Saturday, 3 July 2021

No Tokyo for Croatia after Losing to Germany in Olympic Qualifying Tournament Semifinal (86:76)

July 3, 2021 - Croatia nearly had the win to advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday, but Germany was better in the last 5 minutes to take the lead and ultimately the win (86:76). 

Croatia and Germany met in the semifinal of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament at Spaladium Arena on Saturday. 

Croatia was unimpressive in their two group stage games, recording a tough defeat against Brazil (94:67) and a close victory over Tunisia (75:70).

Part of the reason for their poor performance can also be found in the stands. There were about 2,500 people at the first game, and barely 1,000 in the second. In an arena that holds 12,000, Croatia couldn't quite take advantage of playing at home. Today, however, Hajduk fan group Torcida came out to save Croatia basketball and called on all members to attend today's semifinal. 

Torcida has not organized their attendance at a Croatia basketball match for about 30 years.

Germany v. Croatia 

1st quarter

Hezonja scored Croatia's first basket for 3:2. Bogdanović made 1/2 free throws to make the score 5:3. Žižić scored both free throws awarded shortly after to even the score at 5:5. 

Ukić's floating jump shot saw Croatia down by 1 point - 8:7. A stellar Bogdanović dunk gave Croatia the lead for the first time at 8:9. With 4 minutes to go, Germany led 12:9. 

Bogdanović made it 15:12 with another 3-pointer. Bogdanović netted both free throws for 17:14 with 2 minutes to go. A 2pt driving layup by Bogdanović made it 17:16 and a foul drawn on him during the play saw him make a free throw to equal the score - 17:17.

Bogdanović put Croatia in the lead with another free throw for 17:18 and scored his second for +2. Sakić scored a 3pt jump shot for 17:22 Croatia! 

Sakić scored 1/2 free throws for 19:23 just before the final buzzer of the 1st quarter. 

2nd quarter

A Germany 3-pointer opened the 2nd quarter for 22:23, but Jordano quickly put Croatia back in a comfortable lead with a free throw for 22:26. 

Germany retook the lead thanks to a 3-pointer at 27:26. And it was 31:26 shortly after that. 

Planinić scored for 31:28 and a Bogdanović dunk made it 37:30. A 3-pointer from the Utah Jazz player made it 39:33. Hezonja made two free throws for 41:35 with 3 minutes to go. 

Hezonja scored a 3-pointer for 41:38 - and yet another for 43:41 with 2 minutes to go! Hezonja was on fire to level the score with two free throws - 43:43. Bogdanović put Croatia back in the lead with one minute to go at 43:45, which was the final score of the 2nd quarter! 

3rd quarter

Bogdanović scored the first basket of the 3rd quarter with 7:13 to go - 43:47. A Rogić 3-pointer saw Croatia up by 5 - 45:50. 

A Žižić layup made it 48:52 and a single Bogdanović free trow 48:53 with just under 5 minutes to go. Bogdanović scored for 50:55 and nailed a 3pt jump shot after. A Sakić layup made it 52:60 with two minutes to go. 

Croatia was only up by 5 with a minute to go - 56:60. Žižić scored 1/2 free throws for 56:61. Bogdanović scored two free throws to end the quarter 56:63! 

4th quarter

Hezonja scored a 2pt pullup jump shot for 58:65. Bogdanović continued his brilliant play with another 3-pointer for a +10 Croatia lead - 58:68. 

Jordano scored a 3-pointer for 63:71 with just over 7 minutes to go in the game. Bogdanović scored a 2pt floating jump shot for 67:73 and a free throw for 67:74. 

Germany was only behind by 3 with 5 minutes to go - 72:74.  Germany was awarded two free throws which they made to even the score with 4:30 to go. 

Germany took after making two free throws for 76:74. Bogdanović was awarded two free throws in the next play which made fo 76:76 with 3 minutes to go! 

Germany made two free throws for a +4 lead with 1:33 to go - 80:76. 

The game ended 86:76 for Germany.

Germany and Brazil will meet in the final on Sunday, July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Split Olympic Basketball Qualifiers: Croatia Moves to Semis after Dramatic Win against Tunisia (75:70)

July 1, 2021 - Croatia moves to the semifinals of the Olympic basketball qualifiers in Split after a dramatic win against Tunisia. 

Croatia opened their Olympic qualifying campaign on Wednesday against Brazil at Spaladium Arena in Split. After three years, Croatia's best basketball player Bojan Bogdanović played an official game in the Croatia jersey again. 

After Brazil topped Croatia in their first game of the Olympic basketball qualifiers in Split on Wednesday (94:67), Croatia and Tunisia met on Thursday. The winner of the game would go to the semifinals. 

1st quarter

Bogdanović opened the scoring for Croatia with a 2pt fadeaway jump shot for 2:3. Bogdanović made two free throws to make it 4:5. Hezonja made 2/2 free throws for 5:5. 

Croatia took the lead at 7:5 thanks to a Hezonja dunk, and a layup seconds later made it 12:5! Hezonja was on fire. Tunisia called a timeout.

Ante Žižić nailed two free throws for 14:8. Hezonja scored his 10th point of the game for 16:8 with 2:27 to go. Žižić made a 2pt layup for 18:10. A Bilan dunk ended the 1st quarter 20:11.

2nd quarter 

Jordano scored a 2pt driving layup for 22:14 at the start of the 2nd quarter. Bilan nailed two free throws for 24:16. A layup and free throw by Bilan brought Croatia to 27:16 before Bogdanović made it 29:16 with 6 minutes to go. 

Žižić scored his 5th basket thanks to a free throw for the +10  Croatia lead (30:20). A Žižić dunk made it 32:20 and a free throw 33:22. 

Hezonja recorded his 13th point with a stunning 3-pointer for 36:22. Žižić was unstoppable, too, with a tip-in for 38:25. He scored again for 40:28 with just over a minute to go. Hezonja scored for a +14 lead (42:28) which was the score at the end of the 2nd quarter. 

3rd quarter 

Ukić started the 3rd quarter with a 2pt jump shot, but Tunisia came back to score 6 points for 46:36. Croatia's comfortable lead quickly diminished and they were only up 6 (46:40). Bogdanović nailed a 3-pointer to wake Croatia up for 49:40. Tunisia was only down by 4 with 5 minutes to go - 49:45. 

Hezonja scored a free throw and a 2pt jump shot for 52:47. Croatia was only up by 2 points with 2 minutes to go - 52:50. Hezonja scored for +4 (54:50). A shocking display by Croatia saw Tunisia take the lead thanks to a 3-pointer for 56:57 to end the 3rd quarter.

4th quarter

After a dramatic start to the final quarter, Bogdanvić scored a 3-pointer to put Croatia back in the lead by 2 (59:57). A tip-in by Marčinković made it 61:57.

Žižić dunked for 63:59 and Tunisia called a timeout. Hezonja scored for 65:62 with 4 minutes to go. 

A foul on Bogdanović saw him make both free throws for +4 Croatia with just under 3 minutes to go. 

Hezonja scored for 69:65 and a Tunisia timeout was called with a minute and a half to go. Croatia was only up by 2 with 38 seconds to go. Marčinković scored a 3-pointer to save the day for 72:67. Ukić then fouled for 3 Tunisia free throws - it was 72:79 with 18 seconds to go. 

With 6 seconds to go, Hezonja scored 1/2 free throws for 73:70. The game ended at 75:70 for Croatia. 

After the group stage, there is a day of rest, and on July 3, the semifinal matches are scheduled. Croatia will play Germany in the semis on Saturday. 

The final match is scheduled for July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Croatia's group crosses over with Germany, Russia, and Mexico.

The Split tournament and the other three hosted by Belgrade, Kaunas, and Victoria in Canada are all scheduled from June 29 to July 4, 2021. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Olympic Basketball Qualifiers in Split: Brazil Outshines Croatia 94:67

June 30, 2021 - Brazil outshines Croatia in their first game of the Olympic basketball qualifiers in Split on Wednesday 94:67. 

Croatia opened their Olympic qualifying campaign on Wednesday against Brazil at Spaladium Arena in Split. After three years, Croatia's best basketball player Bojan Bogdanović played an official game in the Croatia jersey again. 

The tournament opened on Tuesday, June 29. In Croatia's group, Brazil, led by the former Croatia coach Aco Petrovićconvincingly defeated Tunisia 83:57. In the other, Group A, Germany beat Mexico 82:76. 

1st quarter

Brazil led 4:0 at the start of the 1st quarter until Ukić scored Croatia's first basket and a 3-pointer for 4:3 with 8:20 to go. An Ukić field goal made it 10:5 before Sakić and Dreznjak came back for 12:10. With 3:37 to go, Croatia was down 23:10 before Žižić scored for 23:12 and 23:14. 

Žižić was on fire with a 2pt driving layup for 23:16!

A personal foul saw Hezonja make both free throws for 24:18 with just under two minutes to go. A 2pt jump shot from Rogić put Croatia just 4 behind at 24:20. The 1st quarter ended 25:20 for Brazil. 

2nd quarter

The 2nd quarter started with a foul drawn on Hezonja who scored both free throws to reduce Brazil's lead to +3 (25:22). Hezonja's 2pt driving layup made it 28:24 with 7:38 to go. Bogdanović re-entered the game straight after. 

Marčinković nailed a stunning 3-pointer for 31:27 with 6 minutes left. Brazil had a 10-point lead with 4 left (37:27). Ukić assisted Bilan for 37:29. 

An Ukić 3-pointer gave Croatia life again as they were behind by 5 with just over 2 minutes to go (37:32). 

Bogdanović made up for his poor play in the game thus far by nailing a 2pt jump shot for 37:34. Croatia called a timeout at 40:34 and 45 seconds to go. Brazil ended the 2nd quarter with a 3-pointer for 45:34. 

3rd quarter

The 3rd quarter started with Brazil leading 49:34. Ukić missed two free throws, but Hezonja made two soon after for 49:36. 

A Bogdanović 3-pointer made it 51:41, followed by a 2pt fadeaway jump shot for 54:43. A Žižić dunk and free throw saw Croatia come back for 54:46. 

A 3pt jump shot by Jordano slighted reduced Croatia's gap to -12 (61:49) with 3:16 to go. Bogdanović reduced it to -10 moments later (62:52). 

Bogdanović scored both free throws for 63:54 with 2 minutes to go. The 3rd quarter ended 71:55 for Brazil. 

4th quarter

Ukić opened the final quarter with a stunning 3 points for 71:58. With 7 minutes left in the game, Brazil led 79:59. 

Bogdanović nailed a 3-pointer for 84:62, but Brazil's lead was too hard to catch. It was 90:62 with just over two minutes left in the game. 

Bilan scored for 92:64, but Brazil kept increasing their lead. In the final minute of the game, it was 94:66. Dreznjak scored 1/2 free throws, and the game ended 94:67. 

Croatia plays against Tunisia at the same time tomorrow. After the group stage, there is a day of rest, and on July 3, the semifinal matches are scheduled. The final match is scheduled for July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Croatia's group crosses over with Germany, Russia, and Mexico.

 The Split tournament and the other three hosted by Belgrade, Kaunas, and Victoria in Canada are all scheduled from June 29 to July 4, 2021. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Croatia Basketball Team Invites All Fans to Spaladium Arena: "We Really Need You!"

June 26, 2021 - The Croatia basketball team has invited all fans to the Spaladium Arena in Split for the Olympic qualifying tournament next week. 

We are just four days away until Croatia's first game at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Split. The national team played four friendly matches, two against Slovenia and two against Puerto Rico, and now the final preparations are underway.

Bojan Bogdanović, who has just arrived from the NBA, also played for the national team in the last game, and now the real exams follow - against Brazil and Tunisia on June 30 and July 1, both at 8 pm. After that, Croatia will hopefully play the semifinals and final on July 3 and 4.

The Croatia basketball coach, Veljko Mršić, called on the fans to come in as many numbers as possible to support the national team:

"I would really like the hall to be filled as much as possible because we really need it. It is different to play in front of a full hall, and that is why I invite all basketball fans to come, support us and together, in synergy, win a place in the Olympic Games and enjoy those four days of top basketball."

Born in Split and captain of the national team Roko Ukić also asked for the support of the Split crowd, although he is aware that they will have to take additional steps to enter the hall:

"As much as people want to come, they don't know exactly what the situation is regarding the measures. The measures are as they are, both in our country and everywhere else. Whoever wants to come will still have to make a small personal sacrifice if we can call it that to get the necessary papers to enter the hall. We would be happiest if it weren't for that and everyone could enter only with a ticket, but the situation is the same everywhere… Despite all that, I invite people to come in as many numbers as possible and support us. We do not have the opportunity to play such big games at home every day, especially in Split. I hope that they will be a great support to us and that we will be real with them."

The Split-Dalmatia County Civil Protection Headquarters has allowed 10,000 seats at Spaladium Arena. 

"Following the agreed epidemiological measures obtained from the Split-Dalmatia County Public Health Teaching Institute, you have the consent of the Split-Dalmatia County Civil Protection Headquarters to fill the Spaladium Arena stands with full capacity with the maximum possible distance between spectators," reads the agreement.

“Furthermore, spectators, technical and organizational staff may attend the match, provided that:

- received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine more than 14 days ago, or, in the case of a single dose vaccine, received a single dose more than 14 days ago, or
- recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days ago
- recovered from COVID-19 and vaccinated with at least one dose 
- negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or rapid antigen test no older than 48 hours

The organizer of the competition is obliged to control the fulfillment of the stated conditions, and it is proven by EU digital COVID confirmation or confirmation of PCR / rapid antigen test on SARS CoV2 with a QR code issued by the competent health institution," reads the decision.

TICKETS can be purchased through ulaznice.hr and at the Spaladium Arena box office.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 25 June 2021

Bogdanović is Back: Croatia Basketball Tops Puerto Rico in Second Split Friendly

June 25, 2021 - In the second friendly match in Split, this time closed to the public, Croatia basketball tops Puerto Rico 72:66 (22-18, 24-9, 10-17, 16-22).

Puerto Rico started attacking aggressively, jumping to a 2-9 lead, forcing coach Veljko Mršić to call a time-out. Croatia successfully completed several well-executed plays and took the lead at 11-9. There were a few more draws in the first half, but Croatia held the reins firmly in their hands, and did not allow Puerto Rico to threaten the result seriously in the remaining three quarters, reports HKS.

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HKS

Croatia held the biggest advantage when they were up by 23 points at 52:29 and 54:31 in the third quarter, both times thanks to Ante Toni Žižić. By the end of the game, Puerto Rico managed to get close to a single-digit difference.

Bojan Bogdanović also officially played the first game in this cycle of preparations, scoring 12 points with 5 assists. Ante Žižić was perfectly accurate (7/7 for field goals and 4/4 free throws) with which he scored 18 points and 7 rebounds. Captain Roko Leni Ukić also hit double digits with 11 points and Miro Bilan with 10 points.

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HKS

“This match was closed to the public; we tried some things to see what it would look like. This is our second game in 24 hours. The first 25 minutes were excellent, we were up by 23 points, but we gave up in the last 15 minutes. We allowed Puerto Rico a lot of attacking jumps, as well as some points from the counterattack. The defense was at a nice level, we received 66 points, and we also created quite good situations offensively. Just like yesterday, our shots were weaker. However, 20-25 shots were made well, and when the tournament comes, and we are fresh, they will go in. All in all, we are satisfied. That preparation period was not easy because we got a new player every preparation game, and we had to start from scratch again, have the training, and show actions. There was a little loss of rhythm and intensity in training. However, now we have five days left until the first game of the tournament; it's time to get well, play, do our best, and try to qualify for the Olympic Games," said Veljko Mršić, the national team coach. 

The Olympic qualifying tournament in Split is held from June 29 to July 4, and Spaladium Arena is partially open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at ulaznice.hr and the Spaladium Arena box office.

"I would really like the hall to be filled as much as possible because we really need it. It is different to play in front of a full hall, and that is why I invite all basketball fans to come, support us and together, in synergy, win a place in the Olympic Games and enjoy those four days of top basketball."

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Olympic Qualifying Preparations in Split: Croatia Basketball Tops Puerto Rico in Friendly

June 24, 2021 - Croatia basketball topped Puerto in a friendly match during their Olympic qualifying preparations in Split. 

The Croatia men's national team defeated Puerto Rico 74-59 in the preparatory match for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Split at Spaladium arena next week.

After an even first quarter, Croatia pulled ahead in the second and, despite a poorer shooting performance (three-pointers 2-18), easily controlled the game until the end. It should be emphasized that Croatia will be at an even higher level in the Olympic qualifying tournament, especially when Bojan Bogdanović officially joins the team. Bojan arrived in Split on Wednesday and followed the course of events from the bench.

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Burak Canboy

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Burak Canboy

Croatia played an excellent three quarters defensively and the chemistry and the spirit of unity can be felt in the national team.

It should be mentioned that Mario Hezonja is in great form. He scored 13 points with 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Miro Bilan had 3 rebounds with 15 points, and Ante Žižić (11 points, 5 rebounds) gives great confidence to his teammates by playing under the basket.

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Burak Canboy

Although Puerto Rico is behind Slovenia in terms of quality, Croatia is certainly improving. And at the right time.

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Burak Canboy

Veljko Mršić - Croatia coach

"We played a good game, above all great in defense, except for the first 10 minutes. I would say that the defensive performance is in line with what we showed in the first four qualifying matches, the European Championship. The attack worked well at times. However, I expect it to be better, more fluid and to get rid of the ball faster. Following that was our game in the final quarter. That's what we want. If we play that way, we will have many good attacking positions, and the shots will start to come in. Today we shot badly, but most of those shots were open shots from crafted actions, so that doesn’t worry me.

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Burak Canboy

Last night we had a solid two-hour training, and the players were certainly tired from it. We’re missing two players who are proudly playing in the NBA Western Conference Finals, and we can’t use them. We will play for them in this tournament as well. We have a good team composed of quality players, but our task is to make a top team because that is the only way to achieve the goal we have. We have not placed any imperative, nor do we want to place it. The current imperative is to be better with each new training. To play as a team, keep this level of defense because then no matter what the attack will be, we can be satisfied and have a great chance to go to the Olympics. We will also need a lot of support from the stands. You saw how much that meant to Split in the Croatian Championship finals and then to Višnjik Zadar. We expect something like that in Split as well, for the audience to be the sixth player and to find that path to success together.”

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Burak Canboy

Miro Bilan:

"One of the tasks we were given in the locker room was related to a smaller number of received points than against Slovenia. Slovenia went twice over 90, and as the defense has adorned us in the qualifications so far, it is clear why it was imperative, so we succeeded. We played a great 30 minutes as a team with dedicated defense. Until the Olympic qualifying tournament, we have to work on adapting Bogdanović. His appearance instills confidence in us, but because of his quality, it will attract the attention of opposing defenses and open the way for others to make shots. Among other things, opponents will have to prepare a lot more for him and no one doubts that he is a big plus for us. It will surely fall into place. Today, we made some attacks much easier. There's still room, but I don't care about the attack. Hezonja is in great shape, so is Ukić. I don't care about tonight's trio as long as we share assists and play this kind of defense."

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Burak Canboy

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Burak Canboy

Mateo Drežnjak:

"Although it is a friendly match, it is important that we won to raise our self-confidence before the tournament, after two defeats to Slovenia. We started a little more relaxed and then raised the defense, which we did not have in two games against Slovenia. As soon as we raised our aggression in the second quarter and scored a couple of easy points, we were up by 6-7 points, and then by 10, and the advantage grew. Everyone got a chance, and I sincerely hope that there will be more spectators at the qualifiers to support us in a week because it’s easier with the fans. Every match in the tournament will be difficult. The most important thing is to get out of the group first, and then from game to game and, if possible, win the tournament."

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Burak Canboy

Source: HKS

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Monday, 21 June 2021

EuroBasket Women 2021: Croatia to Face Bosnia & Herzegovina in Quarter-Final Qualifying Match

June 21, 2021 - Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina will meet in the EuroBasket Women 2021 quarter-final qualifying match tonight at 18:00!

In the most important group stage match at the European Women's Basketball Championship, Croatia defeated the Czech Republic 84-56 in Strasbourg on Sunday and will play the qualifying match for the quarterfinals, where they will meet the national team of Bosnia & Herzegovina, reports HKS.

After the initial test of strength, Croatia took the lead 27-17 on the wings of the playful trio Dojkić - Slonjšak - Tikvić. In the final 50 seconds of the first quarter, the Czechs halved the score (27-22).

The Croatia crisis lasted in the opening five minutes of the third quarter in which they allowed their opponents to return to the game (29-29). Coach Stipe Bralić used two time-outs. After the second, Ivana Dojkić immediately scored a three-pointer. It was a sign of a new onslaught for Croatia who returned to plus 10 (31-41).

In the third quarter, Croatia's advantage grew from minute to minute, and they played the best basketball of their championship so far. In the 25th minute, it was +22 (34-56) and at the beginning of the last quarter +27 (45-72). No one could stop the Croatian machine that came back from being heavily defeated by France (-42) at the opening of the championship.

Ivana Dojkić (24 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds), Iva Slonjšak (18 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists), Ivana Tikvić (17 points, 8 rebounds), and Ana-Marija Begić (13 points, 10 rebounds) were the best players on the court. The others complimented them brilliantly for a great and well-deserved celebration.

Coach Stipe Bralić did not hide his satisfaction after the victory and optimism before the match against Bosnia & Herzegovina:

"We played stably and calmly with good shots and quality play in attack, and firmly and strongly in defense. The Czechs didn't stand a chance. This is the first victory of the Croatia women's national team against the Czech Republic since independence. It is important to have a good rest and surprise tomorrow against Bosnia, stop their American Jones, who is probably the best player in the world, and place among the eight best, which would be a phenomenal success. The girls will do their best and with a little luck, I hope for success," Bralić emphasized.

National team members Ivana Dojkić and Iva Slonjšak are also optimistic.

"We did our best in defense and attack. Every girl who came in gave me extra energy and I'm really proud of all the girls and that's how we should continue," said Dojkić, whose words were followed by Slonjšak:

"Tomorrow against Bosnia & Herzegovina we need the same energy. Let's go for all or nothing. I believe that the players, as they are today, will do their job. Let's do the best we can."

The two teams meet tonight at 18:00. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Huge Boost for Croatia: Bojan Bogdanović in Split for Olympic Qualifiers!

June 20, 2021 - Croatia is thrilled to have Bojan Bogdanović in Split for the Olympic qualifiers at Spaladium Arena from June 29 to July 4! 

Croatia basketball player and NBA star for the Utah Jazz Bojan Bogdanović confirmed in an interview for US media that he would play for the national team in the Olympic qualifying tournament, which is being held in Split. Bogdanović and Utah were relegated from the NBA playoffs after a series against the LA Clippers, reports HRT.

"I will play for the national team, so I will already be in full training in seven or eight days," said Bogdanović.

After two defeats in friendly matches against Slovenia, Croatia's next game in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers will be against Puerto Rico on June 23 at the Spaladium Arena, where the tournament will be held for a spot in Tokyo. Veljko Mršić's team will compete against the same national team one day later, on Thursday, June 24.

The tournament for Tokyo is played from June 29 to July 4.

Croatia, Tunisia, and Brazil will meet in the group stage of the qualifying tournament in Split in June. Croatia will play against Brazil on June 30 at 8 pm and the next day against Tunisia at the same time. Brazil and Tunisia will play on June 29, also from 8 pm. After the group stage, there is a day of rest, and on July 3, the semifinal matches are scheduled. The final match is scheduled for July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Croatia's group crosses over with Germany, Russia, and Mexico. The Split tournament and the other three hosted by Belgrade, Kaunas, and Victoria in Canada are scheduled from June 29 to July 4, 2021. 

The competition format has changed in Tokyo. Instead of how it was previously held, in which 12 national teams were divided into two groups of six, and the four best from the group stage continued to compete in the quarterfinals by knockout, the new system divides the teams into three groups of four.

The first two national teams from each of the three groups will advance to the quarterfinals and join the two best of the three third-placed teams. With this system, each match of the group stage becomes even more important, and to win an Olympic medal, it is now necessary to play six instead of the previous eight matches.

The Olympic qualifying tournament at the Spaladium Arena will also be held in front of spectators, reported Slobodna Dalmacija last week. 

At the request of the Croatian Basketball Federation and with the support of the Chief of the Split Civil Protection Headquarters, Bojan Ivošević, consent for the presence of fans in compliance with epidemiological measures was given by the County Civil Protection Headquarters.

Physical distance must be implemented, i.e., a distance of at least two meters must be maintained, and the spectators, technical and organizational staff present must meet one of the following conditions: that they received the second dose of vaccine more than 14 days ago, that they overcame COVID-19 in the last 180 days, that they had recovered from COVID-19 and were vaccinated with a single dose, or that they had been negative on a PCR test, no older than 72 hours, or tested negative in the past 48 hours on a rapid antigen test.

The organizer, the Croatian Basketball Federation, is responsible for controlling the measures and conditions.

The Croatia national team will thus get the desired support from the stands, which could ultimately be its advantage for a spot in Tokyo.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Slovenia Records Second Victory in Croatia Basketball Friendly Preparation Series

June 19, 2021 - Slovenia claimed their second victory in the Croatia basketball friendly preparation series held this week in Rijeka and Ljubljana.

In the second friendly preparatory match, Slovenia defeated Croatia at Arena Stožice in Ljubljana. Croatia looked more determined and coherent than in the first game in Rijeka. 

Croatia was led by the excellent Mario Hezonja, who scored 37 points with 10 defensive rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Captain Roko Leni Ukić scored 23 points and assisted five times, and Miro Bilan reached double-digits with 10 points.

The very beginning of the game was not particularly promising. Slovenia took a 23-8 lead in the first quarter on the wings of Luka Dončić and Klemen Prepelič. Mario Hezonja broke up the bad spell with a three-pointer, and at the very end of the first quarter, Miro Bilan scored with a dunk for 26:15. Slovenia still had a serious lead.

Croatia took off in the second quarter, scoring 37 points in 10 minutes. Despite the good synergy between Luka Dončić and Mike Tobey, Croatia with Hezonja and Ukić showed that it could do much better than the predictions before the game.  

The second half started with an advantage for Croatia, and in the third quarter, Croatia achieved the biggest advantage at 56:64 after a dunk by Luka Babić. The game was then even at 65:65 and 70:70, but Slovenia concluded the third quarter with 77:70 and ultimately sealed the victory in front of 8,000 home fans (97:88). Slovenia's most efficient players were Prepelič (31 points), Tobey (26 points), and 10 points with an incredible 17 assists from Dončić.

Coach Veljko Mršić: “The match was offensive on both sides. We played better than a couple of days ago in Rijeka, but we failed to keep that rhythm with a shortened rotation. We played a good game against a great team, and we managed what no one in the NBA did - keep Luka Dončić at 10 points (laughs), but we didn't manage to reduce his assists. He was impressive and emotional in front of the home crowd. Jokes aside, we took a step forward from what we did a few days ago. Now we are completing the team - the day after tomorrow, Ante Toni Žižić is arriving, and we are expecting a clash between the Clippers and Utah to see if Ivica Zubac or Bojan Bogdanović will come. We expect to be at an even higher level in 10 days and to achieve what we want - qualifying for the Olympic Games."

Captain Roko Leni Ukić: “We played a better game than two days ago. We can be somewhat satisfied, and above all, offensive, although there is certainly still plenty of room for improvement. We had a chance to play against one of the best players in the world. Even though he was not in perfect shape, it was obvious how much he means to his team, how much he plays everything around him, and that is the best test for what awaits us. I think we can get a lot of positive things out of today, but we have to be aware that we have to play better defense if we want to win."

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Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Good News for Croatia Basketball: Fans at Spaladium Arena for Olympic Qualifying Tournament!

June 16, 2021 - Fans at Spaladium Arena will be allowed for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which is great news for the Croatia basketball team. 

Great news for basketball fans in Split and beyond - the Olympic qualifying tournament at the Spaladium Arena (June 29 - July 4) will be held in front of spectators, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

At the request of the Croatian Basketball Federation and with the support of the Chief of the Split Civil Protection Headquarters, Bojan Ivošević, consent for the presence of fans in compliance with epidemiological measures was given by the County Civil Protection Headquarters.

In other words, there are certain rules that need to be followed.

Physical distance must be implemented, i.e., a distance of at least two meters must be maintained, and the spectators, technical and organizational staff present must meet one of the following conditions: that they received the second dose of vaccine more than 14 days ago, that they overcame COVID-19 in the last 180 days, that they had recovered from COVID-19 and were vaccinated with a single dose, or that they had been negative on a PCR test, no older than 72 hours, or tested negative in the past 48 hours on a rapid antigen test.

The organizer, the Croatian Basketball Federation, is responsible for controlling the measures and conditions.

The Croatia national team will thus get the desired support from the stands, which could ultimately be its advantage for a spot in Tokyo.

Croatia, Tunisia, and Brazil will meet in the group stage of the qualifying tournament in Split in June, which crosses over with Germany, Russia, and Mexico. The Split tournament and the other three hosted by Belgrade, Kaunas, and Victoria in Canada are scheduled from June 29 to July 4, 2021. Only one winner qualifies from each tournament, 

The competition format has changed in Tokyo. Instead of how it was previously held, in which 12 national teams were divided into two groups of six, where the four best from the group stage continued to compete in the quarterfinals by a knockout system, the new system divides the teams into three groups of four.

The first two national teams from each of the three groups will advance to the quarterfinals and will be joined by the two best of the three third-placed teams. With this system, each match of the group stage becomes even more important, and to win an Olympic medal, it is now necessary to play six instead of the previous eight matches.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

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