Sunday, 27 November 2022

Kramarić, Livaja, and Majer Bring Croatia Crucial World Cup Win against Canada (4-1)

November 27, 2022 - With two goals from Andrej Kramaric and one each from Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer, Croatia topped Canada 4-1 in their second 2022 World Cup match on Sunday at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar. 

After drawing 0-0 against Morocco, expectations were high for Croatia to get a good result against Canada. The two teams met at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Sunday, November 27, at 19:00 local time. Canada lost their 2022 World Cup opener against Belgium 0-1. 

But the group got a lot more interesting an hour before Croatia and Canada met. Morocco defeated Belgium 2-0. 

This means that Morocco will have enough points to qualify for the last 16 in their last round against Canada.

Croatia's fate largely depends on the result against Canada tonight. If Croatia wins, they also need a point in the last round against Belgium. And if they lose? Only a win is good enough in the last round.

Even if Croatia lost to Canada, there is still some hope. A win against Belgium would bring them four points. In theory, Canada and Morocco can have that much, and the goal difference will decide. 

Recall, leading up to the match tonight, Canada coach John Herdman stirred the pot by saying, 'eff Croatia.' You can read Dalić's response and plan for Croatia in the press conference roundup yesterday. 

Lineups

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

Canada: Borjan, Miller, Vitoria, Johnston, Davies, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Laryea, Buchanan, Larin, David

Match report

The match couldn't have started with a bigger wake-up call for Croatia. Tajon Buchanan crossed into the penalty area in Canada's first attack, in the first minute of the match. The ball found Alphonso Davies, who found a hole in the Croatia defense to head the ball in for 0-1 Canada.  

Croatia attacked in the 6th minute, with Kramaric crossing into the penalty area at the Canada keeper.  

Another dangerous Canada attack saw Larin 1-on-1 with Livakovic. Luckily he was called offside. 

Perisic attacked up the left wing in the 10th minute and forced the ball out for a corner. Modric played short. The ball ultimately went out for a Croatia throw-in. 

Croatia started to find their rhythm in the 16th minute with quick passes through the midfield. Sosa crossed into the box in the 17th minute, forcing the Canada keeper to punch the ball out. Juranovic played it back in, but the ball finished in the hands of the Canada keeper. 

A Canada corner in the 19th minute was fortunately cleared by Gvardiol. Croatia looked tired, and it was only the 21st minute. 

Kovacic played a brilliant ball to Livaja in the penalty area, which was just slightly too quick to get a shot off. 

Canada was looking dangerous, and their quick legs were running circles around Croatia. 

Croatia finally looked like they had a chance to score in the 26th minute. Croatia's midfield moved the ball up the pitch to Livaja, who played through to Kramaric to score. Kramaric's goal was called offside. 

Lovren fouled Davies outside of the box in the 30th minute, giving Canada a dangerous free kick. 

Croatia attacked well from the 30th minute. Livaja got a shot off in the 35th, which the keeper pushed out for a corner.

But Croatia's chance finally came. Perisic nutmegged Johnson on the left wing to find Kramaric. Krama shot far post for the equalizing goal in the 36th minute! 

Croatia picked up their game until the end of the half. And Hajduk Split's Marko Livaja was the hero for Croatia this time. The striker beat the keeper and found the back of the net in the 44th minute for 2-1! Marko Livaja is the first Hajduk player to score for Croatia at the World Cup. 

Five minutes of additional time were added. Croatia had a corner to finish the first half, which ended 2-1. Croatia had five attempts on goal, 4 shots on target, and 3 corner kicks in the first half. 

The second half started without any changes for Croatia. Stephen Eustaquio subbed off for Ismael Kone, and Cyle Larin subbed off for Jonathan Osorio (Canada). 

Canada had a dangerous chance in the 48th minute. Fresh-legged Osorio just missed the goal. 

Croatia almost found the back of the next again in the 50th minute. Kovacic attacked up the midfield and played Krama on the right wing. Krama crossed it over the box to Sosa. Sosa played it back into the box and just missed Perisic and Livaja in front of the goal.

And another Croatia chance in the 54th minute. Brozovic faked and played the ball through the right wing. Juranovic crossed it into the box, and Krama's shot was hit out for a corner by the keeper. 

Canada threatened again in the 55th minute and took their second corner of the match. The ball was cleared by Gvardiol. 

The Canada keeper nearly made a catastrophic mistake in the 57th minute, passing the ball straight to Perisic outside the box. Perisic crossed the ball back in, but it went straight to the keeper. 

Dalic made his first sub in the 60th minute. Goalscorer Livaja was subbed off for Dinamo's Bruno Petkovic. For Canada, Richie Laryea subbed off for Junior Hoilett. 

Canada was awarded a dangerous free kick just outside the box in the next play. Davies played into the Croatia wall. 

By the 67th minute, Croatia's experience was outclassing Canada. The defense was calm and collected and first to every ball, while Canada was making careless mistakes and misjudging passes. 

Big-tournament-player Andrej Kramaric wasn't done, either. Perisic crossed the ball from the left to find Krama in the box. Krama faked the Canada defense to score far post for 3-1 Croatia in the 70th minute!

Both teams made substitutions in the 73rd minute. Jonathan David went off for Lucas Cavallini, and Atiba Hutchinson went off for Sam Adekugbe. Dalic brought off Kramaric for Nikola Vlasic. 

Vlasic forced a Croatia corner in the next play. Perisic called to the Croatia fans in the crowd to make noise. 

Another Croatia chance in the 78th minute. Persic played around the Canada defense on the left wing. His shot was saved by the Canada keeper. The ball ultimately found Kovacic alone in the penalty area, who decided to play Vlasic instead of shooting. It could have easily been Croatia's 4th goal. 

Perisic tried shooting again in the 82nd minute but was wildly off target. 

Dalic made three more subs in the 86th minute. Perisic for Orsic, Modric for Pasalic, and Kovacic for Majer. 

Six minutes of stopped time were added. 

'Veceras je nasa festa' could be heard in the stands, and rightfully so, as we awaited yet another goal. A quick counter saw Orsic 1-on-1 with the Canada keeper and Majer to his left. Orsic played Majer in the box to make it 4-1 Croatia! 

The official attendance at the match was announced - 44,374. 

Croatia meets Belgium in their final Group F match on Thursday, December 1, at 6 pm local time. 

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

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Zlatko Dalić and Ivan Perišić ahead of Canada: "We Need to Show the Real Croatia"

November 26, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić and Ivan Perišić addressed the press before Croatia's 2022 World Cup match against Canada on Sunday. 

After drawing 0-0 against Morocco, expectations are high for Croatia to get a good result against Canada in their second match. The two teams meet at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Sunday, November 27, at 19:00 local time. Canada lost their 2022 World Cup opener against Belgium 0-1. 

After Canada's first match, coach John Herdman stirred the pot by saying, 'eff Croatia.'

"I told them they belong here, and we're going to go and eff Croatia. That's as simple as it gets," Herdman said. 

Dalić replied: 

"It's not really nice to say something like that, but it's his right. We need to show on the pitch that we are better."

Will there be any lineup changes compared to Morocco?

"We changed our training to the evening. This is a crucial game. We need to be aggressive. Canada played great against Belgium. Vlašić didn't train with us last night, so we will see the status at training tonight. We need to have a lot more energy than we had in the first game," said Dalić.

"For every national team, this is something new. We need to show a lot more in the next two games. We were not good offensively. We need to maintain what we did defensively and fix our offense. We have another training tonight. We need to show the real Croatia.  That last game wasn't us. We need to return to how we were in the Nations League," said Perišić. 

Will this be Perišić's last World Cup?

"The focus is on the next game. After that, what will be for the next 2-3 years, I don't know," said Perišić. 

On how the team was different four years ago in Russia

"Four years ago was different. Our starting lineup was together for ten years, playing for the biggest European clubs. It's not the same now. The teams are different and can't be compared. 6-7 players came from that generation. We have created a new team, but I want a result," said Dalić. 

Who will be the #9 for Croatia?

"I won't tell you the lineup or who will be the striker. We have four strikers; each plays in their way. For tomorrow we will choose the best we have. Four years ago, it was different. We have different player profiles now. We will choose the best we have for tomorrow," added Dalić. 

"Canada played aggressively against Belgium. They have a lot of energy and might. We need to be careful. Many of these 'smaller' national teams are surprising everyone. We cannot look at the past. This is all new. We are playing in the middle of the club season. We had no real break. This means anything can happen," he continued. 

"We watched Canada against Belgium. We need to be able to keep up with their speed and aggressiveness. They played well and did well against Belgium," said Perišić. 

How did the Croatia team respond to the Canada coach's comments?

"Croatia gives respect to everyone, no matter what, no matter who we play."

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

Thursday, 24 November 2022

2022 World Cup Impressions from a Croatian Female Football Journalist in Qatar

November 24, 2022 - The media has had a lot to say heading into the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but what’s it really like on the ground? TCN Sports Editor Daniela Rogulj shares her impressions as a Croatian female football journalist in Qatar. 

There has been a lot said going into this World Cup, and I won’t bore anyone by repeating it. Having read many articles before I departed for Doha on November 21, I, too, was a bit nervous. From the rules in Qatar to the FIFA organization, how would the world's biggest football tournament play out?

I will begin by saying this - Qatar has exceeded my expectations. 

I arrived at 4 am on November 22, unsure how I would begin the journey to my accommodation in The Pearl district of Doha, located north of Hamad Airport. The metro didn’t start running until 6 am, meaning two hours to kill at the airport were inevitable. After disembarking the plane, there was undoubtedly some anxiety surrounding customs and having the correct documentation (which I checked 100 times). But the journey from the plane, through passport control and customs, was a breeze. I was off the plane and through customs in 15 minutes, along with several other Croatia fans. 

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Once I made it into baggage claim, hundreds of football fans from all over the world arrived too, at 4 am, enthusiastically wearing the jerseys of their national teams. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an airport so full of life at 4 am, with so many people on the ground, ready to help anyone who needed assistance find the right transportation to their accommodation. Free SIM cards were also handed out at the airport to all fans, valid for three days. A wonderful gesture that everyone appreciated. 

And another wonderful gesture? All public transport is free during the World Cup, making it easy for fans to get around by simply showing their Hayya Card. 

The 6 am metro to Legtaifiya Station, where I needed to connect to get the bus to The Pearl, was perhaps the cleanest metro I’ve seen. And it was packed with football fans and Qatari locals heading to work. A wonderful mix of fan atmosphere and everyday local life during the world's biggest tournament. 

Arriving in The Pearl without WiFi and relying on a GPS location sent by FIFA for my apartment building was... not the easiest time. It was 7 am, getting warm, and I was being spun into circles trying to find the building. Fortunately, I was able to catch a few locals walking their dogs at 7 am, who happily helped and directed me as best they could. I ended up in the wrong building anyway. The wonderful receptionist at the building spent 45 minutes with me to find the right building, as did lovely security guards along the way. This was by far the most stressful part of my time here, and it has been smooth sailing ever since. 

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My Accommodation 

Is a dream. I booked through the official FIFA media accommodation. While not cheap ($265/night), I have an enormous one-bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment with a full kitchen, TV, and balcony hovering over the heart of The Pearl. The Pearl area is a luxurious artificial island on the coast, built on one of Qatar’s previous major pearl diving sites, as Qatar was once a major pearl trader. The Pearl resembles a string of pearls, and it’s an absolute gem sprinkled with high-rise apartment buildings, luxury brands, and bustling shops and restaurants. Not to mention that everything stays open until at least 2 am, including restaurants and markets. No matter the hour, everyone is out having a good time. 

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The Locals

I've encountered the loveliest locals, and I can't say enough about how incredible they have been. Everyone has been beyond eager to help, with a smile. No matter where I’ve gone, from public transport to coffee shops or supermarkets, I have felt welcomed. They have given up their seats for me on the metro, escorted me to my final destination, and shared their mobile phone hotspots when I didn’t have service. Overall, the locals are proud to show their country to the world, and their genuine hospitality so far has been second-to-none. I've made an effort to speak to as many as I can. 

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The Prices 

Well, The Pearl isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s also about knowing where to go, which took a few days. For example, a large iced coffee in a tourist area can cost you 6 EUR, while around the corner, you can find it for half the price. The Monoprix supermarket near my accommodation can be compared to Whole Foods, though you can go to the Spar market just a few minutes further instead. A 1.5-liter bottle of water is just over 1 EUR. Meals average around 40-60 QAR, or 10 to 15 EUR, depending on where you decide to eat. You also have a world of choices depending on your budget, from Nando’s to Burger King and Fatburger or much nicer international restaurants. The food options are endless. 

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Media Perks

Indeed my experience as media is different from a fan, and there are definitely perks. Like media transport from my accommodation to the main media center. From there, I pick up a media shuttle to the stadium. The buses run frequently, and you can catch one every 15 minutes ahead of games. After the match, you hop back onto the media transport to the main media center. The only downside? Some stadiums take over an hour to get to. Buses back to the accommodations run every 30 minutes after the match. My bus journey is a bit longer compared to others staying in more central Doha areas, but all buses have WiFi and are beyond comfortable. If I catch a match at 10 pm, I return to my accommodation around 2 am.

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Media also has more affordable prices at the main media center. For example, a water bottle and Americano iced coffee cost me just over 2 EUR the other day, while there is also an affordable fresh buffet and grab-n-go sandwich options. 

Pro tip: Uber is also ridiculously cheap in Qatar, and many journalists have also been using the app to get around if they don't want to rely on media transport. 

The Matches

A big bonus to having the World Cup in a small country like Qatar is its accessibility, allowing fans and media to see as many games as they can - or two a day! I've applied for 11 games while I am here or one a day, mainly to ensure I have time on the laptop to deal with other commitments. TCN photojournalist Slobodan Kadić is hopping around to two a day, getting the most out of this World Cup experience.

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The stadiums are also as high-tech as you've seen on TV. I have been to two stadiums so far - Al Janoub for France v. Australia and Al Bayt for Morocco v. Croatia. 

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The Heat

Perhaps the only downside thus far, and not because it’s brutally hot. It’s been a comfortable 28-29 degrees Celsius since I arrived, but that doesn’t stop everyone from blasting the air con as if we were in 40+ temperatures. This has been especially tough for European journalists (and apparently teams) who aren’t used to air conditioning. I’ve noticed many blowing their noses while asking bus drivers to switch off the air completely. I almost feel as if I’m back in the United States.

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The Clothing

I was initially quite nervous about this aspect after reading countless blogs about the appropriate attire in Qatar, especially considering the high temperatures. So I packed accordingly, with long trousers, light denim jeans, and linens as often as possible. All t-shirts also cover my shoulders to respect the rules in place. However, it's not as strict as it was made out to be. May fans and ex-pats have walked around in tank tops and shirts, mixing with locals dressed far more conservatively. I haven’t seen anyone asked to cover up yet, though I know stricter rules apply in different areas. 

The Booze & Nightlife

While I have yet to experience it, I have spoken to many others here for the tournament or who have been here setting up for the last month. There are several places to find international beverages, from hotels to some pubs, as well as music festivals and DJ events running until the early morning hours. It seems to be a lot easier than many thought. The official FIFA fan zones also sell beer. I will make it there eventually. 

And have I been treated any differently as a female journalist here?

Absolutely not, even though our male counterparts hugely outnumber us. 

Overall, my time in Qatar has been better than I imagined. Here’s to another exciting eight days and much more to come. 

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

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Croatia and Morocco Ends Without Goals in 2022 World Cup Opener at Al Bayt Stadium

November 23, 2022 - Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign at Al Bayt Stadium against Morocco on Wednesday. 

After an incredible run in 2018, where they finished as World Cup finalists, Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign four years later. Croatia and Morocco met on Wednesday at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar to kick things off. Croatia is in Group F, with Canada and Belgium up next in their group. 

Dalić and Modrić spoke to the media on Tuesday before the match. Dalić revealed he is satisfied with preparations, although lasting only a week as players gathered in the middle of the club season. Even with the short time together, Dalić said that Croatia is ready for the 2022 World Cup. 

TCN is on the ground in Qatar following Croatia in the group stage of the tournament. It was a balmy 27 degrees Celsius at Al Bayt Stadium, located north of Doha in Al Khor, Qatar. 

The starting lineups for today’s match are as follows:

Morocco: Bono - Hakimi, Aguer, Saiss, Mazraoui - Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi - Boufal, Ziyech, El-Nesyri

Croatia: Livaković - Juranović, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Vlašić, Kramarić, Perišić

Match report

Croatia possessed well in the first minute of the match and played out for a Morocco goal kick. There were howls from the Morocco fans in the stands every time Croatia touched the ball. 

Croatia's first corner came in the 5th minute of the match. Modric and Kovacic played it short, with Luka sending the ball into the box. Morocco ultimately cleared the ball, but it went back into Croatia's possession. 

Morocco had their first dangerous attack in the 7th minute. Croatia's defense cleared it and took back the ball. 

Another slight scare for Croatia happened in the 10th minute when Kovacic lost the ball in Croatia's half. Gvardiol was there to clear it out for a Morocco throw-in.

Hakimi shot in the 13th minute, but it deflected off Croatia's defense and into Livakovic's hands. 

Modric crossed the ball into the penalty area a minute later, with no one in front of the goal to receive it. 

Perisic capitalized on a nearly fatal Morocco mistake, shooting from about 30 meters out with the ball gliding just over the crossbar. 

Ziyech nailed a dangerous ball into the penalty area in the next Morocco attack, but it went out for a goal kick. 

Luka fouled Hakimi right outside the box in the 19th minute. The ref called for a Morocco free kick, which was, fortunately, drilled into Croatia's wall. 

Kramaric had a brilliant attack in the next play and sent the ball back into the center, which went out for Croatia's second corner. 

Morocco had another dangerous play in the 25th minute when En-Nesyri was found in the penalty area. Croatia was holding more possession of the ball, but Morocco was getting more chances at goal.

The stadium exploded into Morocco fan chats often, making this feel like a true home atmosphere for them. 

Brozovic had an impressive attack from the midfield and played Vlasic on the right wing, who had his back turned to the play.  

Another dangerous free kick for Morocco came in the 40th minute, outside the box on the right. Brozovic chested the ball to Modric, and it was ultimately cleared out for a throw-in. 

The match halted in the 42nd minute when Vlasic dropped onto the pitch, complaining of calf pain. After the medics came to assist him, Vlasic decided he could go on.  

Croatia's best chance came when a Perisic and Sosa combo found Vlasic at the top of the box in the first minute of stoppage time, resulting in a brilliant save by the Morocco keeper. Vlasic and Modric both had chances to end the first half.

The match ended 0:0 at halftime. 

The second half started with one sub for Croatia - Pasalic replaced Vlasic. There were no subs for the Morocco team. 

There were no real dangerous attacks in the first five minutes of the second half, and then things started getting interesting. 

Noussair Mazraoui headed the ball into Livakovic's hand. In the next attack, Modric played Juranovic, who crossed into the box. The ball went out for a Croatia corner. Morocco's keeper Bono brilliantly stopped Croatia from scoring, and the match stopped before Morocco could capitalize on a counter-attack as Bono and Mazraoui both called for medical assistance. Both players continued. 

Modric tried playing a long ball into the box in the 58th minute, but no teammates were to be found. Mazraoui was finally subbed off for Atiat-Allah. 

Morocco was awarded a free kick outside the box in the 63rd minute. Hakimi stepped up to take this one which was nailed at Livaovic's goal. Livi punched the shot out for a Morocco throw in. 

Morocco subbed off Boufal for Ezzazouli in the 65th minute. 

Luka intercepted the ball from the Morocco defense in the 66th minute. He and Kramaric tried moving into the box but were denied by the Morocco defense. 

Croatia held possession for the next few minutes, calmly passing around in an effort to tire out the Morocco side.

Kramaric was subbed off for Livaja in the 71st minute. 

Juranovic was fouled on the right wing for a free kick, Luak sent it in, and the ball was played out for a Croatia corner. The cross found Livaja, who chipped back into the box for another Croatia corner. The play ended in the hands of Bono. 

The commentator announced 59,407 fans in the stands for the game. 

Amrabat clipped Modric's back heel for a yellow card. 

Kovacic was subbed off for Majer in the 79th minute. A Morocco handball in Croatia's favor was called for a free kick near the right sideline moments later. Luka sent the ball into the box, which found Gvardiol's head, and went out for a goal kick. 

Morocco's coach entered fresh legs in the 81st minute in hopes of getting a goal. The Morocco fans grew even louder.

Juranovic was founded when running up the line for a Croatia free kick in the 87th minute. 

Perisic was subbed off for Orsic in the 90th minute. Six minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match. 

The match ended without goals (0-0). 

Croatia plays Canada next on Sunday, November 27. 

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

"We're Ready": Zlatko Dalić Satisfied ahead of Croatia's First World Cup Match

November 22, 2022 -  Croatia meets Morocco in their first match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press one day before the big game. 

Croatia's first 2022 World Cup match is on Wednesday against Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium. The teams meet at 13:00 local time. 

"There is no easy opponent here. We appreciate and respect Morocco, and we expect a tough match," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić ahead of the team's first World Cup match.

"We followed Saudi Arabia's win and Tunisia's draw. Everyone plays well, and surprises are possible. Therefore, we will enter with maximum respect," added Dalić. 

Croatia had only a week of preparations, but Dalić is satisfied with what was done.

"We used this time to get used to the conditions that awaited us. I am very satisfied. We are ready," Dalić said, revealing how he decided on the starting lineup. 

"We chose the highest quality in terms of energy and experience. We don't have any doubts anymore; the guys know the lineup. We have experience and energy, and we have a good mix. A challenging match awaits us. I believe we made the right choice," he said. "Livaja has also recovered and has no problems."

Dalić also spoke about Morocco's quality. 

"We analyzed them. They are a great team. They are well organized. They have great individuals in all positions. I don't want to comment on their decision to change the coach. Halilhodžić is an excellent coach, but that is their business."

According to the latest announcements, Morocco could play with a home atmosphere.

"I know that they will be particularly motivated and that they will have a lot of fans. We are careful and full of respect. We have to be at the maximum level."

Croatia arrived in Doha as the 2018 World Cup finalists and has a series of excellent results behind them. Dalić agreed that Croatia's rivals certainly look at them differently.

"We've had a lot of opponents, and they look at us better than before Russia. We are worthy; we are aware of it. However, we must be realistic and objective. The pressure is high, and the expectations are high. We will not fall into such a trap, and we will go one game at a time. I believe in this team."

Dalić pointed out that Croatia is one of the few in the world who has won two World Cup medals in the last 20 years.

"In the last 20 years, we have won two medals. And there should be commotion around us, but we are preparing in peace. Of course, the first game is important, a good start is important, but it is not crucial," said Dalić.

Modrić also commented on retiring from the national team.

"I haven't made a decision yet. I don't want it to be a topic at the World Cup. I'm here to enjoy and play a good tournament. We'll see how far we can go. We have faith in our abilities. If we play like before, we can do a lot. Tomorrow we have a tough match. I believe we can play well and hope for a favorable result", said Modrić.

Source: HRT and HNS

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

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Kramarić Scores in Croatia's 1-0 Friendly Win in Riyadh before World Cup

November 16, 2022 - Andrej Kramarić scores in Croatia's only friendly match ahead of the World Cup. Croatia beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Riyadh on Wednesday. 

In the only preparatory match before the World Cup in Qatar, the Croatia national team won 1-0 against Saudi Arabia. Andrej Kramarić brought the victory to Croatia with a great goal in the 82nd minute.

Coach Zlatko Dalić started this match with Croatia's reserves. As announced, Dalić chose a mixed lineup, mostly with players who will not start against Morocco next week. 

Croatia Lineup

Livaković, Stanišić, Lovren, Erlić, Barišić, Sučić, Brozović, Majer, Pašalić, Vlašić, Petković

Croatia looked rough in the first half and only had one shot on goal. Saudi Arabia proved to be a formidable opponent until the very end. Saudi Arabia had several attempts and even hit the post. On the other hand, Croatia was mainly invisible. At halftime, Dalić subbed off Vlašić and Sučić for Kovačić and Oršić. In the 58th minute, Lovren and Petković were subbed off for Vida and Kramarić. 

Kramarić scored in the 73rd minute, but it was called offside. Luka Modrić and Ivan Perišić entered the match only in the 65th minute. 

Croatia finally secured the victory in the final 10 minutes of the match. A great ball by Luka Modrić found Kramarić in the 82nd minute. He shot from about ten meters and hit the near post of the goal for the Croatia lead and ultimate win. Croatia had another goal disallowed after Ivan Perišić scored in the 87th minute. 

This was Croatia's fifth win in a row, coming off a successful Nations League campaign. 

Croatia's first World Cup match in Group F is against Morocco on Wednesday, November 23, at 11 am Croatia time. Croatia travels from Riyadh to Qatar tomorrow. 

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

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Zlatko Dalić Announces Final 2022 World Cup Croatia Squad

November 9, 2022 - The final 2022 World Cup Croatia squad was announced today. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić announced the final 2022 World Cup Croatia squad two weeks before Croatia's first match in Qatar. The final list of 26 players was announced at a press conference in Zagreb. 

Recall Hajduk goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić was not included in the wider list due to injury.

Goalkeepers Kotarski and Labrović, defenders Ćaleta-Car and Pongračić, midfielders Mišić and Ivanušec, and forwards Čolak and Brekalo were dropped from the final list and are not going to Qatar from the wider list. 

National teams can have between 23 and 26 players on the final list of players for the World Cup.

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) must submit the final list of players to FIFA on November 14. After that, it is possible to change players up to 24 hours before the first match in case of injury.

2022 World Cup Croatia Squad

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Ivo Grbić

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakić, Luka Sučić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja

Croatia plays their first match on Wednesday, November 23, at 11 am Croatia time against Morocco. On Sunday, November 27, Croatia meets Canada, and on Thursday, December 1, Croatia plays Belgium in their final Group F match. 

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

Thursday, 15 September 2022

2022 Croatia National Team Kits Presented ahead of Nations League and World Cup

September 15, 2022 - The 2022 Croatia national team kits have been presented ahead of Croatia's upcoming Nations League matches later this month. 

The Croatian Football Federation and technical partner Nike presented the new Croatia national team kits with the legendary checkers, which the 2018 World Cup finalists will wear for the first time in the upcoming Nations League matches in September, announced HNS

The redesigned red and white home jersey and the away jersey inspired by nature will be worn by captain Luka Modrić and his teammates at the World Cup in Qatar, where the team will try to repeat the magic from 2018.

The first kit is inspired by the 'vatreno srco' theme (burning heart), perfectly fitting the passionate, hardworking, and fiery character of the Croatian people and the national team. It is a redesigned and modernized version of the checkers that has become a globally recognized symbol of Croatian pride. Unevenly arranged, the well-known design is revamped, with the HNS coat of arms proudly shining in the center of the jersey, next to the blue Nike logo.

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The away jersey further refines the iconic checkers through Croatia's natural beauty and national pride; in this case, they are blurred and wavy lines combining dark blue and turquoise colors designed to resemble the tides of the Adriatic Sea, whose waves wash over the Croatian coast. The stylistic patterns of surnames and numbers on the jerseys are also in the spirit of Croatian history and tradition, given that they are inspired by the historical Croatian Glagolitic script.

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"I am extremely proud that I had the privilege of wearing the beautiful Croatian jersey the most times, and I am looking forward to the new kit that follows the recognizable tradition. Those magical red and white checkers make the Croatian jersey the most recognizable in the world, and the new design reminds me a little of 1998 and the legendary team who inspired my generation. I really like the attractive design and colors on the away jersey, and I'm sure it will be very popular among our fans," said Croatia captain Luka Modrić.

Nike's innovative Dri-FIT ADV technology was used to make the new jerseys. They are made of one hundred percent recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles, and their breathable material prevents excessive sweating and body heating.

Registered Nike customers can now buy the new collection on Nike.com, and it is also available for pre-order through the HNS webshop. In addition, the new Vatreni kit will be available in other authorized Nike stores from September 21.

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

Friday, 24 June 2022

New FIFA Rule Allows 26 Croatia Players at 2022 World Cup

June 24, 2022 - A new FIFA rule allows each national team to bring 26 players to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But which 26 Croatia players will coach Dalić choose?

FIFA has officially announced that coaches will be able to register 26 players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This is a rule for the first time in the World Cup's history. 

The national team coaches were divided. Some advocated a larger number of footballers; others opposed it because they hold that leading a group of 26 players makes it difficult to maintain a competitive stimulus and atmosphere for everyone. However, most of them are satisfied with the rule, especially those who, like Zlatko Dalić, may have doubts and face difficult decisions about who to write off.

Thus, the Croatia coach will have a surplus of candidates. FIFA will allow anyone who wants to have 23 players as the minimum number allowed. Although Dalić has yet to make an official statement, he will likely lead with 26 players, as he did for Euro 2020. 

“Given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the global calendar, as well as the wider context of the devastating effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on the team, it was decided:

- the maximum number of players on the preliminary list has been increased from 35 to 55,

- the number of players to be included in the final list has been increased to a minimum of 23 and a maximum of 26,

- the last day of matches at the club level will be the deadline for registration of 23 to 26 players who will make the final list, which is November 13, 2022,

- there will be 26 on the bench, of which 15 reserve players and 11 officials, one of whom must be a doctor."

The last provision is important because 23 players were allowed minutes at the Euros, meaning the coach had to send three players to the stands before each match. Now, all 26 will be on the record, so as many as 15 on the bench.

Zlatko Dalić has two Nations League games until the final selection. Logically, he will bring three goalkeepers - Livaković, Ivušić, and another, and 23 players - eight in defense, six each from the midfield and attacking line, and three as a bonus where he needs it.

In the defense, it is clear that Juranović, Gvardiol, Erlić, J. Šutalo, Sosa, and likely Barišić are safe; in the midfield, Modrić, Kovačić, Brozović, Majer, Pašalić, although he is a candidate for attack and very likely Jakić, and in the attack Perišić, Kramarić, Livaja and very likely Budimir and Brekalo. That is already 20 names to which the third goalkeeper should be added (L. Kalinić, Grbić, Labrović?). For the other five positions, strong candidates are Stanišić, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, though not all of them from the defense will be able to come, and Vlašić and Oršić. Sučić, Petković, Pongračić, Ivanušec, Musa, and Krovinović are also candidates.

Source: Sportske Novosti

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

Monday, 13 June 2022

Current Croatia National Team Jerseys Worn for Last Time, New Design Coming for 2022 World Cup

June 13, 2022 - The 4th round of the Nations League tonight in Paris marks the end of the current Croatia national team jerseys, as the away kit will be worn for the last time at Stade de France. The home kit was retired against France at Poljud last week, and new kits are expected for the 2022 World Cup. 

Another 2018 World Cup final rematch between France and Croatia takes place tonight in Paris at Stade de France as part of the Nations League 4th round, reports Gol.hr.

Apart from the fact that Croatia will be looking for its first victory against France in their 10th meeting, this match will also be remembered as the last time the Croatia national team away jersey will be worn ahead of its new design for the 2022 World Cup. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had already said goodbye to its current home kit - the classic red and white checkers - when they played against France in the 2nd round of the Nations League at Poljud last week. These jerseys saw the light of day after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Croatia national team will wear new jerseys at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The new jersey design will premiere at the two September Nations League matches - the first will be played against Denmark in Croatia and the second away against Austria.

The exact design of the new jerseys is still unknown and has not been announced in any manner by HNS, but the famous portal footyheadlines.com, dedicated to club and national team jerseys, has already toyed with how they may look.

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Footy Headlines used leaked information or projections of Nike's template for the 2022 World Cup.

They are inspired by the famous sets of other clubs and national teams for next season. Since they know what will be in style next season or what colors and designs will dominate in the football world, they were able to speculate about Croatia's possible new kit.

The Croatia home jersey is usually composed of red, white, and blue, always with the Croatian coat of arms, the now world-famous red and white checkers.

Footy Headlines claim that the blue color will be different than usual. It will be a little brighter, royal blue, the so-called “Battle Blue” Swoosh.

They underline that Nike presented only a sample of blue and white in its internal catalog, while red remains unknown. This is explained by Nike’s designs for next season. First, they pointed to the new Barcelona jersey, which is dominated by shades of blue, while red is on the defensive.

The portal claims that the Croatia national team away jersey will combine navy blue with red patterns.

For more, check out our sport section.

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