Saturday, 29 January 2022

Croatia and France at Poljud: June 2022 UEFA Nations League Host Cities Announced

January 29, 2022 - It'll be a replay of the 2018 World Cup final, with the Croatian Football Federation announcing the 2022 Nations League match between Croatia and France will be played at Poljud on June 6, 2022. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has decided on the venues for the Croatia national team matches in the UEFA Nations League, opening in June this year, reports HNS

The 2018 World Cup finalist will host Austria on June 3 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek (20:45), and three days later a replay of the 2018 World Cup final between Croatia and France at Poljud in Split. The long-awaited spectacle against the 2018 world champions will also be played in the evening (20:45).

In this June mini-cycle, the Croatia national team will also face Denmark (June 10) and France (June 13), both away. Croatia completes the Nations League in September with Denmark at home (September 22) and Austria away on September 25 (stadium to be determined). 

Thus, four Nations League rounds will be played from June 2 to 14, and the remaining two in the second half of September (from 22 to 27).

The Croatian Football Federation will announce ticket sale information in due time, but if the final 2022 World Cup qualifying match against Russia last November tells us anything, we can expect a sellout at Poljud Stadium in June - with hopefully much nicer weather. 

Croatia will not rest at the end of March, either. While the remaining second-placed European national teams will play additional World Cup qualifications, Croatia could play up to three friendly matches as part of their World Cup preparations.

Furthermore, the World Cup group draw will be held on April 1, 2022, in Doha. On that day, coach Dalić and the players will learn the three national teams they will compete against in the group stage of the World Cup. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar from November 21 to December 18 this year. 

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

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Coach Zlatko Dalić on Croatia Football in 2022 (VIDEO)

January 6, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić spoke with the Croatian Football Federation about what we can expect from Croatia football in 2022. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić recently signed a new contract with the Croatian Football Federation. Dalić extended his cooperation until the European Championship, which will be played in the summer of 2024 in Germany. Shortly after signing the contract, he revealed his plans and expectations, reports Gol.hr.

What are your biggest motives?

"Now I am certainly much more motivated with the new contract because I want to prove again that we have quality and get the right results again. From that side, the motivation is really huge. We have a great team, great support from the Croatian Football Federation, my staff, and all prerequisites there," Dalić said.

When asked about his next goal, the coach replied:

"My next goal is for Croatia to qualify for the Euros in Germany after Qatar, where we will have great support, I am sure of that."

How do you deal with pressure?

"The pressure is welcome, but it must be positive. Every Croatia national team coach has one goal - to qualify for a big competition. You have to know how to deal with the pressure and keep your peace, and I somehow succeed in that."

He recently strengthened his professional staff with Mario Mandžukić, who joined Ivica Olić and Vedran Ćorluka as former Vatreni assistants. What can they bring to the coaching staff?

"Well, my goal is for all former Vatreni who have merits in the national team, and who want to work as coaches, to be in the national team. Those with their knowledge and charisma can help a lot, Mario will certainly help a lot, we know what kind of player he was, and he will know how to pass that on to the players."

How will you use this year until the World Cup?

"A year is a big period, but we are already preparing for Qatar. We will have two preparatory matches in March, then six more in the Nations League. We don't have any big unknowns, I expect the players to confirm the quality they showed in the qualifiers. The door will be open for players who impose themselves with their game at their clubs."

How difficult is it for you to lead the national team during a pandemic?

"The match in Split against Russia or in Osijek against Slovakia showed how much the national team means to people. In Split, there was rain, bad weather, cold, and an almost full stadium. So, nothing prevented our people from coming to support the national team that serves to reunite us all. The national team brings us together and I think we are doing great things," said Dalić.

You can watch the full interview in the video below. 

 

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

Sunday, 2 January 2022

British Psychic Predicts Croatia to Win 2022 World Cup in Qatar

January 2, 2022 - Will Croatia win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? One British psychic who predicted Brexit, Boris Johnson's victory, and juicy Royal Family news seems to think so. 

As we welcome a new year, football fans can hardly stop thinking about just how busy this calendar year is for their beloved sport, and they can't help but predict what they think will happen in 2022.

Gol.hr reports that one interesting forecast has been made by the British psychic Jemima Packington, better known under the working name Mystic Veg, who predicts the future with the help of asparagus. Yes, you heard that right.

"Croatia will be the world champion in football, and the World Cup in Qatar will be shrouded in controversy," pointed out the British psychic.

The British tabloid Mirror claims that Mystic Veg successfully predicted Brexit, Boris Johnson's victory in the parliamentary elections, Harry and Meghan's departure from the royal family, and many other events.

"I accurately predict 75 to 90% of things. I've been told that my predictions this year are among the most controversial, but I'm just following what the asparagus tells me," says Mystic Veg.

Whether or not Mystic Veg is correct remains to be seen, as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar takes place this winter, from November 21 to December 18. Croatia's World Cup group rivals will not be revealed until April this year. Nevertheless, Croatia should be in the second strongest hat. 

But even before the World Cup, Croatia will compete in the UEFA Nations League against France, Denmark, and Austria, in an intense schedule that hosts four games in June and two in September this year. 

Croatia will also begin preparing for the busy year ahead with two friendly matches in March. We will find out if Mystic Veg is correct about the World Cup in precisely 349 days, or 11 months and 15 days.

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

Friday, 17 December 2021

UEFA Nation's League Group 1 Schedule: Croatia Opens against Austria and France at Home

December 17, 2021 - The UEFA Nation's League Group 1 schedule has been announced. Croatia will open the competition with home games against Austria and France next June. 

The European Football Federation (UEFA) has announced the Nations League Group 1 schedule, which features the national teams of Croatia, France, Denmark, and Austria.

"We are in the elite group and every opponent is tough, but I can say that the draw was not bad. It seems to me that it will be easier than the first two years and I expect, of course, good results. I was expecting Italy, but we got France from the strongest hat. There is no way we can avoid them and I guess we have to play until we beat them. Austria and Denmark are national teams we can play with," was how Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić reacted to the draw held on Friday. 

"The Nations League is always important, but it has caused me problems in the past because we were not successful. Now I expect better games and to present ourselves properly. There will be good matches, the group is great and everything will be great preparation for the World Cup in Qatar," concluded Dalić.

Croatia will open the competition in June next year with home games against Austria (June 3) and France (June 6). This will be followed by away matches against Denmark (June 10) and France (June 13). Croatia will play at home against Denmark on September 22 and visit Austria on September 25 to close out the group stage. 

The cities hosting the group matches will be announced at a late date.

SCHEDULE

June 3, 2022: Croatia - Austria

June 6, 2022: Croatia - France

June 10, 2022: Denmark - Croatia

June 13, 2022: France - Croatia

September 22, 2022: Croatia - Denmark

September 25, 2022: Austria - Croatia

It is not yet known how this Nations League season will affect the qualifications for Euro 2024. UEFA has said that this has not yet been decided.

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

Thursday, 16 December 2021

UEFA Nations League Draw: Croatia to Face France, Denmark, Austria

December 16, 2021 - The UEFA Nations League draw was held tonight. Croatia has been drawn into Group 1 against France, Denmark, and Austria. The 2022 Nations League competition will be played next June and September. 

Croatia learned who they will play in the 2022 Nations League tonight. The Croatia national team will play in the elite A league against 

Croatia was placed in the third strong hat and could not be drawn against England, Poland, and Switzerland. As in the previous edition, Croatia would face two stronger opponents and a slightly less attractive national team from the weakest, 4th hat.

Potential opponents for Croatia in the A league were one national team from each of these three strong groups:

Group 1: France, Spain, Italy, Belgium
Group 2: Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany
Group 4: Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary

What is particularly interesting are the dates that UEFA has planned for these six group matches. Due to the complicated football calendar thanks to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will be played in November and December next year, the Nations League dates have been tightened to just two months.

Namely, the Nations League will be played in June and September, with four games in just two weeks in June next year, while two games are planned for September.

From June 2 to 14, i.e., across 12 days, UEFA has planned four games to be played every three days. This term is not ideal, as footballers will already be exhausted after the club season come to an end. 

It is not yet known how this Nations League season will affect the qualifications for Euro 2024. UEFA has said that this has not yet been decided.

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

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Zlatko Dalić Extends Croatia Contract Until 2024

December 9, 2021 - Great news for Croatia football fans worldwide as Zlatko Dalić will extend his Croatia contract until 2024. 

The Croatian Football Federation president Marijan Kustić and the Croatian A national team coach Zlatko Dalić agreed to extend their cooperation, and the 2018 World Cup finalist coach signed a new contract that binds him to the UEFA European Championship in 2024, announced HNS.

Zlatko Dalić took over the Croatian national team in October 2017 and managed to bring them to the FIFA World Cup in Russia through a complicated playoff round. As a result, Dalić led Croatia to the World Cup final, i.e., the silver medal that inscribed that generation in the history of Croatian football.

Dalić then successfully qualified for EURO 2020. Croatia advanced to the second round of the competition. He then became the first Croatia coach to qualify for three major competitions, winning first place in Group H in qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar. Between those qualifiers, Dalić and Croatia twice managed to stay in the Nations League elite group. 

At the Croatian Football Federation headquarters, President Kustić agreed to continue cooperation with the most successful coach in the history of Croatian football.

"I thank President Kustić and the leadership of the Federation for this expression of trust. I have pointed out many times that there is no more tremendous honor for me than leading the Croatia national team. Although considerable responsibility and pressure come with this job, leading your national team is the most incredible privilege a coach can have. That is why I did not hesitate when the HNS proposed I continue cooperation. The past few months have convinced me that we are on the right path; I feel great energy and ambition to continue to work great results with this refreshed Croatia and thus make our people happy.

Furthermore, I am convinced of our success in qualifying for EURO 2024. Considering that the host is Germany, I believe that we will have an unforgettable atmosphere and the support of our fans. That image is an incredible motive for my further work," said coach Dalić.

"Of course, Zlatko should have unlimited credit with all of us based on the silver medal in Russia, but everything he did with the national team after that silver shows that he is the ideal man to lead Croatia. He achieved all the goals, won groups to qualify for big competitions, and at the same time he was highly successful in the demanding change of generations, so today we again have a team with excellent prospects. Zlatko is a man who unites, who promotes togetherness, puts his whole self into this work and for us, it was only logical to extend this successful collaboration. Thank you to him for accepting our proposal and making it easy to agree on everything. The Federation will, as before, give full support to the coach and the national team.

We are looking forward to new challenges and new successes," said the HNS president Marijan Kustić.

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

27 Gifts, 27 Days: Croatian Football Federation Advent Announced for All Croatia Fans

November 29, 2021 - As a way to get into the holiday spirit and thank their most loyal fans, the Croatian Football Federation Advent has been announced with gifts for all ages this year. 

Advent has just begun, and the Croatian Football Federation, in cooperation with their commercial partners, is organizing an Advent giveaway for all loyal Croatia fans and social media followers, where you can win sports equipment, national team jerseys, gift cards, overnight stays in luxury hotels, plane tickets, match tickets and more, reports HNS.

What is it all about?

This Advent season, the Croatian Football Federation has organized 27 Advent competitions for the 27 days of Advent, which will be held through the official Croatian Football Federation Instagram account (@hns_cff) to thank the fans for their support in 2021.

Advent competitions will be held until December 24 with valuable gifts from their commercial partners Nike, Football Mania, Croatia Airlines, Zagrebačka pivovara, Hrvatski Telekom, Konzum, Hyundai Hrvatska, Zagreb Tourist Board, Čipi Čips, Heraldija, Puđa, PBZ, PIK Vrbovec, and others.

The rules for the Advent competitions will be published every day of Advent at 10 am on the official HNS Instagram profile. Each prize competition will end with the selection and announcement of the winners on Instagram by 11:59 pm the next day.

Participating in all Advent contests is free. All-natural persons who use Instagram and are older than 13 can participate, except those Advent contests whose prizes include products intended exclusively for adults, which will be further emphasized in the relevant posts.

Potential winners under the age of 18 must provide written consent from their parents or guardians. In addition, the parent or guardian confirms that they agree to provide personal information and the address of the Advent winner to receive the prize.

Advent contests will also be open to international participants, except for those Advent contests whose prizes cannot be submitted outside the Republic of Croatia, which will be available only to participants residing in the Republic of Croatia and will be further emphasized.

One person cannot win more than one prize during all Advent competitions. Participants are free to participate in several Advent competitions and/or content sharing to participate in each Advent competition several times, but they cannot be awarded more than once.

"Enjoy Advent, take part in our sweepstakes, and win valuable gifts for yourself and your loved ones to put under the Christmas tree!" concludes HNS. 

You can find the rules and general conditions of the HNS Advent competitions here.

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

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

2022 European Men's Handball Championship: Croatia's Group Stage Schedule in Szeged

November 23, 2021 - The 2022 European Men's Handball Championship is right around the corner. Croatia will play their group stage games next January in Szeged.

The European Handball Championship is scheduled for January 13-30, 2022, in Hungary and Slovakia. Croatia is in Group C, where they will play against France, Serbia, and Ukraine, reports Gol.hr.

The two best national teams from each of the six groups of the first round will travel to the second round and compete in two new groups with six teams. Finally, the best two national teams from both groups will reach the semifinals of the European Handball Championship. 

Croatia plays in Szeged, on the border with Serbia

The Croatia national team will play their three introductory matches in Szeged, hopefully not the only matches at the Euro. At the start of Group C, a handball classic between Croatia and France awaits us on January 13 at 8:30 pm.

Two days later, on January 15, another spectacle - Croatia plays a neighborhood derby against Serbia in a city on the border with Serbia. After that, Croatia will play its last match in Group C on January 17 against Ukraine.

The two best in the second round group go to the semifinals

The best two from Croatia's group will play in a new group in the second round with the two best teams from groups A and B. This group will play their matches in Budapest from January 20, 2022. 

The semifinals are scheduled for January 28, and the final and match for 3rd place on January 30.

2022 Euros Handball schedule:
Group A
January 13
18.00 Slovenia - North Macedonia
20:30 Denmark - Montenegro

January 15
18:00 North Macedonia - Montenegro
20:30 Slovenia - Denmark

January 17
18:00 Montenegro - Slovenia
20:30 North Macedonia - Denmark

Group B
January 13
20:30 Hungary - Netherlands

January 14
20:30 Portugal - Iceland

January 16
18:00 Portugal - Hungary
20:30 Iceland - Netherlands

January 18
18:00 Iceland - Hungary
20:30 Netherlands - Portugal

Group C
January 13
18:00 Serbia - Ukraine
20:30 Croatia - France

January 15
18:00 France - Ukraine
20:30 Croatia - Serbia

January 17
18:00 Ukraine - Croatia
20:30 France - Serbia

Group D
January 14
18:00 Germany - Belarus
20:30 Austria - Poland

January 16
18:00 Germany - Austria
20:30 Belarus - Poland

January 18
18:00 Poland - Germany
20:30 Belarus - Austria

Group E
January 13
18:00 Spain - Czech Republic
20:30 Sweden - BiH

January 15
18:00 Czech Republic - BiH
20:30 Spain - Sweden

January 17
18:00 BiH - Spain
20:30 Czech Republic - Sweden

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

Monday, 22 November 2021

Mario Mandžukić Joins Croatia National Team Coaching Staff!

November 22, 2021 - Mario Mandžukić has been added to the Croatia national team coaching staff ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar! 

After agreeing in principle with coach Zlatko Dalić on joining the Croatia national team coaching staff, Mario Mandžukić today formally agreed to cooperate with the president of the Croatian Football Federation Marijan Kustić and was appointed a coach in Croatia's professional staff, reports HNS.

Mandžukić joins Zlatko Dalic's professional staff after ending an impressive playing career this summer, including 89 appearances and 33 goals for Croatia and a silver medal at the World Cup in Russia. His outstanding club career was especially marked by periods at Bayern and Juventus, with which he won eight big titles each, a total of 23 in his prosperous career. With Bayern, he won the Champions League in 2013, scoring a goal in the final, while in 2017, his spectacular scissor-kick goal was not enough for Juventus in the final.

"Thanks to coach Dalić and President Kustić for the trust - we easily agreed on cooperation, which I am extremely looking forward to. I know how much the national team meant to me as a player, and I want to pass that passion and experience to the new generation. It's great that we have secured a direct spot in Qatar; we now have a year to peacefully prepare well for the World Cup through friendly matches and the Nations League. I enter this job with a lot of responsibility, desire, and ambition, and I will do my best to help the coach, colleagues in the staff, and, of course, the entire national team in the coming period," said Mandžukić.

"I always say that Croatia players should stay close to the national team, and that is why I am thrilled that Mario is with us again. In talking to him, I was convinced of how dedicated, interested, and willing he is to help, and I think his exceptional experience will be beneficial. I think we got a valuable reinforcement in the staff because I know with how much effort and commitment Mario approaches everything in life, and that is why I look forward to working again," said coach Zlatko Dalić.

"Of course, as a federation, we supported the agreement between the coach and Mario, which will certainly make an important contribution to the work of the professional staff. His playing career, both the national team and the club, can be a role model for every young player, and I do not doubt that everyone will learn a lot from him. As a player, he was a symbol of fighting spirit, hard work, winning guard, and unwavering character, and I am glad that he will be able to promote these values as a coach in the A national team," said the president of the Federation Marijan Kustić.

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

Monday, 22 November 2021

2022 World Cup Costs: How Much Will Croatia Fans Spend in Qatar?

November 22, 2021 - Now that Croatia has qualified for Qatar and we can start making rough plans for next year, what are the 2022 World Cup costs for Croatia fans in Qatar? 

We are one year away from the 2022 World Cup. It will be opened by the host Qatar in the 1st round Group A match on November 21, 2022, starting at 1 pm local time, or 11 am Croatian time, at Al Bayt Stadium.

Four matches will be played every day in the competition's group stage at 11:00, 14:00, 17:00, and 20:00 Croatian time in the first two rounds, and at 16:00 and 20:00 in the third round when teams from the same group will play at the same time. The final is scheduled for December 18 at 16:00 at Lusail Iconic Stadium.

Croatia will play in its sixth World Cup, and since its debut in France in 1998, it missed only South Africa in 2010. Croatia became the seventh national team to qualify for the World Cup and did so earlier than ever. Qatar, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, France, Belgium, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Argentina have also qualified. So far, only 13 national teams are known. The remaining national teams will be learned in January, February, March, and June.

Asia has four more rounds in their two qualifying groups. The top teams leading to a spot in Qatar are Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, while the third-placed teams (the winners play each other and the winner goes to the intercontinental playoffs) are the UAE and Australia. Another 12 national teams from the Asia zone will qualify for the World Cup.

There are 10 teams from Africa, and a draw for the play-off pairs next week in which, according to the FIFA ranking, the seeded teams will be Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Nigeria, and unseeded Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, and DR Congo. After that, two matches will be played in March, and the winners will go to the World Cup.

There are six rounds left in the CONCACAF zone, and all eight national teams still have mathematical chances. Canada, the US, and Mexico are in the lead for a spot in Qatar, while Panama could see an intercontinental play-off.

No one has dropped out yet in South America. Brazil and Argentina have secured the World Cup, and eight spots can still be claimed. Ecuador and Colombia are the most likely, and if Peru finished the qualifications now, they would go to the playoffs. 

Eleven national teams should participate in Oceania qualifiers next year, and the winner will also go to the playoffs. In Europe, on the other hand, there are 12 more nations fighting for Qatar, which will be divided into three tournaments. The winners of each will go to the World Cup.

Thus, there are 19 places left and 61 national teams fighting for Qatar. 2022 World Cup matches will be played at eight stadiums in five cities, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Al Wakrahu, Doha, and Lusail. Qatar is a country with about 2.8 million inhabitants, located on 11,581 square kilometers, which is less than the area of the four Dalmatian counties combined (12,951 km2), so distance is no problem. Namely, the southernmost Al Wakrah to the northernmost Al Khor is only about 70 kilometers by road.

But coming to the Arabian Peninsula from Croatia is another story. 

Jutarnji List made an approximate estimate of how much the World Cup in Qatar would cost for Croatia fans if the World Cup were played in November and December this year, and if Croatia remained in the tournament from start to finish, like in Russia 2018.

The cheapest direct return flights from Zagreb - Doha today are around 4,600 kuna, with the possibility that you can find flights of up to 4,000 kuna for fans who have no problem changing several times and extending the trip to ten hours. The direct Zagreb - Doha flight lasts 5 hours and 15 minutes.

FIFA has not yet announced ticket prices or ticket sales. Suppose the amounts are in the range of the 2018 World Cup, the total consumption of a Croatia fan who would stop watching Croatia only in the final is 13,000 kuna. The cheapest tickets for three matches in the group stage would cost $315, for the round of 16 $115, for the quarterfinals $175, for the semifinals $285, and the final $455. In total, it is $1,345 US dollars or almost 9,000 kuna.

There is currently a lot of affordable accommodation in Qatar, though the quality is questionable. For example, you can find an apartment in Doha for 9,200 kuna for four people (two beds) via Airbnb for a month, which is 2,300 kuna per person. Admittedly, there are few of these offers, but likely none like this during the 2022 World Cup. However, it's safe the say that private one-month accommodations could be found for 5, 6, 7 thousand kuna per person.

The cheapest accommodation for an individual through Booking.com is currently 14,000 kuna/month. Jutarnji thus calculated a minimum of 15,000 kuna/month plus the daily cost of food, drinks, and transportation in Qatar, requiring at least 20,000 kuna for those who do not seek luxury but see Qatar as a great adventure.

A large pizza is around 90 kuna in well-known branded pizzerias and fast food menus around 40 kuna, calculated from Qatari riyals (1 rial is around 1.8 kuna). If the World Cup starts today, between 25,000 and 30,000 kuna would be needed for the average Croatia fan in Qatar for a month, providing Croatia goes to the final. 

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

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