku. His shot rocked the post. 

Croatia made their first substitutions in the 64th minute - Petkovic came on for Livaja and Pasalic for Kramaric.

Croatia threatened again in the 67th minute. Modrić received a great cross from the penalty area. He shot sharply to the right side of the goal, but Courtois made a great save. 

In the 72nd minute, Leander Dendoncker came off for Youri Tielemans and Yannick Carrasco for Jeremy Doku. 

The match attendance was announced in the 76th minute - 43,984. 

Ivan Perisic dribbled through Belgium's defense but failed to get a shot off in time. The ball was cleared by the Belgium defense and ended up in Croatia's box and ultimately out a Belgium corner. Croatia got lucky. 

Croatia had a few chances in the next few minutes. Juranovic got the ball into the box, and Petkovic played Broz into the penalty area. Broz just missed the ball. 

But another dangerous attempt from Belgium followed, with Lukaku just missing the goal. 

Eden Hazard came on in the 87th minute and was given the captain band from De Bruyne. 

A Belgium free kick in the 88th minute went into the hands of Livakovic. And another even more threatening play that Livakovic saved on the goal line. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the end of the match. 

Lovro Majer came on for Kovacic in the 90th miunte. 

It was a very tense last few minutes with everyone on the edge of their seat. But the minimum result we needed, we got. Croatia and Belgium finished 0-0, which was enough for Croatia to advance to the last 16! 

Luka Modric was awarded the man of the match. 

Group F crosses over with Group E. The final group E matches are played later tonight, when Croatia will learn its opponent. 

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

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