Thursday, 14 July 2022

EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers: Tough Draw for Croatia

July 14, 2022 - Croatia will play Poland, Switzerland, and Austria in the EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers next month. 

After the Croatia national basketball team registered only one victory in the World Cup qualifiers, it became clear that the path to EuroBasket 2025 would be anything but easy. 

That path brings pre-qualifications, or qualifications before the actual qualifications, and today, Croatia learned who they will play against in that stage of the competition, which starts next month. Namely, it is just before this year's EuroBasket, in which Croatia will play the group stage in Italy.

Croatia is in the first pot with five other national teams, which in the end turned out to be the most challenging draw possible - Poland, Switzerland, and Austria.

A total of 12 national teams were divided into three groups of four, whereby six nations, including Croatia, came from the European qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA World Cup and were assigned to specific groups in advance.

The remaining six teams were seeded according to their results in the first pre-qualification round, with one group winner and one non-group winner drawn into each group.

In the end, the prequalification groups for EuroBasket look like this:

Group D: Slovakia, Denmark, North Macedonia, Norway

Group E: Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia

Group F: Cyprus, Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria

The second round of pre-qualifications will be played on three dates in August 2022, November 2022, and February 2023, and the winner of each group will qualify for FIBA EuroBasket 2025.

Cyprus is guaranteed a place in the qualifications as one of the hosts of EuroBasket 2025.

National teams that do not advance from the second round will join those from the first round of pre-qualifications in the third round of pre-qualifications for FIBA EuroBasket 2025, which will be the last chance for all teams to secure a place in the European Championship qualifiers.

EuroBasket 2025 will be held in Cyprus, Latvia, and Finland.

Source: HKS

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Croatia Player List for Upcoming 2023 Basketball World Cup Qualifications Published

June 7, 2022 - At the end of June, the 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifications will take place, in which Croatia will play against Slovenia and Finland. 

The Croatia basketball team expects an away match in Slovenia and a home match against Finland in Rijeka later this month. 

June 30, 2022, at 20:15 Slovenia - CROATIA (Arena Stožice, Ljubljana)
July 3, 2022, at 20:00 CROATIA - Finland (Zamet Center, Rijeka)

Coach Damir Mulaomerović led Croatia in the last cycle in February, when the national team recorded a defeat and a victory against Sweden. With that victory, Croatia remains in the race for a spot at the 2023 World Cup.

"We have decided on a wider list of 26 players. There were a lot of unknowns about playing NBA players, and in the meantime, we got confirmation that they can train from June 27 onwards, so only three days before the game. So we have a wider list, and all the players deserve to be on it. From that base, we will select those who will come to the preparations on June 15. So we will invite a few more players because we will not be able to use NBA players until the 27th. Of course, we will also watch who finished the competitions and refresh some guys and I hope that as many of us as possible will come to the initial gathering. We have certain problems because, for example, Karlo Matković is in training in the NBA, but we will solve some problems on the fly and soon publish a short list of players for preparations in Opatija," said coach Mulaomerović eight days before the start of preparations.

The 2023 Basketball World Cup will be played in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines next year. 

3rd cycle 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifications 

  • Roko Rogić
  • Goran Filipović
  • Lovro Gnjidić
  • Mate Kalajžić
  • Borna Kapusta
  • Bojan Bogdanović
  • Mario Hezonja
  • Filip Krušlin
  • Sven Smajlagić
  • Mateo Drežnjak
  • Toni Perković
  • Dominik Mavra
  • Toni Jelenković
  • Ivan Ramljak
  • Pavle Marčinković
  • Toni Nakić
  • Roko Prkačin
  • Željko Šakić
  • Tomislav Zubčić
  • Matej Rudan
  • Dario Drežnjak
  • Dragan Bender
  • Ivica Zubac
  • Ante Toni Žižić
  • Karlo Matković
  • Danko Branković

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

Monday, 28 February 2022

2023 Basketball World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Celebrates in Double-Overtime against Sweden!

February 28, 2022 - It was a double-overtime win for Croatia against Sweden in the 4th round of the 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifiers!

Croatia and Sweden met in Norrköping on Monday, with Croatia celebrating after double overtime 105-98 (14-21, 12-20, 24-18, 29-20 / 9-9, 17-10). Their first victory in the group keeps their chances alive of advancing to the next round.

In the marathon match in Norrköping, Croatia reached their first victory in the group, winning after two overtime periods. Filip Krušlin scored in the first overtime five seconds before the buzzer, and Goran Filipović scored a three-pointer in the second overtime.

Croatia was behind for almost the entire game, and Sweden led by 15 points at halftime (25-41). However, Croatia was able to turn things around in the last quarter. 

Three minutes before the end, Croatia took the 73-70 lead to bring the game to the dramatic finale. Sweden's Hackanson hit three free throws for 79-77 just 27 seconds before the end, but Filip Krušlin equalized five seconds before the final buzzer and took the game into overtime.

Sweden was ahead in the first five additional minutes, but Goran Filipović scored a three-pointer for 88-88 with 16 seconds to go. Ramljak then blocked Hackanson, and the second overtime came into play. 

With three-pointers by Ramljak and Krušlin, Croatia gained an advantage of 96-90. A new three-pointer by Tomislav Zubčić two minutes before the end put Croatia ahead 101-95, an advantage they managed to keep until the final buzzer. 

Goran Filipović was the best for Croatia with 29 points, Filip Krušlin scored 21, and Karlo Matković 16, while Ludvig Hakanson led Sweden with 31. 

In this group, Finland previously beat Slovenia 83-79 away.

Finland has three victories, Slovenia and Sweden two, and Croatia one. The first three national teams in the group move to the next round of the competition.

Croatia still needs to play Finland and Slovenia.

Source: HRT

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

Friday, 25 February 2022

2023 World Basketball Cup Qualifications: Sweden Tops Croatia in Zagreb 70-64

February 25, 2022 - The Croatia national team recorded their third defeat in Group C of 2023 World Basketball Cup qualifications. Sweden celebrated 70-64 in Zagreb (18-15, 17-20, 17-10, 18-19).

At the moment, Croatia is in an extremely difficult situation in the standings, although three of the four teams go to the next round of qualifications. However, Finland, Sweden, and Slovenia have a 2-1 ratio, and Croatia 0-3.

Croatia fell behind from the beginning of the game, with Sweden up 6-0 and 9-3. Croatia managed to reduce the gap relatively quickly but also got into new problems after Sweden took the 24-15 lead.

Croatia struggled, especially in the attack, but somehow held their own and went into halftime at 35-35.

The third quarter caused a lot of trouble for Croatia, and in the opening eight minutes, Croatia scored only five points (all five by Šakić). Sweden was close to a double-digit advantage during most of the quarter. Nevertheless, Croatia found the strength for a new comeback. 

With a three-pointer by Gnjidić, Croatia equalized to 60-60 six minutes before the end. Smajlagić also reduced the score thanks to a three-pointer for 63-65, but in the end, Damir Mulaomerović's side was ultimately left without the win.

Croatia's shooting average was below 37 percent and the team struggled in the attack. Tomislav Zubčić was the only one to reach 20 points and four rebounds. No other Croatia player reached double-digits. Gnjidić, Krušlin, Smajlagić, and Šakić scored eight each, with Krušlin adding six rebounds.

Viktor Gaddefors scored 16 points for Sweden with five rebounds, while Simon Birgander added 12 points. 

The three best national teams from each group will move on to the next phase of the competition. The top three teams in Group C will create a new group with the top three teams in Group D. Points from the first round are carried over to the rest of the competition.

Croatia and Sweden meet again on Monday, February 28, in Norrkoping.

Source: HRT

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

 

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

2023 World Cup Qualifiers: Krušlin and Mulaomerović Talk Croatia Basketball Ahead of Sweden

February 22, 2022 - Captain Filip Krušlin and coach Damir Mulaomerović discuss the state of the Croatia basketball team ahead of the crucial 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Sweden. 

On Friday, February 25 at 18:30, the Croatia national team will play a crucial qualifying match against Sweden for the 2023 World Cup at the Dražen Petrović Sports Center in Zagreb. Three days later, Sweden will host Croatia.

On that occasion, a press conference was held at the Dražen Petrović Cultural Center, attended by coach Damir Mulaomerović, the new-old captain of the national team Filip Krušlin, and the general secretary Josip Vranković, who started the conference:

"It is my pleasure to announce a new qualification cycle. Right at the beginning, I would like to thank the City of Rijeka and all participants in the Cup final, and I hope that, as in Rijeka, we will have understanding from the epidemiological service because of the interest in this match and will change the percentage of spectators allowed to matches. I would also like to emphasize that the Federation has worked hard on the roster and done everything to keep some players here. Still, some situations that are not within our competence are not in our favor, so about 90% of the players who are at preparations are the ones who will be combined for the matches against Sweden."

Croatia captain, Filip Krušlin, is a returnee to the national team and was asked about the synergy with the national team:

“These are all guys I know, more or less. I played with some of them as a cadet. We are working well and training, and we have a few more days to prepare for the critical first game. After that, we will certainly do the best we can and come ready for the game. I hope for a better performance from our side and a victory. That would be very important to us." 

Coach Damir Mulaomerović did not spare words of praise for his national team members:

“These 15 guys, with their behavior and approach to training, have already shown at the beginning that they are the right team. A difficult match awaits us, and it will be the most difficult to determine the twelve who will run on the floor on Friday because they are all really on the upper limit - with intensity, approach, everything that should adorn one team. We are all aware of our situation, but I am sure that the guys will do their best. "

What is the emphasis on training?

"They are all professionals with experience, so the emphasis is on the tactical part. We have slightly simplified how we will defend and prepare for individual characteristics. Time is short, and we can't go into too much detail. But I can say that I am satisfied with the training so far and the players' reaction. "

Is there an imperative to win, given the first two qualifying matches?

"We put the greatest imperative on ourselves; of course, we go for the victory in every game. But, unfortunately, those first two games went to the other team. There was a lack of luck. However, the most important thing is what awaits us - Sweden is a good team, but I think that with this roster, with the experience brought by some players, we have more options, and I believe we will prepare well and believe in victory." 

Captain Kruslin received a similar question - Is there any pressure before the games?

"Pressure in sports is normal; it is nothing new or different. We need to get the first two games off the sidelines. It’s something that happened and something we can’t change. We have a new opportunity, I am sure we are competitive, and we can win both games. It is not disputed that they have a good team, but so do we. Of course, playing for the national team always carries some pressure, but it's all part of the sport."

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

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Croatia Lineup Published for Upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers

February. 15, 2022 - The second set of qualifying matches for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup starts in ten days. Croatia coach Damir Mulaomerović has published the list of players he will use for the next two games. 

On Friday, February 25, starting at 18:30, the Croatia national team will host Sweden in Zagreb, and on Sunday, February 28, starting at 19:00, Croatia will finish the second set of matches in the Swedish town of Norrkoping.

The coach of the national team, Damir Mulaomerović, published a wider national team list with 24 candidates. The coach conducted many interviews and sent an invitation to all representative candidates who, given the competition system, can participate at all. For example, Miro Bilan thanked Mulaomerović for the invitation, saying that he wants to leave the national team jersey to the younger players, while Ivan Buva has a hip injury. Mario Hezonja and Kruno Simon, Croatian Euroleague players who would mean a lot to the national team, are also on the wider list.

List of players

Roko Badžim – Szolnoki
Darko Bajo – KK Split
Josip Batinić – KK Cedevita Junior
Danko Branković – KK Cibona
Filip Bundović – KK Cedevita Junor
Dario Drežnjak – KK Zadar
Mateo Drežnjak – KK Cibona
Goran Filipović – KK Cedevita Junior
Lovro Gnjidić – KK Cibona
Mario Hezonja – UNICS Kazan
Antonio Jordano – KK Zadar
Mate Kalajžić – KK Gorica
Filip Krušlin – Dinamo Sassari
Pavle Marčinković – KK Zadar
Karlo Matković – Mega Mozzart
Dominik Mavra – KK Zadar
Ivan Ramljak – Slask Wroclaw
Roko Rogić – Twarde Pierniki Torun
Matej Rudan – Mega Mozzart
Krunoslav Simon – Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Sven Smajlagić – Nevezis
Željko Šakić – Avtodor
Antonio Vranković – JIP Pardubice
Tomislav Zubčić – Tofaş S.K.
Coach: Damir Mulaomerović
Assistant coach: Aramis Naglić
Assistant coach: Vladimir Krstić

2nd cycle of 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifications
February 25, 2022 at 18:30 Croatia - Sweden (KC Dražen Petrović, Zagreb)
February 28, 2022 at 19:00 Sweden - Croatia (Norrkoping)
*Tickets for the home match against Sweden are on sale at ulaznice.hr, and both matches will be broadcast live by SportKlub.

The 2023 World Cup qualifiers are played in six qualifying cycles of two matches, divided into rounds 1 and 2, as was the case with the qualifiers for the last World Cup. The next cycles are in June 2022, August 2022, November 2022, and February 2023.

The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held in Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia next year. 

Source: HKS

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

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

New Croatia Basketball Coach Damir Mulaomerović Presented in Zagreb

January 26, 2022 - The new Croatia national team basketball coach, Damir Mulaomerović, was presented at a press conference held on Tuesday at the Aristos Hotel in Zagreb. 

The president of the Croatian Basketball Federation, Stojko Vranković, the vice-president, Nikola Rukavina, and the general secretary, Josip Vranković, were also present at the conference.

"Congratulations to the coach Damir Mulaomerović and I thank him because it is not a great situation in terms of results. However, knowing Damir, not only as a player but also as a man, knowing his character, I think he will do his best to do a good job and get good results," said HKS president Stojko Vranković in the introductory speech.

HKS vice president Nikola Rukavina, as well as the president, congratulated the new coach: "I would like to wish Damir and the entire Federation success in the coming period, and I hope that we will return basketball to some more successful paths. Damir, congratulations, and I wish you much success!"

General Secretary Josip Vranković also joined the congratulations: "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Damir on his new position at this difficult time. At the same time, I would like to clarify a few technical details. As you know, the Federation has always insisted in its ranks, given all the circumstances, but at this point, we had to respect the current situation. Thus, Damir will continue to work as the Cedevita Junior coach at the same time as the Croatia coach. This is not the first time - and last year, when Zadar was in a specific situation, there was understanding, and HKS met Zadar in a certain way. However, on this occasion, the situation went in the opposite direction." 

Coach Damir Mulaomerović thanked the media representatives for the great response, as well as the HKS leadership for the opportunity and trust, and continued: "I must also emphasize that Veljko's decision should be respected and he should be thanked for what he did. We will try to mobilize and do what is best in exactly one month until the games against Sweden. I have already started some conversations with the players, and I think it will be quite good. I know there will be a lot of questions, there will be people for and against, that is normal. However, you all more or less know me as a player and now as a coach, and you know that I am a man of character and that I will do my best for the best possible results."

Asked if he was hesitant when the call came, coach Mulaomerovic replied: "The conversation went quite well. It was a logical sequence given that I know the material and the players, and I must emphasize that I am thrilled that these people sitting here believe in me and what I do. It would be ungrateful to leave them, especially in this situation, I think it is clear to everyone.

We will all do everything in our power to win these two games and restore hope and everything after that. The deciding factor was that I know these players best since most of them will be from the domestic championship; we are all aware of the problems with the players. Of course, we will try to get players from outside, talk to everyone."

"As for the players' response, we will call everyone, give everyone a chance to express themselves. We are interested in players who want to play, who will be there for Croatia, especially in moments like this. I think we all need to forget what happened and get the best out of it for what we have.

Another thing, look at the situation in handball with COVID-19; we have to take care of that as well. I want all the players healthy. As for the game itself, I do not doubt those guys. They will be asked to do their best. I will try with my knowledge and energy to create a good atmosphere and for the guys to come out and show everything they know. First of all, we are focusing on that first game, which is the most important at the moment."

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

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Veljko Mršić No Longer Croatia Men's Basketball Team Coach

January 19, 2022 - The Croatian Basketball Federation and the Croatia men's national team coach, Veljko Mršić, have reached an agreement to terminate cooperation.

Veljko Mršić took over the national team by the decision of the HKS Board of Directors in May 2019, led the first games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and together with his professional staff, and great effort of players, successfully passed through the qualifications for the European championship.

At the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split, Croatia did not secure a spot in Japan. In November 2021, a new cycle of qualifications for the World Cup began. The national team started with two defeats and now faces a difficult path in the fight to qualify. The European Championship is scheduled for September 2022.

A session of the HKS Management Board confirming the amicable termination of cooperation was held on January 18, 2022.

"The Croatian Basketball Federation thanks Mr. Mršić for his time and enormous effort, for his contribution to the efforts aimed at strengthening Croatian basketball, and certainly for his cooperation. This way, I would like to wish him a lot of success in his future business engagements," said the president of HKS, Stojko Vranković, when discussing the contract termination. 

Coach Veljko Mršić thanked HKS and his associates for their cooperation:

"After almost three years of good cooperation, I thank the Croatian Basketball Federation for the trust that resulted in the successful placement of the national team at the European Championships, which was defined as the primary goal. A special and sincere thanks go to the players who selflessly gave their best at all times. I would also like to thank all the people who were involved in the work of the national team, the employees of the Federation, and the professional staff for their support. I wish the professional staff support and the entire national team a lot of success in the continuation of the qualifications with a great desire to see Croatia at the World Cup."

The Croatian Basketball Federation will soon comment on further actions regarding the Croatian men's team.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Toni Kukoč Reveals Biggest Problems in Croatian Basketball Today

January 4, 2022 - Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls legend Toni Kukoč gives his take on the biggest problems in Croatian basketball today. 

Before filming the show 'U svom filmu', which will be shown on Croatian television on Tuesday, January 11, legendary Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoč interviewed with HTV's Dnevnik.

The three-time NBA champion spoke about the current status of the Croatia national basketball team.

"It's not an easy question. I've been saying a lot lately that our biggest problem is our best players can't play for the national team. They are maximally exhausted from numerous obligations in the NBA league even when they come. We need to find some formula for the best players to play for their national teams to qualify for the World and European Championships and the Olympic Games. Until that happens, we will have problems. We have quality players, but our five, six best players play in the NBA league. That is our biggest problem. If we played in a full squad and had some continuity, I don't see that we would have any problems qualifying for the big competitions."

What can be done to change that?

"In my opinion, this is the biggest problem. We have good players who play significant roles in their teams in the NBA year after year, but we can’t put them together and find some continuity of work here. It is known that national teams that have success in championships and the Olympic Games have a certain amount of real preparation. It used to be three or four months, now it's hard to expect, but you have to find a month before the championship to do something significant. People can’t get together three days before a tournament and have some results made. This may have been possible before, when you had three, four, or five players who played for the same team, so they knew each other well and knew how and what to do together, and now there are players who play completely different schemes in different teams, and to expect them to be brought to the national team and to click in three days is hard to expect. It is difficult and ungrateful to expect that basketball players can do something like that."

How do you see the performances of Bojan Bogdanović and Ivica Zubac in the NBA?

"They play great; they have continuity, Utah is third in the West, Zubac also plays great for the Clippers. Bojan is one of the most experienced NBA players, we know what he can give, and he gives it from game to game."

What does he think of the NBA league then and now?

"It's different; there's a lot more shooting now than in our time. However, when you talk to the generations from 50 years ago, they think that they played the best basketball, every generation thinks that they played the best basketball." 

You can see the interview HERE.

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

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Croatia Men's Basketball Team Opens EuroBasket 2022 in Milan

December 7, 2021 - The EuroBasket 2022 will be held in September next year in Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Georgia. Croatia will open the tournament in Milan against Greece, Great Britain, Estonia, Italy, and Ukraine. 

The schedule for the 41st edition of the European Basketball Championship (EuroBasket), which will be held from September 1 to 18 next year in Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Georgia has been announced. The Croatia national basketball team has already qualified for this competition. 

Namely, Croatia will play in Group C at Eurobasket, and all five games will be played in Milan's Mediolanum Forum.

Veljko Mršić's selected team will face Greece in the first round on September 2 at 5:00 pm. A day later at 2:15 pm, Croatia will face Great Britain. The third round is scheduled for September 5, and Croatia will play against Estonia, again at 2:15 pm.

In the 4th round, on September 6, Croatia will play against the host Italy (9:00 pm), and in the last round two days later against Ukraine starting at 2:15 pm.

Spain, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Belgium, and Bulgaria will play in Group A in Tbilisi.

Germany, France, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will fight in Group B in Cologne. Group D matches will be played in Prague, and Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Israel, and the Netherlands will compete.

The four best national teams from each group will advance to the round of 16. The national teams from Group C, which includes Croatia, will cross over with the teams from Group D, led by Serbia.

The European Championship continues in Berlin from the round of 16.

SCHEDULE OF GROUP MATCHES:
Round 1 - September 2:
Ukraine - Great Britain (14:15)
CROATIA - Greece (17:00)
Italy - Estonia (21:00)

Round 2 - September 3:
Great Britain - CROATIA (14:15)
Estonia - Ukraine (17:00)
Italy - Greece (21:00)

Round 3 - September 5:
CROATIA - Estonia (14:15)
Great Britain - Greece (17:00)
Ukraine - Italy (21:00)

Round 4 - September 6:
Estonia - Great Britain (14:15)
Greece - Ukraine (17:00)
Italy - CROATIA (21:00)

Round 5 - September 8:
CROATIA - Ukraine (14:15)
Estonia - Greece (17:00)
Great Britain - Italy (21:00)

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

 

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