Monday, 31 October 2022

Zlatko Dalić Announces Wider 2022 World Cup Croatia Player List

October 31, 2022 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić announced a wider list of players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

On Wednesday, November 9, Dalić will announce the final list of candidates for the World Cup, which includes between 23 and 26 players. The Croatian Football Federation must submit the definitive list of players to FIFA on November 14. After that, it is possible to change players up to 24 hours before the first match in case of injury, reports HNS.

There are 34 names on Dalić's wider list of candidates, one less than expected after Lovre Kalinić was injured in the match between Lokomotiva and Hajduk on Sunday. Today's MRI showed that Kalinić would not go to Qatar. 

"We are extremely sorry about Lovre, and we wish him a speedy and high-quality recovery. However, this unfortunate event confirms that, at this moment, the most important thing is the players' health. Therefore, we can only wish we have no more news related to injuries until we get together," said coach Dalić.

"There are 34 players on this extended list, so we have enough options in case of unforeseen situations. I am happy that most players are in good shape and that most have good playing time. I believe that everyone will make the most of the next two weeks to be in optimal condition for the gathering that we are all extremely looking forward to," said Dalić.

The Croatia national team will gather on November 13 and 14 in Zagreb before traveling to Riyadh on November 14 for a friendly match against Saudi Arabia scheduled for November 16. Two days later, the national team travels to its base camp in Qatar, where the FIFA World Cup begins on November 20. The 2018 World Cup finalists start their journey on November 23 against Morocco, followed by Canada (November 27) and Belgium (December 1).

Player list

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Ivo Grbić, Dominik Kotarski, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Marin Pongračić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

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

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja, Antonio Mirko Čolak

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

Sunday, 9 October 2022

Croatia to Open 2024 Euro Qualifiers at Home against Wales

October 10, 2022 - Croatia will open the 2024 Euro qualifiers against Wales next year, as their schedule in group D is known. 

Croatia's road to the Euros in Germany will begin with a home match against Wales on March 25 next year. Three days later (March 28), Croatia will visit Turkey.

Given that Croatia is expected to play in the Nations League Final Four in June, they will continue the Euro qualifications in Germany with two matches in September, against Latvia (September 8) at home and Armenia (September 11) away.

In October, Croatia welcomes Turkey (October 12) and visits Wales (October 15). In November, they visit Latvia (November 18), and at the end of the qualification cycle, they welcome Armenia (November 21).

Euro 2024 qualification group D schedule

1st round (March 25, 2023, Saturday)

Armenia - Turkey (18:00)

Croatia - Wales (20:45)

2nd round (March 28, 2023, Tuesday)

Turkey - Croatia (20:45)

Wales - Latvia (20:45)

3rd round (June 16, 2023, Friday)

Latvia - Turkey (20:45)

Wales - Armenia (20:45)

4th round (June 19, 2023, Monday)

Armenia - Latvia (18:00)

Turkey - Wales (20:45)

5th round (September 8, 2023, Friday)

Croatia - Latvia (20:45)

Turkey - Armenia (20:45)

5th round (September 11, 2023, Monday)

Armenia - Croatia (18:00)

Latvia - Wales (20:45)

7th round (October 12, 2023, Thursday)

Croatia - Turkey (20:45)

Latvia - Armenia (20:45)

8th round (October 15, 2023, Sunday)

Turkey - Latvia (20:45)

Wales - Croatia (20:45)

Round 9 (November 18, 2023, Saturday)

Armenia - Wales (15:00)

Latvia - Croatia (18:00)

10th round (21 November 2023, Tuesday)

Croatia - Armenia (20:45)

Wales - Turkey (20:45)

53 national teams will participate in the qualifiers and try to grab 23 spots for the Euro. Germany, as the organizer of the final tournament, automatically qualified and therefore does not participate in the draw. Due to the suspension, Russia will not participate in the qualifiers either.

Due to political reasons, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine, Gibraltar and Spain, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo and Serbia could not be included in the same group.

Until now, Croatia has played in six European competitions. The 2000 European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands was the only one they missed. Croatia played in the quarter-finals twice (England 1996, Austria and Switzerland 2008), reached the round of 16 twice (Euro 2020, France 2016), and finished the competition in the group twice (Portugal 2004, Poland, and Ukraine 2012). 

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

 

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Croatia Beats Denmark On Penalties for U21 Euros Spot!

September 27, 2022 - The young Croatia national team is going to the Euros! Croatia beat Denmark on penalties on Tuesday, securing their spot at the 2023 U21 Euros. 

The U21 Croatia national team faced Denmark on Tuesday for a spot at the 2023 European Championship. Four days ago, Igor Bišćan's side won 2:1 against Denmark in Pula, and today in Vejle, they played the return match of the additional qualifications.

The young Croatia team was after their third consecutive European tournament. In 2019, Croatia did not make it out of their group, and Spain was better in the quarter-final last year. 

The match on Tuesday ended with Denmark winning 2:1, and as Croatia celebrated an identical result in the first match last week, the game went into extra time. As the match remained 2:1 at the end of extra time, the winner was decided by a penalty shootout. Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski was the hero, saving shots from Thomas Kristensen in the fourth round and Mathias Ross in the sixth round. 

Denmark took a 2:0 lead with goals from Matthew O'Riley (10) and Morten Frendrup (19), but Croatia brought the match to extra time with a goal from Igor Matanović in the 84th minute.

Croatia has thus qualified for its fifth European Under-21 Championship and the third in a row. In their four attempts so far, Croatia had gotten out of the group stage only once, in 2021, when they were eliminated in the quarter-final. 

The Euros are scheduled from June 21 to July 8, 2023, and will be played in eight stadiums in five cities. Matches will be played in the Romanian cities of Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca and the Georgian cities of Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi. Romania will host the opening match, and the final will be played in Georgia.

The group draw is scheduled for October 18 in Bucharest, and the national teams will be divided into four groups of four teams each.

The three best national teams from the Euros will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. As the host of the Olympics, France has already secured their place. 

Lineups

Denmark: Hermansen - Carstensen, Kristensen, Ross, Kristiansen - O'Riley, Frendrup, Kjaergaard - Isaksen, Tengstedt, Daramy

Croatia: Kotarski - Hodža, Vušković, Soldo, Čolina - Pršir, Franjić, Sučić - Vidović, Beljo, Šego

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

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.

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