Monday, 28 March 2022

HNS Chooses Croatia Camp in Qatar for 2022 World Cup

March 28, 2022 - The Croatia camp in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup has been chosen by the Croatian Football Federation. 

The Croatian Football Federation delegation visited the Dusit Hotel and the Al Gharafa Training Center, which are the first option for the Croatia national team base camp during the FIFA World Cup, held in Qatar at the end of the year, reports HNS.

Last July, the Federation's technical delegation visited a dozen potential base camps offered by FIFA in its catalog, each consisting of a hotel and a connected training center. After a detailed report to President Marijan Kustić, the leadership of the Federation and the expert staff headed by coach Zlatko Dalić chose the Dusit Hotel and Al Gharafa Training Center as its first option in Fifa's camp reservation system.

The friendly tournament in Doha was used for another visit to the hotel and training center, and the Federation was once again convinced of the excellent conditions provided by the hotel and training center. Even though several other national teams are waiting in line for the mentioned base camp, HNS has the right to "buy first" or sign a contract until June this year.

"We have moved away from our activities so far, and we looked at the camps before placing in the big competition because we are not superstitious and believe in our team. This allowed us to choose one of the better hotels and camps and now we are convinced that we made the best choice. We must provide the national team with the best conditions, and that is why I am proud of the quality logistics and administration we have in the Federation. Ultimately, it is only appropriate that the World Cup finalists have one of the best camps in Doha," said the president of the Federation, Marijan Kustić.

“I have complete confidence in our logistics, from team manager Iva Olivari onwards, and as we have always had great hotels and grounds, I am sure it will be the same in Doha. Staying here was great for us to acclimatize and get acquainted with the conditions that await us at the World Cup, and it is good that we resolved the issue of the base camp in time not to think about it at the last minute. Thanks to President Kustić and the Federation's leadership for giving maximum support to the national team in all matters, including the choice of base camp," said the selector Zlatko Dalić.

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

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Croatia Secures Pot 2 in 2022 World Cup Draw

March 27, 2022 - Croatia has secured Pot 2 in the 2022 World Cup draw after playing 1:1 against Slovenia on Saturday. 

After drawing 1:1 against Slovenia on Saturday, the Croatia national football team secured a place in the second strongest group in the 2022 World Cup draw. 

The draw for the World Cup will be held in Doha on Friday, April 1. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar from November 21 to December 18 this year.

The International Football Federation (FIFA) has indicated that strong draw groups will be formed according to its ranking, which will be published on March 31. Since the qualifications are still not over on all continents and because Croatia is currently 15th in the FIFA rankings, one point from two games against Slovenia and Bulgaria was enough for Zlatko Dalić's side on this mini-tour in Doha.

Thus, Croatia's goal was achieved already in the first match against Slovenia, and now Croatia can anticipate the draw a bit more relaxed. 

Croatia has thus avoided some powerful teams by securing Pot 2. 

Namely, Croatia cannot meet Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Uruguay. Mexico and the United States should be added if those two national teams confirm their spot at the World Cup in the remaining two CONCACAF rounds. Potential opponents from Pot 1 are Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, and Portugal, unless North Macedonia shocks them in the remaining qualifier. 

In Pot 3, Croatia is most likely threatened by Sweden, Egypt, Japan, Iran, Serbia, Morocco, Korea, and Poland. The last group will include Ecuador and Saudi Arabia for sure. 

Thirty-two national teams will play in eight groups of four teams at the World Cup. The top seeds in the draw will be the host Qatar plus the top seven ranked national teams in the FIFA rankings, announced on March 31. It will be the last World Cup with 32 national teams, and from 2026, 48 national teams will participate. Europe will have 13 representatives in Qatar, and there can be a maximum of two national teams from the same continent in each group.

Recall, the current World Champion is France (and Croatia the 2018 finalist), while we will not watch the current European champion Italy at the World Cup this year. 

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

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Croatia and Slovenia Draw 1:1 in First Doha Friendly Match

March 26, 2022 - Croatia and Slovenia draw 1:1 in the first friendly match in Doha on Saturday. Croatia meets Bulgaria next on Tuesday. 

The Croatia national football team met Slovenia in a friendly match at the Education City Stadium in Doha today at 15:00. 

Even though this was a friendly match, it was still important for Croatia. Namely, Croatia needs one draw from two friendly matches to be placed in Pot 2 in the World Cup draw scheduled on April 1. 

Zlatko Dalić is using this friendly tournament to try out the new system of three in the back, though it is also a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the conditions that await them at the end of the year when the World Cup begins.

Lineups 

Croatia: Livaković - Pongračić, Ćaleta Car, Gvardiol - Perišić, Juranović - Jakić, Kovačić, Modrić - Kramarić, Budimir

Slovenia: Oblak - Blažić, Bijol, Brekalo - Karničkik, Gnezda Čerin, Kurtić, Sikošek - Zajc, Šporar, Lovrić

Recap

Croatia's first serious attack came already in the 3rd minute. Perišić passed on the left side and centered the ball in Slovenia's penalty area, though it could not reach Kramarić and was cleared by the Slovenia defense. 

Modrić won a free kick after being fouled on the right side, which the Slovenia defense cleared in the 12th minute. A minute later, Jakić took Croatia's first shot on goal. Slovenia had their first attack in the 15th minute. 

Kovačić won a free kick in the 28th minute. Modrić tried to find Budimir but Oblak was solid in goal to keep in 0:0. 

Kramarić scored for the Croatia lead in the 39th minute. Ćaleta-Car played a through ball down the right wing, which found Andrej one-on-one with the keeper for 1:0! 

Croatia had another chance in the 43rd minute. Kovačić's backheel found Perišić on the left side. However, Perišić shot from the near post twice - the first time at Oblak and the second time hitting Budimir. 

Perišić passed on the left side again with a minute to go in the first half, but Oblak remained solid. 

Croatia ended the first half with 69% of the possession and five shots (two were on target). 

Croatia started the second half without any changes to the lineup. 

Croatia kept up their intensity in the second half with several chances in the first 10 minutes, with Modrić and Juranović hitting dangerous attempts. 

Dalić made his first substitutions in the 68th minute. Livaja, Majer, and Pašalić went in for Budimir, Modrić and Kovačić. Four minutes later, he made his second round of subs - Vlašić, Oršić, and Vida came in for Kramarić, Perišić, and Ćaleta-Car. 

Croatia maintained possession for the second half, with a few moments of Slovenian intensity.  

Livaja had a chance in the 84th minute and Pašalić a minute later. Slovenia's closest opportunity came in the 87th minute with a mix-up in front of Livaković, but the play was ultimately called offside. 

Oršić had a chance a minute later, and Livaja played Juranović for a cross back into the penalty area, but it was saved by Oblak. Oršić shot over the goal in the 89th. 

A quick reaction from Slovenia found saw them capitalize on Croatia's defense to equalize for 1:1 in the 90th minute, which was the final score. 

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

Friday, 25 March 2022

Zlatko Dalić Reveals Croatia Lineup against Slovenia in Doha

March 25, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić has revealed the Croatia lineup against Slovenia tomorrow, which kicks off the friendly tournament in Doha. 

The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Slovenia in Doha on Saturday at 3 pm, which will be an excellent opportunity for coach Zlatko Dalić to try out the new system.

"I expect the players to show what we have been doing these two days, and we have had great training sessions these two days. I can tell you right away which 11 will start tomorrow. Livaković will be in goal; the back three will be Ćaleta Car, Gvardiol, Pongračić; Perišić, and Juranović will be on the wing, and the three in the midfield are Jakić, Modrić, and Kovačić. Kramarić and Budimir lead the attack.

The decision to play here is one hundred percent right; we are here to get acquainted with the conditions that await us at the World Cup. I need to emphasize that this is great that we have already qualified so we can play more relaxed."

Croatia has not yet secured a place in the second pot for the World Cup group draw:

"There is no relaxation, and we have to play to win, we have two good opponents, and we have to play at the highest level."

Joško Guardiola is one of Croatia's best new players. 

"It all depends on Joško; he has shown his potential, he has to work every day and prove himself again, that is the most important thing. Nevertheless, we got a great player for the national team."

Dalić spoke about their decision to come to Doha for these friendly matches:

"I worked hard to come here, to see the conditions; I wanted to feel this place as a team. We wanted to play against Qatar, but I understand their coach wants some easier opponents. I wish Qatar a lot of luck, they put in a lot of effort, and I have a lot of fond memories here."

Slovenian journalists were interested in how seriously Croatia was preparing for Slovenia:

"We come here with full respect for Slovenia and Bulgaria; Slovenia has a great coach in Kek, we will have a worthy opponent tomorrow. We were preparing for the game, they have already beaten us once, so we know how dangerous they are. I was one of those who invited Slovenia to this tournament."

Guardiol was also present at the press conference and commented on the new system:

"I am not unfamiliar with playing three in the back, as we have been practicing this with Leipzig for half a year. The problem with the national team is that we don't have much time to adjust, but the last two training sessions, we were maximally focused on this, and we will try to transfer that to the game."

Source: HRT

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

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Marcelo Brozović Signs with Inter Milan until 2026

March 24, 2022 - Croatia national team midfielder Marcelo Brozović has extended his contract with the current Italian football champion Inter Milan until the summer of 2026!

Brozović arrived at Inter from Dinamo Zagreb in January 2015, and has so far played 279 games for Inter Milan in all competitions, reports Sportske Novosti

"I am really happy to have extended my contract with Inter. Out of respect for the club, I didn’t even want to talk to other clubs. I would only do that if Inter told me they didn't need me anymore. I am proud to be a part of this club with a great tradition and history, and I am determined to strive to achieve new great successes with this club. Our only goal is to win and I am sure that we will do everything in our power to defend the title of champion and win the Cup," said Brozović after signing a new contract.

"Inter fans have always loved me. I can't wait to get back on the pitch and keep celebrating with them."

Although the new contract brings him better financial conditions, Marcelo Brozović points out that this has never been a problem in the negotiations.

"Money has never been why I play football, and it never will be. When I see people's suffering and disease, especially now in Ukraine, I realize how happy I am to play for a club like Inter and live in such a top city as I spent some tough moments at Inter, both for the club and me. Still, we continued to fight to be better. All this was rewarded when we won the title last year. I am here to become an even better player and help Inter win more trophies," concluded Brozović.

Inter is currently in third place in the Serie A rankings with six points behind the leading city rival Milan, of which they have one game less. On April 20, they will play against Milan in the Cup semifinals. 

Brozović has played 70 games for the Croatia national team so far and was part of the team that won a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Croatia without Brozović and Vrsaljko in Doha, Brekalo Misses Slovenia Match

March 22, 2022 - The Croatia national football team faces two friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria in Doha. Brozović and Vrsaljko will not travel with the team to Qatar, while Brekalo has tested positive for coronavirus. 

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić announced the tournament in Doha on Monday as the national team gathered in Zagreb for the first time since qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Croatia will face Slovenia and Bulgaria in Doha on March 26 and March 29, reports HNS.

 

Dalić revealed that Šime Vrsaljko and Marcelo Brozović dropped out due to injuries, while Mile Škorić and Nikola Moro will step in instead.

"Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out of the original lineup due to injuries, and I'm sorry about that. We gather in Zagreb, but five players come to Doha directly from their clubs. Our motivation is great in the upcoming matches to prepare for what awaits us in June. This will be a very good test for all of us to see what we can do, to prepare for the Nations League," said Dalić, who made it clear that he intends to use all players.

"We invited 25 players, and the idea is for everyone to play. We will give a chance to all the players, but there is no point in burdening them to the maximum. I want to try all the players. Our goal is for everyone to play. We will make two teams for those two games; the players are very busy in their clubs anyway. I think it will be good to relieve them a bit."

"We will play with three in the defense in both games; we will try that system to have another tactical addition. We will have two good games because the opponents are good. We will work on the unity of the national team," Dalić began and added:

"I am looking forward to this gathering and matches because the national team is together after four months. Unfortunately, Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out due to muscle injuries, both of whom remained at their clubs to rehabilitate. That is why we activated the reserves Škorić and Moro." 

What happened with Petković?

"I do not want to write off Bruno Petković, and I did not write him off. I want him as he was in the qualifications. That is good for us, and I am waiting for him. I want him back in shape; I emphasize in the striker position because I see him there.

I hope that he will come back and that by June, he will be better and understand my message that he is not up to standard and that he can do much, much better. We do not have a more complete and better striker than Bruno Petković when he is in the right form. He has not been written off, and I want him on the national team. "

Who will be in goal?

"Livaković will defend one game, and one by Ivušić. That's the plan. Grbić has no right to be called if he does not defend at his club. The goalkeeper is not in the right condition if he does not defend. So we have no reason to fear, Livaković is defending well, Ivušić as well, and younger keepers are coming. There is also Lovre Kalinić, who is good in Hajduk," reveals coach Dalić.

Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out, as well as Josip Brekalo

"Something always happens that we did not anticipate, and Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out. We are following the others, especially the young players, surely some will come to the competition. First of all being Stanišić and Sučić, who are already with us.

There is also Šutalo, but all in good time. We have the basis of the team; we have the breadth because each position is filled with two or three players. We have a combination of experience and youth, new ones give energy, but without more experienced ones, it will not work. We are not in a hurry with the final conclusions; we will give everyone a chance. We follow young players who have an opportunity to jump in with good performances," said Dalić.

Last night, news arrived that national team member Josip Brekalo tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Croatia's first friendly match in Doha on March 26 against Slovenia. Depending on how the situation develops, he will compete in the second match in Doha on March 29 against Bulgaria.

Brekalo recorded 30 appearances for the national team and scored four goals.

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

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Mile Škorić and Nikola Moro to Join Croatia National Team at Doha Tournament

March 20, 2022 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić has called up Osijek defender Mile Škorić and Dinamo Moscow midfielder Nikola Moro to the upcoming friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria in Qatar.

The Croatia national football team will play two friendly matches later this month in Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup. The first match is scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at 3 pm against Slovenia. The second match will be played against Bulgaria on Tuesday, March 29 at 4 pm, both at the Education City Stadium in Doha.

These will be the first Croatia national team matches after qualifying for the 2022 World Cup and will serve as preparation for coach Zlatko Dalić and what awaits the team for the rest of the year. This tournament also serves as excellent preparation for the World Cup in Qatar, as the climate and stadiums will be tested. As far as tactics are concerned, Dalić will also test a new formation with three in the backline as there will be no room to experiment in the four Nations League matches in June.

"We'll try a new system with three in the back and we'll see how it works. We'll stick to our tactics so far, but now we have some training, so we will try something different," said Dalić ahead of the tournament. 

"We've tried putting three players in the back a couple of times, but now we have time and we want to try that system. Several of our players play it in their clubs and it could fit."

Dalić subsequently added two players from the reserves list, namely Mile Škorić from Osijek and Nikola Moro from Dinamo Moscow for the friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria. Osijek defender Mile Škorić will join the national team at a gathering in Zagreb on Monday (March 21), while Dinamo Moscow midfielder Nikola Moro will arrive in Doha, where the 2018 World Cup finalists will arrive on Tuesday.

Source: HNS

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

Monday, 7 March 2022

Zlatko Dalić Announces Croatia Player List for Doha Friendlies in March

March 7, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the Croatia player list for Doha friendlies later this month against Slovenia and Bulgaria. 

The Croatia national football team is back this month! Coach Zlatko Dalić has published a list of players he is counting on for friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria in Doha, reports Gol.hr.

Croatia will first play against Slovenia on March 26 at 3 pm, while they will play against Bulgaria on March 29 at 4 pm.

"We want to play good games, we are going to win, but it will be a little more relaxed. We want to make the most of those eight days."

"We will try to play in Doha with three players in the back. That does not mean we will change the system in general. We will try to change our way of playing because after a long time we finally have enough training to try. Some of our players play like that in clubs and we will try to see what it looks like in the national team," announced Dalić.

"4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 were both good at some points, but now we're going to train with three."

Croatia does not go to Qatar without problems.

"We have some problems. Lovren is not in training, I don't know how ready he will be, but he is going to Doha. Majer and Perišić skipped this week, Vrsaljko got hit in the hip. Quite painful, but it won't be dangerous and he will be good in a few days. They stayed in rhythm."

Dominik Livaković is the chosen goalkeeper. 

"Grbić has not defended in the last games. If his status does not change, we will not count on him. He has to defend to be on the national team."

Šime Vrsaljko returns to the national team.

"He is playing again, he has a continuity of games and he is healthy. Now he is playing the way he should for the national team. I need him like this. I want more from him. We had a conversation, no big problems. I hope it gets even better. The conversation remains between us. He plays well; that's what I need."

Dalić wanted stronger friendly matches.

"I wanted one stronger, one slightly weaker game, and it failed because of the organizations. Slovenia and Bulgaria are not top-level, but the matches carry some uncertainty. We need games because of the second strongest group for the World Cup. We can try some things and collect some more points if we need them for the second strong group, although I think it's over." 

FNPNgZTXEAUnZAG.jpeg

Croatia's player list for Slovenia and Bulgaria

Goalkeepers: Livaković, Ivušić, Grbić

Defenders: Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Barišić, Čaleta-Car, Juranović, Gvardiol, Sosa, Pongračić

Midfielders: Modrić, Kovačić, Brozović, Pašalić, Vlašić, Majer, Jakić

Attackers: Perišić, Kramarić, Brekalo, Oršić, Livaja, Budimir

Callups: L. Kalinić, Škorić, Čolak, Moro

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

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Zlatko Dalić and Croatia Coaching Staff Prepare for Doha Friendly Tournament

February 26, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić and the Croatia coaching staff are preparing for the upcoming national team gathering in March, when Croatia will play a friendly tournament in Doha against Slovenia and Bulgaria. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić held a meeting with members of his professional staff on Thursday at the HNS headquarters, reports HNS.

In addition to coach Dalić, the meeting was attended by technical director Stipe Pletikosa, assistants Ivica Olić, Mario Mandžukić, and Dražen Ladić, goalkeeper coach Marjan Mrmić, fitness coach Luka Milanović and team manager Iva Olivari, while Vedran Ćorluka and Marc Rochon were justifiably absent.

Dalić spoke with his associates about the upcoming national team gathering in March, the first after November 2021 when Croatia successfully qualified for the World Cup in Qatar. In March, Croatia will travel to Doha to play friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria.

"Although we are in constant contact, it is good when we manage to gather live and talk about what awaits us. I am glad to see all staff members full of energy, enthusiasm, and optimism ahead of the March gathering, which everyone is very excited about. We are following our players in detail, we are thinking about how to make the most of this gathering in Doha both on and off the pitch, and I believe that we will lay a good foundation there for everything that awaits us later in the year," said coach Dalić.

Recall, the Croatian Football Federation management agreed that the Croatia national team would play a friendly tournament in Qatar in March, with two matches in Doha.

Croatia will face Slovenia on March 26 and play Bulgaria three days later. The national team of Qatar will also play in the tournament against Bulgaria (March 26) and Slovenia (March 29). The matches will be played at the stadiums in Doha, where the FIFA World Cup matches will be played. The exact timetables and stadiums will be defined later, and HNS will inform fans promptly about the possibilities of buying tickets.

The Croatia coach and the staff members also watched the Europa League match between Dinamo and Sevilla. The Croatian champion was eliminated after a 3:2 aggregate for the Spanish side.

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

Friday, 4 February 2022

Coach Zlatko Dalić Announces Possible Croatia Formation Change for 2022 World Cup

February 4, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić spoke to Nova TV after the friendly tournament in Doha was announced, saying he will experiment with a Croatia formation change, namely three players in the back. 

The Croatian Football Federation has agreed to represent the Croatia national team in a friendly tournament that will be played in Qatar in March, during which Croatia will play two matches. Namely, Croatia will play Slovenia on March 26, and Bulgaria three days later. In an interview with Nova TV, coach Zlatko Dalić commented on the national team preparations ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

"My wish was to go to Qatar, to prepare for what awaits us, what is to come in November, to get to know the climate, the terrain, and the ambiance. I am very pleased with this preparatory tour, these matches. They are not extra-quality opponents, but they are certainly good for us at the moment. We expect two really good games. We expect, of course, two wins and good play."

Dalić was asked if Croatia would try to play in a system with three players in the back. "Well, we're going to try to do something about it. We're going to have eight days now to try that. And that is in our plan."

Dalić desires to work on teamwork: "We want to spend those eight days in Qatar as one big team building event, to support each other. So far, every time we gathered, there was a lot of pressure, the imperative of a victory. This time, it is also imperative to win, but it will be a little more relaxed and supportive. We want these new players, and there are several of them, to get better acquainted with the national team and to create a new community."

Recall, the matches will be played at the stadiums in Doha, where the FIFA World Cup will be played. The exact timetables and stadiums will be defined later, and HNS will inform fans promptly about ticket sales. 

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

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