Sunday, 25 September 2022

Croatia Beat Austria for UEFA Nations League Finals Spot!

September 25, 2022 - Croatia beats Austria 3:1 in Vienna for a spot in the UEFA Nations League finals! Croatia thus finished at the top of Group 1 and is among the final four teams in the Nations League A. 

Croatia and Austria met on Sunday night at the Ernst Happel stadium for the last match in the UEFA Nations League group stage. 

The Austrian Football Association announced that more than 40,000 tickets had been sold, but the bigger news was that around 20,000 fans would be cheering for Croatia, even though Austria predicted 2,700 tickets for the visiting team. 

After beating Denmark in Zagreb on Thursday, the road to the Nations League Finals was clear. Croatia would secure first place in Group 1 and the final tournament with the victory against Austria. With a loss or a draw, Croatia would also advance, however, only if Denmark did not beat France in Copenhagen at the same time.

Recall, Croatia defeated Denmark twice and France once, after opening the competition with an unpleasant defeat in Osijek against Austria. It was Austria's only victory in the group, while they took a point against France and lost their other three matches. 

Lineups

Austria: Lindner, Trimmel, Posch, Danso, Alaba, Baumgartner, Seiwald, X.Schlager, Sabitzer, Arnautović, Gregoritsch

Croatia: Livaković, Stanišić, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barišić, Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić, Vlašić, Budimir, Perišić 

Match Report

Croatia's first attack came in the 3rd minute, which resulted in a corner kick. Modric found Brozovic, who missed the ball and gave Austria a quick counterattack. 

Croatia regained possession, and Perisic moved quickly up the left wing before cutting into the box but failed to get a shot off.  

Croatia's brilliant start of the game was rewarded with a goal in the 6th minute. Vlasic masterfully won the ball in the midfield to find captain Luka Modric to score for 0:1 Croatia! 

But a wake-up call for Croatia came two minutes later. A hospital ball from Stanisic to an Austria player found Baumgartner for 1:1. 

More bad news came for Croatia in the 16th minute. Brozovic overextended his left leg and immediately dropped to the ground. The player called to be subbed off for what looked like a hamstring injury. Lovro Majer was subbed on in the 18th minute. 

Arnautovic weakly shot at Livakovic from 20 meters out in the 22nd minute. 

Austria's best chance came a minute later. Baumgartner shot between Croatia's stoppers and missed just wide of the goal. A lucky miss for Croatia. 

Austria possessed well and had another close chance in the 35th minute. A misunderstanding between Livaković and Gvardiol saw them awkwardly collide. The ball came to Baumgartner, who turned to shoot but luckily went over the goal.

Austria looked better as the half progressed, and Livakovic brilliantly saved Croatia from a goal after Arnautovic was one-on-one with the Croatia keeper. 

Vlasic brought some life back for Croatia with a shot in the 45th minute. Four minutes of stoppage time were added to the half.  The match went into halftime at 1:1.

The second half started without any changes for either team. Perisic was shown a yellow card in the 47th minute. 

Budimir fell in the penalty area in the 53rd minute, but there wasn't enough contact to be called for a penalty. 

Croatia attacked well in the 55th minute. Modric played through to Vlasic, who crossed in the box to Budimir, but the Austria defense prevented a shot. 

Austria was awarded a free kick in the 58th minute but shot into Croatia's wall. The ref called for another free kick for Austria, this time in closer range to the goal. Lovren was shown a yellow card for intentionally playing with his hand. A double block by the Croatia defense stopped the play. 

Dalic subbed on Marko Livaja for Ante Budimmir and Borna Sosa for Borna Barisic in the 62nd minute. Wober, Lainer, and Cham entered for Arnautović, Posch, and Trimmel. 

A great attack for Croatia saw Kovacic get a shot off which was deflected for a corner. 

Another incredible save by Livakovic from a Gregoritsch header. 

Perisic was one-on-one with the Austria defense in the 66th minute and forced a corner. 

But then it finally happened. Croatia's midfield found Perisic on the left, who crossed far post to Livaja. Livaja moved behind the Austria defender and headed near post into the goal for 1:2 Croatia in the 69th minute! 

And then another Croatia corner in the 71st minute. Modric played short to Majer, who found Lovren alone far post. A diving header into the opposite side of the goal, and it was 1:3 for Croatia! 

Croatia played smart in the last 10 minutes, keeping possession of the ball without any unnecessary risks.

Kramarić and Pašalić were subbed on for Kovačić and Vlašić in the 84th minute. 

Three minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match and the match ended 1:3 for Croatia! 

With this result, Croatia finishes at the top of Group 1 and advances to the UEFA Nations League Finals! The final tournament will be held from 14 to 18 June 2023 and will feature the four group winners of Nations League A. 

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

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Croatia Moves to Top of Nations League Group with Win against Denmark in Zagreb!

September 22, 2022 - Croatia beats Denmark 2:1 in Zagreb and moves to the top of their Nations League group! 

Croatia and Denmark met at a sold-out Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Thursday night in the 5th round of the Nations League.  

Before tonight's match, Demark led the group with nine points, while Croatia was two points behind with 7. A win would bring them to the top of the group. 

Croatia also played for the first time in their new kits, which they will wear at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

The winner of the group travels to the Nations League final tournament, which is scheduled for June next year, while the bottom team moves to League B.

Before the national anthems, recently retired national team member Šime Vrsaljko was honored by the Croatian Football Federation. 22,715 fans were in attendance. 

Lineups

Croatia (4-3-3): Livaković - Juranović, Josip Šutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Pašalić, Kramarić, Perišić

Denmark (4-3-3): Schmeichel - Andersen, A. Christensen, Kjaer, Maehle - Wass, Höjbjerg, Delaney - Skov Olsen, Eriksen, Braithwaite

Match Report

Luka had the first attack of the match in the 2nd minute and played up the pitch with Kramaric. Luka took the ball to the goal line and got Croatia's first corner. Luka sent the ball in, but Sosa played back into the box to find Gvardiol's head. Brozovic shot over the goal in the 5th minute. 

Perisic and Kramaric played up the left wing in Croatia's next attack, but Perisic played to the keeper. In the 7th minute, Mario Pasalic sent the ball in front of the opponent's goal, but it was cleared by the defense. 

Denmark finally began possessing from the 10th minute. Sosa cleared a dangerous shot by Eriksen and Croatian regained possession. Luka was brilliant again in the 15th minute, dribbling into the Denmark box and crossing into the penalty area. No Croatia player could get to the ball quick enough. Denmark then forced a quick counter which resulted in their first corner. 

Croatia's best chance came in the 16th minute when Perisic crossed into the box from the goal line. The ball was then played out to Kovacic, who shanked over the goal. 

Perisic's shot in the 21st minute also went over the goal. Daniel Wass had a great chance for Denmark in the next play but just missed the goal.

Another great attack for Croatia in the 25th minute went out for a corner. The ball ultimately found Gvardiol's head but went out of play. 

Livakovic saved a dangerous chance from Denmark in the 34th minute. Joakim Maehle fought for space but show low in the middle of the goal and straight into Livakovic's hands.

Ivan Perišić received a yellow card in the 36th minute. 

Eriksen shot from outside the box in the 38th minute, forcing Livakovic to punch the ball out for a corner. 

Croatia kept possession with short passes and waited for a hole in the defense. The match ended 0:0 at halftime. 

The second half started without any changes. 

Croatia's first corner of the second half came in the 47th minute. The ball came out to Borna Sosa at the top of the box, who shot low in the bottom left corner of the goal for 1:0 Croatia!

Kramaric shot from a distance in the next attack but went over the goal.  

Modric was fouled on the edge of the box in the 56th minute. Perisic shot low near post but hit the outside net. 

Denmark made their first subs in the 60th minute. Mikkel Damsgaard came on for Martin Braithwaite, Rasmus Hojlund for Thomas Delaney, and  Rasmus Kristensen for Daniel Wass.

Luka and Perisic had a great play in the 65th minute, and Luka's shot was blocked by the Denmark keeper. Kramaric tried to score on his own in the next attack but played to the Denmark defense. 

Kovacic missed a great opportunity in the 69th minute.

Dalic subbed off Pasalic, Perisic, and Kramaric for Vlasic, Orsic, and Petkovic in the71st minute. Mathias Jensen was subbed for Simon Kjaer.

A lapse in the Croatia defense gave Eriksen space to shoot in the 77th minute. The Denmark star nailed the upper corner of the goal to tie the game. 

Mateo Kovačić was replaced by Lovro Majer in the 79th minute, which resulted in a goal seconds after he entered the pitch. Majer shot with his left foot into the right corner of the goal for 2:1 Croatia! 

Croatia's defense cleared a dangerous Denmark chance in the 84th minute. The play continued and Livakovic kept the game a 2:1. 

Denmark was hungry to equalize, but Croatia remained solid. Vlasic had a chance in the 90th minute, and the ref added 4 mins of stoppage time. Denmark had a scary chance in the final minutes.  

Luka Modric was subbed off in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for Domagoj Vida. 

The match ended 2:1 for Croatia! Croatia plays Austria next on Sunday in Vienna. 

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

Thursday, 15 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Croatia Team Announced for Denmark and Austria Nations League Matches

September 5, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the list of players for the September Denmark and Austria Nations League matches.

After four rounds, Croatia holds second place in the group with seven points, and with two wins, they would secure first place and thus a place in the Nations League final tournament. Croatia can reach the "Final Four" in other ways, and it needs a point to avoid the last place that leads to League B, reports HNS

Croatia will host Denmark at Maksimir on September 22 at 8:45 pm and play against Austria three days later at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna (8:45 pm). Tickets for both matches can be found HERE.

The 2018 World Cup finalists will gather on September 19 in Zagreb, and coach Dalić has invited 25 players with seven potential call-ups. 

"We still have two weeks until we reunite, and during that period, we will intensively monitor the reserve players and see who else we could call up. Also, in agreement with the U-21 national team coach, Igor Bišćan, we will consider whether any of the players invited here join the young national team for the crucial match against Denmark," said coach Dalić.

"As is usual at the start of the season, we have certain challenges - some have injury problems, some players have changed clubs, and some have changed status within the team. Clearly, this list largely reflects our thoughts ahead of the World Cup, but we have more than two months until then and, of course, the fight for certain positions is still open," said the coach.

"We did a great job with victories in Denmark and France; these were performances that boost confidence and confirm the high potential and quality of our national team. With these results, we put ourselves in a position to secure the final tournament, which would be an outstanding result in such a competition, but we know that it will not be easy. We saw at home against Austria what it means if we are not at one hundred percent from the first minute - the only way is maximum togetherness and compactness. We're going step by step, we value both opponents, but we believe in ourselves, and of course, we're going for two victories," coach Dalić is optimistic.

"First of all, given the calendar this year, we must see these matches as preparation for the World Cup. Therefore, we want to see a compact, competitive, and ready Croatia, and at the same time gain knowledge about what we still need to improve before Qatar," concluded Dalić.

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Lovre Kalinić, Ivica Ivušić

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

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

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

Reserves: Josip Brekalo, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Luka Ivanušec, Marin Pongračić, Kristijan Jakić, Antonio Mirko Čolak, Nediljko Labrović

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

Friday, 26 August 2022

"It's Time": Šime Vrsaljko Retires from Croatia National Team

August 26, 2022 - The long-time Croatia national team player and 2018 FIFA World Cup silver medalist has decided to end his national team career. Šime Vrsaljko says goodbye to Croatia. 

Šime Vrsaljko's goodbye letter is transmitted in full below:

It's an indescribable feeling to wear that red and white jersey, go out in front of the Croatia fans, put your hand on your heart and sing the national anthem. Yes, you feel a huge burden at that moment because you know that for the next 90 minutes, an entire nation wishes the same as you - victory, triumph, celebration. But above all, you feel immeasurable pride that you - with your teammates - have the privilege of representing your country.

Because of this emotion, it is not easy to make the decision that it is over. Accept that it is time for younger players and that you can no longer give what you could before. That you will no longer put on the sacred jersey, that you will no longer celebrate important goals and victories with Croatia, or hug everyone before the big game and shout from the bottom of your lungs to the captain's "Above all":

"CROATIA!"

It is not easy to say goodbye because playing for Croatia is a dream come true.

However, I know it's time. And I know that it is fair to the national team, teammates, and coach.

That makes it easier for me.

It's also easier for me because I know I did my best. At every training session, at every game, at every competition. I don't regret anything and appreciate every moment spent with the Croatia national team. It is easy to think about Russia in 2018, but I experienced many other ups and downs, successes and failures, tears of joy, but also tears of great sadness. Every experience has enriched me as a player and as a person, and I wouldn't change a thing along the way.

It's easier for me because I've made friendships that will last a lifetime. It's easier for me because the Croatia national team is my second family, and those relationships will not end with the end of my national team career.

It's easier for me, of course, because of Russia. The place where we made our dreams come true through an unforgettable month in which we not only reached the World Cup final, but day after day, we cheered, made our nation smile, and united our nation. Those matches, those celebrations, and those receptions in Zagreb and Zadar are something I will never, ever forget. It's no secret that I sacrificed my knee for that success, and I would do it all again because that's what we all lived for. We in the dressing room, and you in the stands.

Dear fans - your support, emotion, and love for the national team have always been an additional incentive for me, an atom of strength in those crucial moments when everything breaks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that.

It was a pleasure to share the dressing room with great players and people for these 11 years. Thanks to all my teammates - I would go into every battle with you. As much as we left blood, sweat, and tears on the field, we socialized, had fun, and laughed as much off the field. I will cherish those memories forever.

Local patriots, I am proud to have shared the dressing room with my fellow Zadar family, Suba, Livi, and Luka. Do I need to say anything more about Luka? Playing with one of the world's best midfielders of all time is a special privilege for all of us, but Luka is, above all, a friend to me. Equally, it was an honor for me to learn from the great Darijo Srna and then succeed him on the national team.

Dejan is a story in itself. Happiness in life, let alone in business, is to find a person with whom you are on the same wavelength, with whom you share the good times as easily as you share the difficult moments. Who would have thought that I would enjoy sharing a bed with him for 11 years? Loki, you made this national team story even more special to me, and I look forward to continuing our friendship.

Thanks to Slaven, who gave me a chance and introduced me to the national team. Thank you, Zlatko Dalić, for the cooperation and unforgettable Russia. Thank you to all the coaches for the support, advice, and effort they put into making us the best possible team, on and off the field.

Thank you to all staff members - doctors led by Dr. Nemec, Dr. Bahtijarević, Dr. Janković, and Dr. Vlahović, excellent physiotherapists and diligent economists, Iva, Nikša, Tomi, Draga, and all the employees of the Federation who are with us and who complete our national team family. I also thank all the leaders of the Federation for their support, former president Šuker, as well as the tireless Mr. Srebrić. Thanks to the current president, Marijan Kustić, for his excellent communication and understanding.

Thank you to all the media that followed my national team journey. You have an important role in preserving the cult of the national team, and I hope that you will continue to contribute constructively and affirmatively to the successes of the Croatia national team.

Special thanks go to my parents and brother, who supported me at all times. I can only try to be an equal inspiration and support to my children. My heart is full because I know that my Dida Šime from another world is proud of me because I fulfilled everything he dreamed of.

I am happy that even today, I see the talent, quality, ambition, and passion in the national team that I saw at the beginning of my national team career. We have set a high bar in Russia, but there is no need to worry about it - always give your best, and the fans will appreciate it, and the results will reward you. I will always be with you!

It's not easy, but...

It's time.

Yours Always,

Šime Vrsaljko

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

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Croatia National Team Joins Popular FIFA 23 Video Game!

August 24, 2022 - The Croatian Football Federation has reached an agreement with Electronic Arts, the global leader in digital interactive entertainment, and the Croatia national team will be included in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 23!

This July, EA SPORTS announced details of the new edition of the world's most popular football video game, EA SPORTS FIFA 23, which will be available from September 30 this year. The Croatian Football Federation proudly announces that all players will be able to select the Croatia national football team, reports HNS.

"We are extremely happy that we have reached an agreement with EA SPORTS regarding the inclusion of the Croatia national team in FIFA 23. We know that players around the world, and especially Croatia fans, have been wishing for this kind of news for years, and I am glad that they will now be able to play FIFA with their favorite team in the most beautiful jersey in the world. This is an important step forward by HNS for the younger population and video game fans, and we will work in this direction in the future," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

HNS thus became one of 300 individual licensed partners in the game, through which more than 19,000 athletes in 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and 30 leagues from all over the world are available. In addition to the best clubs and national teams, players can also choose from some of the most famous competitions in the world, such as the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Conference League, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga Santander, CONMEBOL Libertadores, and CONMEBOL.

"We are delighted that the Croatia national team has joined the EA SPORTS family and will be available in FIFA 23," said James Salmon, Marketing Director at EA SPORTS FIFA. "The inclusion of this nation will allow us to continue to provide fans with an authentic and rich interactive football experience in FIFA 23 and beyond."

Players can join the EA SPORTS FIFA community on Facebook and Instagram or follow the @easportsfifa Twitter account.

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

Monday, 11 July 2022

FIFA Remembers Mandžukić Goal that Sent Croatia to 2018 World Cup Final

July 11, 2022 - FIFA remembers the Mario Mandžukić goal that sent Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final four years ago today. 

My Facebook memories today reminded me of July 11, 2018, and the hysteria of statuses I posted when Croatia beat England for a spot in the World Cup final. I was overcome with emotions along with thousands of others in Split who celebrated the win until the early morning hours, with flares and absolute chaos. I still get chills thinking about it, and it's undoubtedly one of those moments in your life where you can recall exactly where you were and who you were with. And exactly how you felt. 

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And FIFA remembers it, too. 

On July 11, 2018, a packed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow hosted the World Cup semi-final match between Croatia and England. England was the first to score with a quick goal by Trippier and continued to dominate Croatia for most of the match. Ivan Perišić equalized in the 68th minute, bringing Croatia back to life and the potential of yet another extra-time finish on the horizon. 

Croatia fans remember the nail-biter all too well, especially Mario Mandžukić's goal in the 109th minute of extra time, today the most crucial goal in the history of the Croatia national team. From Perišić's head to Mario's strategic movement in the penalty area to finish far post in Jordan Pickford's net for 2:1. And how could we forget the goal celebration where Croatia players piled on photographer Yuri Cortez.

On the 4th anniversary of Croatia's most outstanding national team achievement, FIFA has published a video remembering the goal that sent Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final. And even one small detail we have missed while watching it live. 

"One split second of feeling the opportunity is lost... 

To the absolute jubilation of sending your nation to a #WorldCup Final," FIFA writes in the caption. 

The video shows Mario Mandžukić in focus and the disappointment on his face after Kyle Walker cleared Josip Pivarić's cross. But then the play continued. Ivan Perišić passed the ball to Mandžo, who was left unmarked by Harry Maguire, who was likely feeling a bit of security after Walker cleared the first play.

Oh, how quick the game of football can be. 

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

Saturday, 2 July 2022

UEFA Fines HNS: Stadium Partly Closed for Croatia's Next Nations League Match

July 2, 2022 - The control, ethics, and disciplinary body of UEFA fines HNS 15,000 euros due to the discriminatory behavior of Croatia fans at Poljud against France. In addition, at the next home match, the Croatian Football Federation will have to close one sector. 

On June 6, Croatia hosted France in the second round of the Nations League at Poljud. The Split stadium was filled to capacity, more than 30,000 fans created a fantastic atmosphere and paid tribute to captain Luka Modrić with a banner, who then played his 150th match for the national team, reports 24 Sata

However, almost a month after that match, the control, ethics, and disciplinary body of UEFA fined HNS 15,000 euros for the racist behavior of fans. 

Before the match, the Croatian Football Federation will have to confirm which sector will be closed and that it will contain at least three thousand seats. At the next match, Croatia will have to show a banner with the message 'NoToRacism' with the UEFA logo, writes the UEFA press release.

The Croatia national team will play its next home match in the Nations League on September 22 at Maksimir Stadium against Denmark. Given that the east tribune is out of order, and one sector will be closed due to the fine, Croatia will not be greeted by a full stadium, as was the case at Poljud.

By the way, despite losing to Austria to open the Nations League, Croatia's victory against Denmark in September is a great opportunity to take first place in the group and secure the final three days after that match. Croatia visits Austria in the last round.

While the defeat against Austria shook Croatia, the national team quickly found its rhythm. Croatia and France drew at Poljud, beat Denmark at Parken, and finally defeated France for the first time in history (1-0) by beating them at Stade de France.

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

 

Friday, 24 June 2022

New FIFA Rule Allows 26 Croatia Players at 2022 World Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Sportske Novosti

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

Monday, 13 June 2022

Early Luka Modrić Penalty Gives Croatia First-Ever Win against France!

June 13, 2022 - Croatia finally beats France in their 10th meeting on Monday night, winning in the 4th round of Nations League at Stade de France in Paris. An early Luka Modrić penalty gave Croatia their first-ever victory against France. 

The Croatia national team met France in the 4th round of the Nations League at Stade de France in Paris on Monday. It was Croatia's 5th time playing at the famous French stadium. 

Going into this match, Denmark lead the group with six points, Austria and Croatia had four points each, while France sat at the bottom with two points. France needed a win tonight to have any hope of getting out of the group and avoid relegation in the Nations League. 

Before this match, Croatia recorded six defeats and three draws in nine matches against the current world champion France, with a goal difference of 9-20.

Lineups

France: Maignan - Koundé, Konaté, Kimpembe, Digne - Kamara, Guendouzi, Rabiot - Nkunku, Mbappé, Benzema

Croatia: Ivušić - Stanišić, Erlić, Šutalo, Juranović - Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić - Pašalić, Budimir, Brekalo

Match Report 

Croatia had their first corner of the match in the 3rd minute after a nice attack into France's half. Budimir fell in the box during the play which forced the ref to look at VAR for a penalty check. The ref called a penalty for Croatia which Luka Modrić scored for 0:1 Croatia in the 5th minute!

Mbappé had a shot on target which Ivusic saved Tchouameni.

France picked up the intensity in the 12th minute, testing Croatia's defense in the box, but the center backs cleared any danger. Croatia had a counter moments later which saw France's keeper and Budimir clash just outside of the box. Croatia was awarded a free kick which Modric hit at the keeper.

It was a match of fouls called for Croatia, with Brekalo elbowed in the nose in the 18th minute. Fortunately, he was well enough to continue the match. 

Mbappé was dangerous again in the 22nd minute, though Croatia managed to stop him before he got a shot off. 

France danced around Croatia's half for the next few minutes until Brozovic fouled to stop the play.  Nkunku had an excellent chance in the 28th minute which went just wide of Croatia's goal. 

Croatia finally regained possession and moved into France's half in the 30th minute. Juranovic crossed to Budimir in the box a minute later which went off his head back into the play. 

A quick Croatia counter in the 34th minute saw Juranovic play Budimir in the box which the France keeper got to first. Croatia denied Mbappe and Benzema from getting a shot off in the following play.

Juranovic found Budimir again in a similar play in the next few minutes. Budimir shot near post which went out for a Croatia corner. 

France calmly held possession for the next few minutes, but a Croatia counter in the 43rd minute got them back in the game. Croatia's defense remained solid in the back to keep them ahead before the half. France even hit the near post net a minute before the half and headed over the goal! The match was 0:1 for Croatia at halftime. 

France made two changes at halftime - Pavard and Tchouameni came on for Konude and Kamara. 

France had their first dangerous attack in the 46th minute. Mbappe dribbled to the goal line and crossed into the box which the Croatia defense cleared with a header. Tchouameni shot at Ivusic a minute later. 

Budimir was one-on-one with the France keeper in the 49th minute and shot over the crossbar.

Benzema dribbled through the defense in the 53rd minute but Croatia was able to stop the play. Mbappe shot in the 54th minute which went wide of the goal.

Luka found Juranovic on the left wing in the 57th minute. The France defender headed it back which Juranovic attacked and played back to Pasalic who couldn't quite get a shot off. 

Ivusic made an incredible save with his foot to stop Mbappe from scoring in the 60th minute. The ball went out for a corner and Croatia cleared the play. 

Dalic subbed off Pasalic for Majer in the 64th minute.

France was hungry for a goal in the following 5 minutes with a few threatening plays in Croatia's box. Pavard's shot was blocked by the Croatia defense. Chaos in the penalty area ended thanks to Sutalo who found Ivusic and stopped the play. 

Brekalo found Majer at the top of the box in the 71st minute which was saved by the France keeper. Budimir came out for Kramaric and Brekalo for Vlasic in the 73rd minute. France subbed on Coman for Nkunku.

Coman dribbled to the goal line for a France corner in the 74th minute. Mbappe's shot was saved by Ivusic.

A dangerous free kick for France was taken by Mbappe in the 77th minute and went over the goal. 

Griezmann was subbed on in the 80th minute. Mbappe fouled Erlic moments later.  France did not leave Croatia's half. 

A quick counter for Croatia came in the 83rd minute but France was quick to regain possession. Young Bayern defender Josip Stanisic was absolutely brilliant on the right side to stop Coman. 

Rabiot shot over the goal in the 86th minute. Croatia was playing defense for most of the second half. 

Croatia finally regained possession in the 87th minute. Vlasic shot at the keeper. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia played calmly in the remaining minutes but France picked up the intensity to get a goal. A dangerous chance in the final seconds just went wide of the goal. Konate headed over the goal in the final second. The ref blew the final whistle and Croatia recorded their first-ever win against France! 

Croatia continues their Nations League campaign in September against Denmark at home and Austria away. 

For more, check out our sports section.

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