Friday, 27 May 2022

Croatia and Saudi Arabia Friendly Scheduled Ahead of 2022 World Cup

May 27, 2022 - Croatia and Saudi Arabia will play a friendly match on November 16 in Riyadh ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on November 16, 2022, reports HNS.

This will be the last test for Croatia before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the 49th national team in the world based on the FIFA rankings, and will also play at the World Cup, in Group C with Argentina, Mexico, and Poland.

"We are pleased about this agreement with Saudi Arabia, which will be a good last test for the Vatreni before the World Cup. Thus, we fulfilled the wish of the coach and our staff to play a match near Qatar for acclimatization. From the organizational point of view, HNS will, as always, provide maximum support to the national team before and during the World Cup, which the 2018 World Cup finalists deserve. I believe that with the quality and togetherness, which the Croatia national team certainly has, we will once again have reason to rejoice with the Vatreni," said the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"Given the unusually short preparations for the World Cup, we wanted to be in the Middle East from the first day of the gathering to acclimatize as soon as possible to the conditions that await us in Qatar and therefore see this meeting in Riyadh as an ideal stop for the final test before the World Cup. Saudi Arabia is a regular participant in the World Cup, one of the best teams in Asia, and we will be tested against a non-European team, which we rarely play against, and which will certainly be motivated against the World Cup finalists," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić.

"We are thrilled that we will play the last preparatory match before the World Cup against the current World Cup finalists. We want to get the most out of this game in technical and tactical terms. It will be a big test for our players before the first game at the World Cup in Qatar," said the coach of Saudi Arabia, Herve Renard.

The national team will gather on November 14, and after the match against Saudi Arabia on November 18, they will stay at their camp in Doha.

As a reminder, Croatia will open the World Cup in Qatar on November 23 at 11 am at the Al Bayt Stadium against Morocco. The second match will be played on November 27 at 5 pm at the Khalifa International Stadium against Canada. The third is on December 1 at 4 pm at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium against Belgium.

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

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

FIFA Approves: Igor Matanović Will Play for Croatia!

May 25, 2022 - 19-year-old German-born Igor Matanović will play for the Croatia national team!

Igor Matanović, the Eintracht Frankfurt striker currently on loan to St. Pauli, born on March 31, 2003, in Hamburg, played in the younger ranks of the German national team. However, his Croatian roots pulled him toward the homeland and representing Croatia. Therefore, the Croatian Football Federation initiated proceedings with FIFA to change his football citizenship and acquire the right to play for Croatia, reports HNS.

FIFA approved the change on Tuesday and confirmed that Matanović could immediately defend the colors of Croatia. Furthermore, Croatia U-21 coach Igor Bišćan invited him to the national team for the upcoming qualifying matches in Norway and Estonia at the end of the fight for a spot at the European Championships.

"I am thrilled that the procedure with FIFA has been completed and that Croatia will be stronger in the future thanks to another talented player who looks forward to wearing the Croatia jersey. I want to thank all the Croatian Football Federation services for excellent work - Pletikosa and U-21 coach Igor Bišćan. With the secretary of the younger teams, Josip Tomašek, they actively participated in this process from the very beginning. It is also worth mentioning Ivica Olić, who made quality contact with Igor and his family, and I am sure that the inclusion of coach Zlatko Dalić also played a significant role. We showed great unity, everyone got involved, and obviously, Igor and his family recognized that," said the president of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"Of course, we are extremely pleased that FIFA made this decision in Matanović's case. I am sure that with his football knowledge and skills, he can immediately make a great contribution to the further success of the Croatia national teams, and his right to play for Croatia is a successful continuation of the Croatian Football Federation's efforts to put many quality players from the diaspora in our jersey. Stanišić, Sučić, Vidović, and Pašalić have already made great gains, and we will continue to work in that direction. With all deserving individuals in the Federation, from the coaches Dalić and Bišćan through Ivica Olić to President Kustić, who gave us great support in these activities, it is also worth thanking the lawyers who prepared the extensive documentation very well and presented the whole case to Fifa's body and enabled this decision to be made," said Technical Director Stipe Pletikosa.

You can read more about Igor here.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Croatia is 8th Largest Exporter of Footballers in the World!

May 10, 2022 - Croatia is the 8th largest exporter of footballers in the world!

Namely, 400 football players from Croatia play abroad in 135 professional leagues worldwide. According to those statistics, Croatia is the eighth largest exporter of footballers in the world, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

One of the few Croatian industries that are very competitive globally is football. Even though there are less than 4 million inhabitants, hardly any adequate infrastructure, stadiums, or pitches, coaches in the younger categories are often underpaid, and laws do not adequately support investments in sports, Croatia is a real football miracle - especially when you factor in it was the 2018 World Cup finalist. 

Croatia is at the top of the world in producing and exporting quality footballers and is the fifth largest European exporter. A recent study by CIES, the International Institute for Sports Studies in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, analyzed the 80 football federations with the most significant number of players abroad in 135 world leagues. The five years from 1 May 2017 to 1 May 2022 were analyzed. That last date was taken as a reference, while this research was done five years earlier for the first time. The study included 135 world professional leagues (83 from Europe, 20 from Asia, 18 from South America, 10 from North and Central America, and 4 from Africa), or 2198 clubs.

As expected, the most footballers playing outside, in these leagues, on May 1 this year were Brazilians (1219). It is no surprise that the current world champion France follows (978). The world’s third-largest exporter of footballers is also predictably Argentina (815). Brazilians and Argentines are the most famous representatives of South American football and have long been known as class players. It isn't easy to find a league in which they are not strongly represented. England (525) is on the list of a vast number of footballers who play in other leagues in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Germany (441) has a significant number of players of Turkish origin who were born and live in Germany but play abroad, even in the homeland of their parents and ancestors. The highest percentage of foreign players from one country is Belgians in the Netherlands (29.6 percent).

On average, teams had 6.3 foreign footballers (22 percent). As far as Croatia is concerned, this is an increase of 25 percent compared to the identical analysis made five years earlier, on May 1, 2017, or an increase of 81 footballers. Five years ago, 319 football players from Croatia were in the mentioned leagues.

In addition to quality, Croatia has also shown incredible quantity, given that according to the latest census, it has only 3.88 million inhabitants. For comparison, the world's largest exporter of football players, Brazil, has 212 million inhabitants, France 65 million, Argentina 45 million, England 56 million, Germany 83 million, Colombia 50 million, and Spain 46 million. Behind Croatia are the great football nations such as the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium.

The favorite destination of Croatian footballers abroad is Slovenia, with 102 Croatian footballers. The next leading destination is the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 49 players. 

Top 10 largest exporters of footballers in the world

1. Brazil 1219
2. France 978
3. Argentina 815
4. England 525
5. Germany 441
6. Colombia 425
7. Spain 409
8. Croatia 400
9. Serbia 379
10. The Netherlands 367

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

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Nova TV to Broadcast Croatia National Team Matches for Next 6 Years

May 2, 2022 - Nova TV, the most-watched television station in Croatia, has reached an agreement with Uefa and will continue to broadcast Croatia national team matches for the next six years.

Nova TV will broadcast qualifying matches for the 2024 European Championship, 2026 World Cup qualifiers, 2028 European Championship qualifiers, and 2022, 2024, and 2026 Nations League matches. In addition, football fans will be able to watch all Croatia national team friendly matches on Nova TV, announces HNS.

"On behalf of the Croatian Football Federation, I can express my satisfaction that Nova TV will continue to broadcast Croatia national team matches for the next six years. Nova TV has proven to be a great partner in terms of organization and programming, with many great people working in front of and behind the cameras. The Croatia national team matches are the most-watched program in Croatia, and that is why I congratulate Nova TV for winning the right to broadcast in the coming period. I am convinced that many joint victories await us, to the satisfaction of our fans and viewers of Nova TV," said the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"We are proud to continue broadcasting the most exciting sports content on Nova TV. It is our honor and responsibility to broadcast the Croatia national team matches and present the content to the viewers in the best possible way. Nova TV, as the strongest multimedia platform, will continue to create additional value, current and attractive content for all viewers of the national team in the next six years through the synergy of television and digital channels," said the President of the Management Board of Nova TV, Dražen Mavrić.

For the new, six-year cycle of national team activities, the sports newsroom of Nova TV is preparing a series of content and graphic news in shows and broadcasting matches. As before, everything will be accompanied by a dynamic display with the latest technology prepared by the multi-award-winning Nova TV team of production graphics.

"Quality preparations and the team are what make the project a success. When a person is part of a team made up of top professionals, even demanding projects such as broadcasting Croatia national team matches are not demanding. What makes producing Croatia national team matches different is the special national charge, pride, and emotions that go to unimaginable or, perhaps better said, immeasurable heights, no matter if it is happiness or sadness. It’s so present in the stadium environment that you can’t stay cool no matter how hard you try to be a cool professional. I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of this whole story, and that makes me happy, both professionally and humanely, as a fan," said the main producer of the Nova TV news program, Antonio Blašković, who is leading the project's production.

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

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Captains: Luka Modrić to Feature in New FIFA+ TV Series, Netflix Also Interested

April 16, 2022 - Croatia national team captain will feature in a new FIFA+ series called Captains, which has also caught the attention of Netflix. 

Fifa has launched the FIFA + digital platform, which allows free viewing of rich content to football fans around the world, reports 24 Sata.

The series "Captains" will soon be available on the platform, which follows six captains behind the scenes as they lead their countries through the qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar, including Croatia's fierce leader Luka Modrić.

The series explores the leadership qualities of each individual but also the different roles of captains, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Brian Kaltak (Vanuatu), Andre Blake (Jamaica), Hassan Maatouk (Lebanon), and Thiago Silva (Brazil) in addition to Modrić.

At the age of 36, Modrić remains the engine of Real Madrid and the Croatia national team, and one of the main reasons why Netflix, one of the world's largest streaming services, showed interest in the FIFA documentary. As 24 Sata has learned, they are in advanced negotiations with FIFA, and the mentioned series will probably be found on that popular streaming platform as well.

The Netflix streaming service has already released super-successful documentaries about Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher, and Formula 1, to name a few.

The series will, among other things, feature never-before-released footage from Luka's childhood, details from his private life, and viewers will be able to see first-hand the atmosphere within the national team during their hunt for the World Cup in Qatar.

According to 24 Sata, Luka expressed regret that the cameras did not film Croatia's path to the silver medal at the World Cup in Russia. Still, this series should also arouse great interest among viewers.

Equally, FIFA+ will soon release a feature-length documentary, "Croatia: Defining the Nation," by acclaimed director Louis Myles, which talks about how football unites and connects the Croatian people and a group of friends who have gained global recognition in the face of extreme hardships. Each of them became a legend and painted their country around the world.

The film tells many stories of Croatia's bronze national team in 1998, such as Davor Šuker's Golden Boot at the 1998 World Cup, and the captain of the national team at that time, Zvonimir Boban. 

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

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

2022 World Cup Tickets for Croatia Fans On Sale!

April 13, 2022 - 2022 World Cup tickets for Croatia fans in Qatar opened on April 13, and applications will be accepted until April 28.

After more than 800,000 World Cup tickets were sold in the first phase, a ticket sale period has opened on https://www.fifa.com/tickets (with random draws in the event of more entries than available) ticket), which runs until Thursday, April 28 at 11:00 Central European Time.

From April 13, fans can apply for tickets for the Croatia national team matches. Recall, Croatia will play in Group F against Morocco (November 23), Canada (November 27), and Belgium (December 1). All national teams are entitled to eight percent of the stadium capacity in the group stage and approximately eight percent of the stadium capacity in the continuation of the competition (depending on the stadium configuration). Fan tickets can be applied for via the following link: www.fifa.com/fanticketingportals.

In this sales period, there will be no difference whether applications are submitted on the first, last, or any other day as all tickets will be awarded after the end of the application period. In cases where the number of registered tickets exceeds the available contingent, tickets will be allocated through a random selection procedure.

All fans will be notified of the outcome of their applications no later than Tuesday, May 31, with the steps to follow if they can purchase tickets and the deadline by which they must pay for the tickets awarded.

The prices of individual tickets for the first phase of the competition are 250 (3rd category), 600 (2nd category), and 800 (1st category) Qatari riyals. Prices for the round of 16 are 385, 825 and 1,100 riyals, for the quarterfinals 825, 1,155 and 1,705, for the semifinals 1,430, 2,640 and 3,828, for the third-place match 825, 1,210 and 1,705, and for the final 2,420, 4,015 and 6,435 riyals.

All ticket information can be found at https://www.fifa.com/tickets, and ticket prices here.

Source: HNS

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

 

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Croatia 2022 World Cup Schedule: 11 am Opener against Morocco

April 2, 2022 - The Croatia 2022 World Cup schedule is here, with the dates, times, and stadiums listed for the highly anticipated tournament later this year.

The Croatia national team will play this November at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in Group F together with Morocco, Canada, and Belgium. The draw was held on Friday night in Doha. 

If Croatia is one of the first two national teams in their group, they will cross paths with Group E, where Spain and Germany are the favorites to pass, while the group also includes Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand. 

Croatia's 2022 World Cup matches
FIFA has announced the exact schedule of matches, and Croatia will open the tournament against Morocco on November 23 at 11 am local time at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

The second round is scheduled four days later, on November 27, when Croatia plays Canada at 5 pm at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The Group F derby is played on December 1, when Croatia and Belgium will play at 4 pm at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Qatar is not opening the World Cup.
Interestingly, host Qatar will not be the first to open the competition at the World Cup. Their match against Ecuador was scheduled by the organizer at 5 pm on the first day of the tournament, but before them, the Netherlands and Senegal will take the pitch at 11 am in the same group. Then, from 2 pm, England and Iran will play.

Remembering Croatia against Mexico 20 years ago.
This early match time between Croatia and Morocco is not the earliest Croatia has played at a World Cup. Twenty years ago in Japan, Croatia played and lost to Mexico at 8:30 Croatian time.

Croatia 2022 World Cup Schedule: 
Wednesday, November 23

11:00 Croatia - Morocco

Sunday, November 27

17:00 Croatia - Canada

Thursday, December 1

16:00 Croatia - Belgium

Source: Gol.hr

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

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Zlatko Dalić on Croatia World Cup Draw: "Goal is to Get Out of Group"

April 2, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić comments on the Croatia World Cup draw, expressing that the goal is to get out of the group stage. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić commented on the 2022 World Cup draw, which placed Croatia in Group F with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada, reports HNS.

Impressions are positive.

"At first glance, the group is not too tough. However, there is no easy group at the World Cup because there are the best national teams in the world. It won't be easy, but we have our goal, and that is to get out of the group. I believe we will prepare to win every game and make a step to the next round. The schedule of playing matches is good; we are playing against Morocco, Canada, and only then against Belgium." 

What does the opening against Morocco bring?

"We know that the coach of Morocco is Mr. Halilhodžić, who took four national teams to the World Cup. He will certainly prepare well for us, and it will be a tough match. Morocco beat Congo in the additional qualifiers, and several outstanding players in their ranks play in Europe. But, equally, Morocco will be very motivated because this is their first game in the World Cup."

Next up is the match against Canada, the team's first appearance at the World Cup since 1986.

“They achieved great success, but they fully deserved it. They were the first in their group; they beat the USA and Mexico, which signifies that they are very good. So they will be very motivated, they will come to the World Cup with a lot of good energy, and we will be a kind of "target" for them. So we have to be very careful because we have a tough opponent ahead of us."

In the last match in the group, Croatia awaits Belgium, the strongest national team on paper. 

"Belgium has been first in the Fifa ranking for several years; I know Mr. Martinez very well, a great coach. He has a great team at his disposal, powerful and capable of great things, with many quality individuals. That game will be our biggest challenge in the group, and it is good that it will be our third game. In any case, Belgium is the favorite in our group in terms of rating." 

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

Friday, 1 April 2022

2022 World Cup Draw: Croatia in Group F with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada

April 1, 2022 - The 2022 World Cup draw was held in Doha tonight, revealing Croatia in Group F against Belgium, Morocco, and Canada. 

The draw for the World Cup groups was held today in Doha which started at 18:00 Croatia time. 

Croatia was in the second strongest group (Pot 2) based on the FIFA ranking from March 31. The only thing known apart from the ranking was that the host Qatar was automatically placed in Group A.

The rule is that there can be no more than two European teams in one group, and as for other continents, two teams from Asia, Africa, South America, or North and Central America cannot end up in the same group.

Croatia needed at least one draw at the Doha friendly tournament to secure their spot in the second pot, which they achieved already against Slovenia. 

Due to specific circumstances, this group draw was held when not all World Cup participants are known. So far, 29 national teams have qualified and three more are awaited. The list will be completed in June, after the completion of the remaining continental and intercontinental playoffs.

Another national team will come from Europe after Scotland and Ukraine meet in Glasgow. The winner of that match will play against Wales and the winner will be placed in one of the eight groups drawn today.

Peru is also will play against the winner of the Australia - United Arab Emirates match. One final playoffs pair is already known: Costa Rica - New Zealand.

2022 World Cup Pots

Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, France, Belgium, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal

Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia

Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Ghana, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Wales or Scotland or Ukraine, Australia or the United Arab Emirates or Peru, Costa Rica or New Zealand

2022 World Cup draw:
Group A: Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador 

Group B: England, USA, Iran, Playoff winner (Wales or winner of Scotland - Ukraine)

Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Playoff winner (either Peru or winner of the Australia - United Arab Emirates match)

Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Playoff winner (Costa Rica or New Zealand)

Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada 

Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, Korean Republic, Ghana 

Croatia opens the World Cup on November 23 against Morocco, followed by Canada on November 27, and Belgium in the last round on December 1. The exact timetables and stadiums where Croatia will play will be known later.

The World Cup in Qatar will be played from November 21 to December 18. This will be the last World Cup according to the current concept (32 national teams divided into eight groups of four). At the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, there will be 48 national teams.

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

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Modrić and Kramarić Score in Croatia's 2:1 Win against Bulgaria in Doha

March 29, 2022 - Modrić and Kramarić scored in Croatia's 2:1 win against Bulgaria on Tuesday in Doha. 

After Croatia played 1:1 with Slovenia on Saturday, Croatia met Bulgaria on Tuesday for their second friendly match in Doha. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić changed 10 of the 11 players from the starting lineup against Slovenia. Just as he announced, he gave everyone a chance to start from the first minute, that is, to rest those who were in the starting 11 three days ago. Because Lovren wasn't ready, the only player who started both matches was Duje Ćaleta-Car.

Lineups

Croatia: (3-5-2): Ivušić - Škorić, Vida, Ćaleta-Car - Oršić, Majer, Moro, Pašalić, Barišić - Vlašić, Livaja

Bulgaria: Vucov - Turicov, P. Hristov, A. Hristov, Jordanov - Nedelev, Čočev, Malinov, Kirilov - Minčev, Despodov.

Recap

Croatia started offensively and got into Bulgaria's penalty area in the first minute. Bulgaria had their first dangerous counter in the 6th minute which Škorić cleared. 

Livaja had a chance in the 8th minute and Barišić shot from the left in the 11th which was cleared for a corner. Oršić had a chance two minutes later which also went out for a corner. 

Moro shot on target from 20 meters in the 20th minute which the Bulgaria keeper hit out for Croatia's third corner of the match.

Bulgaria had a chance in the 25th minute which Ivušić defended for a Bulgaria corner. Mile Škorić was injured moments later forcing Pogrančić to be subbed on in the 28th minute.

Barišić shot again from the left in the 35th minute and Orišić with his left foot three minutes later. 

The first half ended 0:0 with 59% of possession for Croatia and 11 total shots, 4 of which were on target. 

Perišić and Kovačić came on for Moro and Vida to start the second half. 

Perišić threatened Bulgaria's goal two minutes into the second half. Pašalić also had a chance in the 54th minute. 

In the 60th minute, Vlašić and Livaja came out for Kramarić and Budimir. 

In the 63rd minute, Ćaleta-Car got his second yellow card and was sent off, forcing Croatia to play with a man down. 

Despodov took advantage of a hole in Croatia's defense to put Bulgaria ahead in the 69th minute. A foul was called on Kramarić in the penalty area five minutes later and Modrić scored from the penalty spot for 1:1. 

Kramarić dribbled through Bulgaria's defense in the 80th minute to find the far post for 2:1 Croatia. 

Bulgaria had a brilliant chance in the 87th minute after Kovačić lost the ball, though Barišić saved the day to keep it 2:1. 

Bulgaria had another chance in the 90th minute and the ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. The match ended 2:1 for Croatia. 

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

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