Saturday, 15 May 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 10-16, 2021

May 16th, 2021 - From fantastic flight news to an ongoing football story coming to an end, here are the big events in Croatia from May 10 to 16, 2021. 

Borna Sosa story continues 

If you've been following the Borna Sosa saga this past week, this shouldn't come as a surprise. The talented 23 years old football player has stirred up quite a bit of commotion with his announcement of switching national teams from Croatia to Germany. Borna’s mother was born in Germany and he now has the legal right to claim German citizenship. However, there is a new clause added in the FIFA rulebook since September 2020 that states a player switching national teams needed to already have had citizenship of the nation he is switching to before he played for the national team he is switching from. In other words, Borna Sosa needed to already have had dual Croatian and German citizenship at the time when he played for the Croatia youth team.

After the embarrassment faced with the new FIFA rules, Borna issues an apology for HNS stating "he made a mistake". 

The decision I made was wrong, and I have to take responsibility for it myself. If the Croatian Football Federation and coaches believe that despite everything, I can contribute to the success of our national teams, I will respond to their invitation and make myself available.

Croaticum Croatian Language and Culture Summer School Announced for 2021

The Centre for Croatian as a Second and Foreign Language, known as Croaticum, is the oldest and largest institution engaged in teaching, research, and description of Croatian as a second and foreign language. The Croatian language and culture are beginning to generate more and more interest among not only ex-pats who wish to return home or reconnect with their relatives, but also among tourists and foreigners.


The Croaticum in Zagreb has announced the opening of its summer school for the Croatian language and culture, to be held between June and July. Enrollment will begin on May 24th. 

Archaeological Park Iovia - Ludbreg Officially Opens!

The museum was opened by the Minister of Culture and Media, Ph.D. Nina Obuljen Koržinek with the mayor of Ludbreg Dubravko Bilić and the director of the restoration institute and honorary Ludbreg citizen, doctor of science Tajana Pleše.


Vjeran Zganec Rogulja

Ludberg is one of Croatia's hidden gems, also known as the Centre of the World. It holds the church which houses the only Vatican-certified miracle in Croatia, a monument to local javelin heroine, Sara Kolak, who won Olympic Gold in Rio in 2016, and the newly opened museum and park. 

First Post-Covid Pilot Party in Croatia Held, Digital Green Certificates on Schedule for June 1

The first-ever post-Covid pilot party took place in Zagreb at the Rooftop Lateral restaurant. The aim of the event was to prove that it is safe and, to represent a step towards the old normal. The project has been prepared since March this year and they are very proud that their idea has been realized. All participants have been vaccinated twice, and after a week, they will undergo testing. 


Davorin Visnjic

The Croatian Institute of Public Health epidemiologist, Ph.D. Dijana Mayer emphasized the importance of vaccination because a large percentage of vaccinated citizens will greatly simplify life and enable events to take place and much greater mobility of people.

Fantastic flights news for Croatia

As the summer tourist season approaches, hope for a better season is restored by numerous information about flights to and from Croatia published this week.

The latest flight news comes from Wizz Air, as they resume flights to Dubrovnik-Rome Summer Service, as well as Split-Rome. Earlier this week, Azur Air announced flight s from Saint Petersburg to Pula this summer. 



Polish national airline, LOT, plans to operate regular flights to five Croatian airports in the summer season. The line is currently in operation three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and the company will gradually increase the number of operations. It will operate 6 times a week during the peak summer season between Zagreb and Warsaw. 

The Irish low-cost airline, RyanAir will open a base at Zagreb Airport from September this year. They have just announced two new flights to Zagreb, in addition to the already 12 lines previously announced. Joining the fantastic flight news is also the Serbian national airline, Air Serbia, launching routes to Split and Dubrovnik from the end of May.

Even though we have experienced flight cancellations and shortages in the past year, the recent flight news is a great step towards a new normal and a great summer season. 

For more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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Thursday, 13 May 2021

Borna Sosa's Statement for HNS: "I Made the Wrong Decision"

May 13, 2021 - Borna Sosa's statement for the Croatian Football Federation has been released. 

The young Croatia national team player Borna Sosa sent a statement to the Croatian Football Federation, the media, and the public, which TCN transmits in its entirety.

"A lot has happened in my life in the past few days that has left its mark on me, especially on my sports career.

I will not shy away from my own responsibility for the situation I have found myself in, although, at the time I decided on my national team career, I believed I was doing the right thing.

I made the wrong decision and turned out to be naive.

Like any athlete, as a child, I dreamed of performing in big competitions. I still dream of them, without thinking about money or other material values, and of course, I also dream of performing at European and World Cups.

But even in that dream, I have no illusions that many will not understand me, and I do not blame them for that. The responsibility for this situation is mine alone, from the misunderstanding of what the Croatian Football Federation communicated to me to the decision I made, obviously motivated to reach the goal in another, perhaps shorter way.

I made my debut for the younger Croatia national teams in 2012 and played 56 games. There were better and worse performances, but I am proud of every game I played in the Croatia jersey.

The decision I made was wrong, and I have to take responsibility for it myself. If the Croatian Football Federation and coaches believe that despite everything, I can contribute to the success of our national teams, I will respond to their invitation and make myself available.

Finally, I sincerely apologize to the Croatian (sports) public, the fans of the Croatia national football team, and the Croatian Football Federation, whom I thank for the patience, understanding, and correctness they showed me in this situation."

You can read more about the Borna Sosa saga HERE.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Unexpected Twist in Borna Sosa Story Leaves German Football Federation Embarrassed

May 11, 2021 – The Borna Sosa story has stirred quite a bit of commotion with his announcement of switching national teams from Croatia to Germany. The story got a new twist that might complicate things even more.

Even though the football season is almost over the news of the day in Croatia is one about Borna Sosa. This talented 23 years old left-back player is exactly what the national team needs now. His outstanding performances both in his club and Croatia U21 national team made him a young player to watch. But it wasn’t just Croatian officials that were watching him.

German Football Federation was quick to approach the player. They managed to sway him to come to play for the German national team. Borna’s mother was born in Germany and he now has the legal right to claim German citizenship. The decision was a shocking one for the Croatian football public and especially painful given the specific talents and the position Borna Sosa excels at. We have already reported on the details of this story as well as on the interview in which he explained his decision. The case seemed pretty much closed. However, the latest news out of Germany puts another shocking spin on the entire story.

The Final Twist?

In order to have Sosa playing for the German national football team after already playing for the Croatia U21 team, he needs permission from FIFA, football’s global governing body. As reports, there is a new clause added in FIFA rulebook since September 2020 that states a player switching national teams needed to already have had citizenship of the nation he is switching to before he played for the national team he is switching from. In other words, Borna Sosa needed to already have had dual Croatian and German citizenship at the time when he played for the Croatia youth team. Borna Sosa applied for German citizenship this year, so this is not the case. Because of this, FIFA will most probably decline the German request.

This is quite a shock, not just because of the fact Sosa might not be allowed to play for Germany. It is very unusual for a serious football association to make a mistake like that, not checking basic rules and regulations. If FIFA decides to disallow this change in national teams, this will be quite an embarrassing episode for German officials. Going public with announcements of Sosa’s possible place in the national team might backfire spectacularly.

At the end of the story, Croatia might end up with the left-back player the fans were dreaming of. The question is, will there be bad feelings after the Germany saga.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Borna Sosa on Decision to Play for Germany: Croatia Doesn't Need Me

May 9, 2021 - Borna Sosa, one of the most talented young Croatian football players and a member of the U21 national team, has decided to play for the national team of Germany. The 24-year-old footballer talks to about his decision.

An unforgettable day is behind Borna Sosa, one of the greatest Croatian talents who, with a brilliant game in the Bundesliga, provoked the legendary Oliver Bierhoff and the German Football Federation to urgently arrange for his German citizenship and status in their national team. The young defender has just made the most important transfer in his career and announced that he would play for Germany in the future, while Croatia has been left without the player it has been waiting for for 20 years, since the farewell of Robert Jarni.

Sosa is one of the best offensive defenders in Europe, plays as a left-back, and excels in the Stuttgart jersey, where he arrived from Dinamo in 2018 in a transfer worth six million euros. He was a member and occasional captain of the U21 Croatia national team, but he never received an invitation from the A team. When the news about the acquisition of the German Federation was published on Friday, panic started in all HNS structures. 

The first HNS operative, director Marijan Kustić, claims that he found out about the German Football Federations' offensive the day before yesterday, coach Zlatko Dalić believes that Sosa knew he should make his debut in the match against Malta in March and that his former assistant Ivica Olic led the operation, while the young football player says that he never saw Olic, but received messages through intermediaries.

Sosa agreed to tell his side of the story and made claims that could cause great damage to the responsible HNS operatives.

In the Croatian media, your transfer to the national team of Germany is the topic of the day, but there are many different messages and contradictory statements. Did you get to read any of that?

Yes, I have seen the statements in the Croatian media, and I will answer everything you ask me.

Tell us what is true. Why did you decide to play for Germany?

I decided to play for Germany because I think I am already 24 years old, I have played in the Bundesliga for three years, and I am still without a performance in the A national team. I realized that Croatia is not counting on me and thinking they have better players in my position. I respect that attitude and their decision, there is no anger, and we remain on good terms. I decided to play for Germany.

Have you talked about this with HNS before?

I’m not the type who waits for others to pull moves; I pull them when I think it’s good and necessary. I made the decision personally. This season I had no contact with people from Croatia's A national team, and no one ever called me from HNS. I spoke with Dalic for the first time this morning when the news came out that I had decided on Germany.

Is it true that you received a guarantee that you would make your debut against Malta in the qualifiers for Qatar?

That's not true. Dalic did not tell me that I would make my debut against Malta, nor did we ever talk. There was speculation, there was talk about it, and you wrote that Dalic was talking about it. Officially, I never received any invitation from the Croatia national team.

Did Ivica Olic come to Stuttgart matches and follow your performances? We were told that Olic, now a former assistant coach of Dalic, was in charge of following you and informing you about Dalic's plans.

Olic did not come, as far as I know. I don't know what his role is, but he told me through a third person that I will be invited to the A national team in March, i.e., in the opening cycle of the Qatar World Cup qualifiers. I never talked to Olic, there were some messages through intermediaries, and I didn't take it seriously. The only invitation I ever received from Croatia was sent to me by the coach of the U21 national team, Igor Bišćan, and, as you know, I responded. I played in the Euro qualifiers.

If you had received Dalic's call earlier, what would you have done?

If I had received Dalic's invitation and played in March, or there in September and October last year when there were opportunities, I would have played for Croatia. There have been many gatherings, and I am no longer 17 but 24 years old. Unfortunately, it was not feasible for me to receive an invitation from Croatia and our paths diverged. I received Dalic's support and understanding this morning, and I thank him. He wished me luck; I wish him the same. Big things are waiting for me. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play with such greats, mostly Bayern players.

What are your experiences with the U21 national team? Why didn't you come to the Euro?

I also had some injury problems then, and after I received a red card in the last qualifying match and a suspension for the first two games at the Euros with the young national team, my club decided for me to stay there. They said they didn't want me to go to the national team because I didn't have the right to play in the tournament's first two games due to a red card. There was no reason for them to take the risk and send me to train with the young national team if there is no need. Personally, I also think that there is no point in taking risks, the rhythm of the matches is crazy anyway, and every detail should be paid attention to. The club made the decision; they explained to me that they didn’t want me to get hurt and lose me unnecessarily. I couldn't play for the national team anyway.

But the match against England is disputable when the suspension expired. It was a key match to get to the quarterfinals. You told Bišćan that you were injured, and a few days later, you played for Stuttgart. What happened?

There will always be speculation, but I won't deal with it. I don’t want to get into arguments, and I wouldn’t talk about it too much because tensions are rising and unnecessary. I sent Bišćan a doctor's report in which it was clearly written that I was not in the best condition. The problem is always the same, my right knee. Maybe some people don’t believe I’m hurt, but those who follow my career know how much I’ve been through so far. Maybe some people can’t understand it at all. I don't blame anyone.

It's hard to count all the injuries you went through during the first two seasons in the Bundesliga - your back, knee, edema, concussion ... How do you feel now, and are you satisfied with the season, the results, and your game?

I can’t be happier than I am now, both because of the personal game and because of the whole team. After two seasons where I struggled with injuries, this year, everything fell into place. I collected ten assists. I healed an injury that caused me to miss three games before last night’s game against Augsburg. It is rare for defenders to collect so many assists in a season.

After checking the data in the top 5 leagues, only Cuadrado is better and has one more assist.  

Yes, I know about that fact. Crossing is my forte, and it has nothing to do with the system in which Stuttgart plays. I honed the strongest weapon I have and can center if needed from Mars as well. If I’m sure of anything in life, then it’s my crossing, ha-ha.

What impression did the director of the German federation, the famous striker Oliver Bierhoff, leave on you?

The German Federation is the strongest in the world, and Bierhoff, as the chief operative, proved to be a man of his word. He is calm and sticks to what he says; you can’t function any differently in Germany.

How long will it take to join the German national team?

The whole story takes about two to three months. They did everything we could to resolve the citizenship as soon as possible, and I am very grateful for that.

How did it start?

They found out that my mom was born in Germany, and they got in touch with me. We started the process, and we were constantly communicating. They came to every game I played. They said I was responding to them as a player for the German national team system.

Have you ever met coach Dalic?

I don't remember; I think I saw him once in my life, nothing official. Thus, HNS had information for two months that I had an offer from Germany. I personally reported this to one director.

Which director? There are not many directors in HNS?

It doesn’t matter; I really don't want to name names. It's over. I told them I had an offer from Germany and to talk to them. That was it; no one from HNS contacted me after that. They made their decision; I made mine, there is no evil, and no tension should be created.

You must have read the comments of angry fans. How do you deal with that?

I try to explain to people that this is a business decision. Many call me a traitor, but they do not understand that I still love Croatia the most, and it will always be my country, the country of my family and friends. I do not play for the Croatia national team, but I still love my country. In the business world, I decided to play football for Germany.

Are you already on Germany's list for the Euros?

I don't know if we will reach the Euro; FIFA will solve the change of my citizenship, it is a technical matter, and it may not be resolved by the Euro. But that’s not crucial for me; I’m thinking about the next 10 to 12 years with the German national team.

The sporting director of Stuttgart called you the new Beckham. How about that?

He said that last year. It's funny that the director announced before the season that I have the best-left foot in the Bundesliga, but people didn't believe him. I'm so glad now, not so much for me ... I know what I can do. I am glad that I did not let the director down; now everyone knows that he has good grades. I am nicknamed the "god of crossing" in Germany.

Will you go to Bayern this summer?
As for the transfer to Bayern, where there is smoke, there is also fire. There will be an interesting transition period.

Will you support Croatia at the Euro?

Yes, unless Croatia plays against Germany, ha-ha. Croatia will always be my beautiful country, and in Germany, I decided to develop football. Thanks to everyone who decided to help me along the way.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Croatian Footballer Borna Sosa Switching National Teams?

May 8, 2021 - Borna Sosa, one of the most talented young Croatian football players and a member of the U21 national team, received German citizenship in a secret operation of the German Football Federation and is expecting an invitation from the coach Joachim Löw for the European Championship.

As finds out, the German federation has been following the 23-year-old Stuttgart left-back for a long time and is preparing the ground for him to join Germany. Sosa was eligible for a German passport because his mother, Vesna, was born in Berlin.

Croatia could thus lose a great talent that has excelled in the Bundesliga ever since he arrived from Dinamo in 2018 in a transfer worth six million euros. Three years later, Sosa is one of the best offensive defenders in Europe. This season, he played 26 games for Stuttgart and recorded as many as nine assists. Ahead of him in that category is only Cuadrado from Juventus, who shared ten assists. According to Transfermarkt, Sosa is worth 12 million euros, and a transfer to Bayern is planned for the summer.

Croatia has not had such a player in the left-back position for 20 years. And it could be lost in the blink of an eye. 

When Sky Sport first published the news about the German Federation operation and Borna Sosa, the Croatian Football Federation had not been informed. The first HNS operative Marijan Kustić read the news in the media, the U21 national team coach Igor Bišćan said he knew absolutely nothing about it, and Zlatko Dalić sounded resigned.

"Everyone has the right to choose whether to play for Croatia or wherever they want," Dalic told Index, announcing that the official position of the Federation would soon be published on the web.

“We are following Borna, he is on a wider list, and we want him to continue with good games for Stuttgart to get even closer to the A national team,” HNS briefly reported.

Meanwhile, the German Bild announced that Sosa is already on the wider list of Germany for the Euro. When the legendary German striker Oliver Bierhoff, today the German national football team director, spoke up, it became clear that he had been negotiating with the young Croatia national team player for a long time.

"We know who he is, and we have been following him for some time. We believe he has the qualities and potential to play for our national football team. We are always looking for solutions in advance. That means we are thinking about him for the European Championship," Bierhoff said. 

Sosa himself confirmed that he is in negotiations with the German Football Federation (DFB) about possibly playing for Germany.

"Yes, I spoke with the director of the national team Oliver Bierhoff. We talked about everything, not only about the European Championship but also about my future if I play for Germany," said Sosa.

Zlatko Dalic included Sosa on the wider list for the first time before the World Cup in Russia. Still, only this season was the young player a serious candidate for the A national team. In Stuttgart, he missed most of the first season due to injuries when the club was relegated to the second division. During the two seasons, Sosa played only 24 games. He had problems with his pubic bone, back, adductor, ligament rupture in the knee joint, concussion, and edema in the knee. He missed the final of the championship in which Stuttgart expressly returned to the first league, and such was the progress of the defender whom the Stuttgart sports director called the new David Beckham. At the end of 2020, he signed a new contract until 2026.

"In the almost two and a half years since I came to Stuttgart, the club and the city have grown close to my heart. Positive things are happening in sports as well, so I hope we can continue to develop together in the future," Sosa said when signing the contract.

He was a standard member and occasional captain of the young national team, for which he played 19 games and won a place at the Euros. Due to a red card he earned in the qualifying match against Scotland, he had to miss the first two matches of the U21 Euro, and coach Igor Bišćan was counting on him for a key match against England.

Index adds that coach Zlatko Dalic told Sosa that he would debut for the A national team against Malta at the beginning of the qualifying cycle for the World Cup in Qatar. The dates coincided with the U21 national team at the Euro, and Bišćan asked Dalic to give him Sosa, which he needed in the crucial match against England. That was the turning point.

Dalic could not reject Bišćan.

Sosa was not at the camp before the match against England on March 31, in which the young national team fought for a historical placement in the quarterfinals. He sent a medical report and a certificate of injury to Bišćan. Croatia went further with Bradarić's goal, and the scenes of celebrations between Bišćan and the players toured Europe. Sosa was not a topic, although only four days later, he played for Stuttgart against Werder, played 90 minutes, and recorded an assist. He also played in the next round for 90 minutes against Borussia Dortmund. He then paused for the next three games in the championship due to injury.

Bišćan did not suspect that there was a problem, but everything became clear to Dalic. Sosa was never promised a spot at the Euros, but Dalic let him know that he is seriously counting on him and that he will have a place on the wider list where he can show his worth.

Dalic already has a complex list for the Euro, but will the possibility of losing Borna to Germany change that now? Only time will tell. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

U-21 Croatia Player List Released for 2021 Euros in Hungary and Slovenia!

March 9, 2021 - The U-21 Croatia player list has been released by coach Igor Bišćan ahead of the European Championship in Hungary and Slovenia later this month. 

The young Croatia national football team will play at the European Championship after a turbulent qualifying campaign and will soon compete in the group stage against Portugal (March 25), Switzerland (March 28), and England (March 31). A spot in the quarterfinals will be won by the two best national teams from each group.

The list of players for the European Championship includes 23 names, including three goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers: Adrian Šemper (Chievo), Dominik Kotarski (Ajax), Ivan Nevistić (Rijeka)

Defenders: Borna Sosa (Stuttgart), Domagoj Bradarić (Lille), Marin Šverko (Saarbrücken), Joško Gvardiol (Dinamo), Martin Erlić (Spezia), Krešimir Krizmanić (Gorica), Mario Vušković (Hajduk)

Midfielders: Nikola Moro (Dinamo Moskva), Lovro Majer (Dinamo), Kristijan Bistrović (Kasimpasa), Darko Nejašmić (Hajduk), Mihael Žaper (Osijek), Bartol Franjić (Dinamo), Luka Sučić (RB Salzburg)

Attackers: Luka Ivanušec (Dinamo), Sandro Kulenović (Rijeka), Petar Musa (Union Berlin), Dario Špikić (Gorica), Dario Vizinger (Wolfsberger), Marko Divković (Dunajska Streda)

Croatia will face three demanding exams at this year's European Championship. Coach Igor Bišćan believes that his players have something to say in the competition against Portugal, Switzerland, and England.

"England is a category unto themselves, extremely strong and one of the favorites of the whole competition. They all play at a high level, not only relying on physical strength but also adding tactical awareness and technique, and imagination. Their value is close to the world's largest A-selections. Portugal is a copy of their senior team, they cultivate the same combinatorial style, and they are challenging and experienced enough in competitive football. They will take advantage of any carelessness and punish it. They have several individuals from the world’s biggest clubs; they are where our players would one day want to be. They may not have adequate minutes, but their quality is indisputable. England and Portugal should go further. Switzerland is tough, solid, organized, and a couple of players from our region give them a dose of unpredictability. However, we are also good; it will be a demanding group, a real test to see where we are concerning the best and those close to us," he said.

In the first two group games, Croatia will not count on the suspended Borna Sosa, but in cooperation with Zlatko Dalić, they have yielded a solution.

"Sosa is too important, good and high quality not to count on him, and it is to be assumed that the last game in the group will be important. If the last game does not decide on something, he will join the A-selection, which speaks volumes about his form. I am glad that Dalić gave us Bradarić, we are cooperating very well, and he showed a correct attitude. We have a great situation with high-level players," Bišćan explained.

Some players also bring experience from the last European Championship, but this will be somewhat different due to the format change.

"That experience can help, but unfortunately, we don't have Boško Šutal due to a foot injury, and it really hit us, as we are the thinnest on the right defender. A tournament like this is a nice experience for every young footballer's career and an opportunity to present his talent on a phenomenal stage. This competition is specific; there is no time to play. We gather on Monday and Tuesday, and the match is already on Thursday - it should be more suitable for individually stronger teams. At the same time, it does not allow others to cancel that advantage. He who is ready from the first second to switch from the club rhythm without stumbling will do well. I'm sorry that there are no fans, Koper is close, but it's best to get out of the group, so maybe something will change for the quarterfinals," concluded Bišćan.

Source: HNS

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Four Croats Among Candidates for Best Young Footballer in Europe

Four young Croatian footballers are among the candidates for the prestigious ”Golden Boy” award.