Monday, 31 May 2021

Croatia Euros Camp Moved to Rovinj due to COVID Measures in Scotland

May 31, 2021 - The Croatia Euros camp has moved to Rovinj due to the current COVID-19 measures in Scotland. 

HNS reports that the Croatian Football Federation management has decided that the Croatia national team will stay in Rovinj instead of St Andrews, Scotland, during the European Championship.

HNS received a recommendation from UEFA to change the national team's camp due to the COVID-related measures in Scotland that could affect the national team. The Croatian Football Federation did not want to risk the possibility that due to a potentially infected person among the players and staff members, a larger number of players would have to go into mandatory self-isolation, so it was decided that St Andrews would not be the national team camp.

After a detailed analysis of available options and intensive communication with UEFA, the Federation's management, in agreement with the expert staff headed by coach Zlatko Dalic, decided that the Croatia national team will stay in Rovinj during the Euro, where it was during the first part of preparations. Croatia will stay at the Grand Park Hotel and train at the NK Rovinj playground.

"I think that in these circumstances, this is the best decision for the national team. We know that we will have excellent conditions, top accommodation, and quality terrain, and we cannot get that elsewhere in such a short time. We will try to have our peace, which is also needed. The support of the people can only give us extra energy. Given the pandemic, this is the best outcome; we have a unique opportunity to hold the championship in our country," said coach Zlatko Dalic.

"We reacted responsibly and quickly found the best solution for the national team in these exceptional circumstances. We could not allow our stay in Scotland to endanger most of the team in self-isolation. Rovinj has proven excellent living and working conditions for the national team, and other options abroad would be improvisation at the moment. We are at home in Croatia, we will be most comfortable there in these circumstances, and that is why we all agreed that this is the best decision," said HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustić.

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Friday, 28 May 2021

Nikola Vlašić Promises Spectacle against England at Wembley

May 28, 2021 - Nikola Vlašić talks about the excellent atmosphere on the Croatia national team and promises a spectacle against England at Wembley. 

After an extraordinary season in the CSKA Moscow shirt, where he profiled himself as one of the best players in the Russian league, Nikola Vlašić is full of motivation at the Croatia national team preparations, reports HNS.

Croatia will open their European Championship campaign against England on June 13 at Wembley, and Nikola Vlašić believes that coach Zlatko Dalić has numerous trump cards for such a tough meeting.

 

"It's always a motive to play for Croatia, but to play at Wembley against England ... it will be a spectacle; we all can't wait for that game. Many of our players played the best seasons in their careers, and if we transfer that to the national team, it can be a great situation. If we are organized as a team, we can expect a good result," he says.

An injury at the end of the season is not a problem for him, and spirits are high on the Croatia national team.

"There is no feeling of disagreement; we all talk to each other and hang out - I think the atmosphere is at an enviable level," said Vlašić, praising the qualities of his teammates.

The Croatia national team gathered on May 25 for Euro preparations in Rovinj. After the friendly against Armenia on June 1 in Velika Gorica, the national team will have a final check on June 6 against Belgium in Brussels, from where they will travel to the base camp in St. Andrews on June 8. 

The UEFA EURO 2020 will take place between June 11 and July 11, 2021. Croatia plays in Group D (London/Glasgow) with England (hosts), Scotland (hosts), and the Czech Republic.

Croatia opens its EURO campaign on Sunday, June 13, against England (15:00, London). On Friday, June 18, Croatia plays the Czech Republic in Glasgow, Scotland (18:00). Croatia's final group stage match is against Scotland on June 22 in Glasgow (21:00). 

The top two in each group plus the four best third-placed teams go through to the knockout phase. The round of 16 is scheduled from June 26 to 29. The quarterfinals are held on July 2 and 3, the semifinals on July 6 and 7. The final will be played on July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London. 

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Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Zlatko Dalić Press Conference in Zagreb ahead of EURO 2020: Croatia Gathers Today!

Mya 25, 2021 - The Zlatko Dalić press conference in Zagreb was held today ahead of the Croatia national team gathering. Tonight, the team heads to Rovinj to begin their preparations for EURO 2020. 

On Tuesday around noon, the Croatia national team gathered in Zagreb ahead of the European Championship preparations, where they will play their first game on June 13 at 3 pm against England at Wembley, reports Index.hr.

Coach Zlatko Dalić published the player list last week, and today at 11 am, he addressed the press and answered key questions before the Euros. He is now leading the national team to the base in Rovinj for the first part of the preparations.

"I can now tell you how we will do our best, die on the pitch, but it will not be enough at the Euros if Croatia is not better and more responsible. Tactically we have to look much better, and Croatia must be much better than it was in the Nations League," said coach Dalić at the beginning.

"We are opening the tournament against the national team that is the favorite for the title, they have seven players in the Champions League final, and they play at home. We must not ignore the Czechs; there are eight players from the same club in their national team, then we have Scotland, who is the host. The goal is to get out of the group."

How will Croatia play at EURO 2020?

"We will stick to what we do best tactically, but I think the best option is the one we played in Russia. Of course, it depends on the players, their health, and their form," said Dalić. 

At tonight's training in Rovinj, the coach will practice with eleven players. Pašalić and Vrsaljko will join tomorrow, and on Friday, the team should be complete. Filip Uremović is still plagued by an injury.

"We will see how he is today; he has been recovering for seven days and has an advantage because he covers the positions of the stopper and right back. But if Filip is not ready, we will not take risks. I expect Mate Kovačić, who plays in the Champions League final, on May 31, while I am waiting for the young players who are playing in the U-21 Euro in Zagreb on June 4. I want to congratulate all our players who became champions and won trophies in their clubs, as well as Mateo for placing in the Champions League final. It would be nice to have a cake during our preparations again. Because of him, I support Chelsea in the final. Lately, they have delighted me with their game, even though Manchester is the favorite," believes Dalić.

He is also worried about Ante Rebić.

"I'm worried because he always has some bad luck before the tournament. He hasn't trained for five days, and I'm cautious when it comes to him. But most of our players are in good shape, and that makes me happy. I'm not a pessimist; I just wish everyone good health. On Friday, we start with serious work," said the coach.

Aware that his national team has not looked good for a long time, Dalić announced the tactics he would practice and talked about the biggest problems.

"We will stick to what was best, the 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1 system. We depend a lot on the central striker. We have 4-4-2 and 4-3-2-1 variants with two midfielders; we will also play that. We have nine training sessions, and we will focus exclusively on tactics. Set plays are a huge problem, and I am asking for more responsibility from individuals who keep opponents from scoring a goal. My players here have to be much more responsible and tell themselves that they will not allow their players to jump and score a goal. We used to defend man-on-man set plays, and there would always be someone to run away from us, and now we’re going to cross the zone, we’re going to pay attention to that. Yet, the greatest responsibility is of individuals is covering their opponents. Desire is key," Dalić said.

The question is who will play the right-wing because most wingers in Croatia prefer the left side.

"We can't allow everyone to play the position they play at their club. I don't think there are any problems in that position, and it's not that our players don't want to play; it's that they don't play the ideal football on the right wing. But we saw as Ante Rebić played at the World Cup, we have Perišić, Ivanušec and I am not afraid at all," claims Dalić and continues:

"The long season is behind us; the players are tired. We have to work carefully with a lot of emotion, we will certainly not follow a strict plan, but we will behave as needed, day by day. We will refresh ourselves and go to work on a tactical plan. We will work together because it is important for the result, which is crucial for the atmosphere. We lack time and the right atmosphere, which is very important for Croatia. We will talk a lot; I will try to reach every player."

Today, a dozen players are coming to the gathering: HNL players Petković, Škorić, Oršić, Kalinić, Livaković, and players who have no more obligations with their clubs. Sluga, Juranović, Vlašić, and Barišić are also expected.

Tonight at 7 pm is the first training, and the complete team is expected on May 28. Dalić has agreed with U21 national team coach Igor Bišćan on the status of players they share in the national teams. Thus, Joško Gvardiol, Domagoj Bradarić, and Luka Ivanušić will start preparations with the U21 team for the historic Euro quarterfinal match on May 31 in Maribor. After that, Dalić expects them at the Croatian base in St. Andrews in Scotland.

EURO 2020 Player List

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković - Dinamo, Lovre Kalinić - Hajduk, Simon Sluga - Luton; call-up: Ivica Ivušić

Defenders: Šime Vrsaljko - Atletico Madrid, Borna Barišić - Rangers, Domagoj Vida - Bešiktaš, Josip Juranović - Legia, Dejan Lovren - Zenit, Duje Ćaleta-Car - Marseille, Domagoj Bradarić - Lille, Mile Škorić - Osijek, Joško Gvardiol - Dinamo; call-ups Uremović and Pongračić

Midfielders: Luka Modrić - Real Madrid, Marcelo Brozović - Inter, Milan Badelj - Genoa, Mateo Kovačić - Chelsea, Nikola Vlašić - CSKA Moskva, Mario Pašalić - Atalanta, Luka Ivanušec; call-ups: Moro, Majer and Bašić.

Strikers: Bruno Petković - Dinamo, Ivan Perišić - Inter, Andrej Kramarić - Hoffenheim, Josip Brekalo - Wolfsburg, Ante Rebić - Milan, Mislav Oršić - Dinamo, Ante Budimir - Osasuna; call-ups: Lovrić and Livaja.

KEY DATES

25.5. National team gathers in Zagreb and departs to Rovinj
25.5. - 31.5. Preparations in Rovinj
1.6. Player registration deadline for UEFA EURO 2020 (until 23:59)
8.6. Arrival at the base camp in St. Andrews

MATCH SCHEDULE

1.6. friendly: Croatia - Armenia (Velika Gorica)
6.6. friendly: Belgium - Croatia (Bruxelles)
13.6. EURO 2020: England - Croatia (London)
18.6. EURO 2020: Croatia - Czech Republic (Glasgow)
22.6. EURO 2020: Croatia - Scotland (Glasgow)

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Ivica Olić Returns to Croatia National Team Bench for EURO 2020

May 18, 2021 - Ivica Olić returns to Croatia as an assistant to coach Zlatko Dalić for EURO 2020! 

"Ivica was allowed to join the national team. He wanted it himself, considering that he now has free time. He decided that he did not want to rest," agent Dejan Joksimović told Russian RIA Sport, as reported by Index.hr and 24 Sata.

Although Vedran Ćorluka joined the national team as a replacement for Olić, Olić managed to get CSKA to allow him to work with the Croatia national team this summer.

Olić took over CSKA in April this year, when he was fifth, but failed to get them out of trouble. He finished sixth, which is the worst placement of the Moscow club in the Russian championship since 2001.

Former CSKA player Zoran Tošić stated that Olić's decision is not clear to him because he could miss part of the club's preparations.

"I thought Ivica needed time to solve the problems at CSKA; it would probably be better if he stayed. I hope the coach and the professional staff know what they are doing. I will always support CSKA because I spent a lot of time there," Tošić said.

Olić thus joins Vedran Ćorluka and Dražen Ladić as part of Zlatko Dalić's coaching staff at EURO 2020. 

The Croatia national football team will gather on May 25 at the beginning of preparations for the Euro, which will traditionally be held in Rovinj. After the friendly against Armenia, the national teal will have a final check on June 6 against Belgium in Brussels, from where they will travel to the base camp in St. Andrews on June 8. 

The UEFA EURO 2020 will take place between June 11 and July 11, 2021. Croatia plays in Group D (London/Glasgow) with England (hosts), Scotland (hosts), and the Czech Republic.

Croatia opens its EURO campaign on Sunday, June 13, against England (15:00, London). On Friday, June. 18, Croatia plays. The Czech Republic in Glasgow, Scotland (18:00). Croatia's final group stage match is against Scotland on June 22 in Glasgow (21:00). 

The top two in each group plus the four best third-placed teams go through to the knockout phase. The round of 16 is scheduled from June 26 to 29. The quarterfinals are held on July 2 and 3, the semifinals on July 6 and 7. The final will be played on July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London. 

We will have more on this soon!

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

New Croatia Assistant Coach Vedran Ćorluka On His New Role

May 18, 2021 - The new Croatia national team assistant coach Vedran Ćorluka was officially presented by coach Zlatko Dalić at a press conference in Zagreb ahead of EURO 2020.

Although there was a lot of speculation, Croatian football player Vedran Ćorluka officially announced the end of his playing career and was confirmed as the new Croatia assistant coach on Monday. 

"I did not plan it, but the moment has come," said Ćorluka at the press conference at which coach Zlatko Dalić presented the list of players for the upcoming European Championship.

Dalić introduced Corluka as a new member of the coaching staff.

"I am extremely honored that the coach invited me to help him. Two months ago, I got a call from the coach, he mentioned the idea to me, and we quickly agreed. I also talked to my teammates, and I hope I can help as I helped when I was a player," said Ćorluka while Dalić explained his decision.

"I advocate the vision that the national team must have former players who went through the national team. I did not have that honor, but Dražen (Ladić), Vedran (Ćorluka) and Ivica (Olić) did. Their experience is important to me. I expect Vedran to point out some things to me, to think in his own way. I expect quality advice, criticism, things I don't see," the coach pointed out.

Ćorluka pointed out that the EURO is now in the foreground, and he also revealed his plans.

"Now the EURO is in focus, and after that, we will see. Now I see myself in that; I will enroll in a coaching academy. My former club has expressed a desire to join their staff, and that is the path I want to take," said Ćorluka.

Ćorluka has played for Lokomotiv Moscow since 2012, and on Sunday, he played his last game.

"The last couple of weeks have been quite emotional. We won the Cup, and yesterday I played the last game for Lokomotiv and the last game of my career. It was hard yesterday, but today it was easier," he admitted.

He also revealed when he decided to retire.

"At one point, one realizes that's it. I didn’t plan it, but there came a moment when I decided on my own. I still enjoy football, but I think it's time to come home, to find myself in a new role, in some new joys of life."

When asked what grade he would give himself for his career, he was clear.

"I have never regretted some missed opportunities, so I give myself a rating of 10 out of 10," he said with a smile.

During his career, Ćorluka played for Dinamo, Inter Zaprešić, Manchester City, Tottenham, Bayer Leverkusen, and CSKA Moscow.

He won a total of ten trophies. He was the champion with Dinamo in 2006 and 2007, and he also won the Super Cup in 2006 and the Cup in 2007. In the Lokomotiv jersey, he won six trophies - the Russian Championship, four Cups, and the Russian Super Cup.

He scored four goals for Croatia in 103 games, and he had the crown of his career in 2018 in Russia, where he won world silver in the Vatreni jersey.

Source: HNS, HRT

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Monday, 17 May 2021

Zlatko Dalic Announces Preliminary EURO 2020 Croatia Player List

May 17, 2021 - Coach Zlatko Dalic has announced the preliminary EURO 2020 Croatia player list. 

The Croatia national team has entered the last month of preparations for the European Championship, which opens on June 13 at Wembley against England at 3 pm.

Coach Zlatko Dalic has known the starting lineup and the list for the Euro for a long time. UEFA's rule change gave him three additional positions and he can now take 26 players to the tournament.

Dalic announced their names today at 1 pm, accompanied by the coach of the U21 national team Igor Bišćan, who will reveal his team against Spain for the U21 Euro semifinals in Maribor on May 31.

"We are gathering on May 25 in Rovinj. Only a dozen players, and on the 28th another dozen of them. After that, Kovačić will come, and then the young members of the national team. I must say that this call is not final."

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Croatia layer list:

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković - Dinamo, Lovre Kalinić - Hajduk, Simon Sluga - Luton, pretpoziv: Ivica Ivušić

Defenders: Šime Vrsaljko - Atletico Madrid, Domagoj Vida - Bešiktaš, Josip Juranović - Legia, Dejan Lovren - Zenit, Duje Ćaleta-Car - Marseille, Borna Barišić - Glasgow Rangers, Mile Škorić - Osijek, Joško Gvardiol - Dinamo. Pretpoziv: Uremović and Pongračić

Midfielders: Luka Modrić - Real Madrid, Marcelo Brozović - Inter, Milan Badelj - Genoa, Mateo Kovačić - Chelsea, Nikola Vlašić - CSKA Moskva, Mario Pašalić - Atalanta, Luka Ivanušec. Pretpozivi: Moro, Majer and Bašić.

Strikers: Bruno Petković - Dinamo, Ivan Perišić - Inter, Andrej Kramarić - Hoffenheim, Josip Brekalo - Wolfsburg, Ante Rebić - Milan, Mislav Oršić - Dinamo, Ante Budimir - Osasuna. Pretpozivi: Lovrić and Livaja.

The Croatia national football team will gather on May 25 at the beginning of preparations for the Euro, which will traditionally be held in Rovinj. After the friendly against Armenia, the national teal will have a final check on June 6 against Belgium in Brussels, from where they will travel to the base camp in St. Andrews on June 8. 

The UEFA EURO 2020 will take place between June 11 and July 11, 2021. Croatia plays in Group D (London/Glasgow) with England (hosts), Scotland (hosts), and the Czech Republic.

Croatia opens its EURO campaign on Sunday, June 13, against England (15:00, London). On Friday, June. 18, Croatia plays. The Czech Republic in Glasgow, Scotland (18:00). Croatia's final group stage match is against Scotland on June 22 in Glasgow (21:00). 

The top two in each group plus the four best third-placed teams go through to the knockout phase. The round of 16 is scheduled from June 26 to 29. The quarterfinals are held on July 2 and 3, the semifinals on July 6 and 7. The final will be played on July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London. 

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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Croatian Footballer Borna Sosa Switching National Teams?

May 8, 2021 - Borna Sosa, one of the most talented young Croatian football players and a member of the U21 national team, received German citizenship in a secret operation of the German Football Federation and is expecting an invitation from the coach Joachim Löw for the European Championship.

As Index.hr finds out, the German federation has been following the 23-year-old Stuttgart left-back for a long time and is preparing the ground for him to join Germany. Sosa was eligible for a German passport because his mother, Vesna, was born in Berlin.

Croatia could thus lose a great talent that has excelled in the Bundesliga ever since he arrived from Dinamo in 2018 in a transfer worth six million euros. Three years later, Sosa is one of the best offensive defenders in Europe. This season, he played 26 games for Stuttgart and recorded as many as nine assists. Ahead of him in that category is only Cuadrado from Juventus, who shared ten assists. According to Transfermarkt, Sosa is worth 12 million euros, and a transfer to Bayern is planned for the summer.

Croatia has not had such a player in the left-back position for 20 years. And it could be lost in the blink of an eye. 

When Sky Sport first published the news about the German Federation operation and Borna Sosa, the Croatian Football Federation had not been informed. The first HNS operative Marijan Kustić read the news in the media, the U21 national team coach Igor Bišćan said he knew absolutely nothing about it, and Zlatko Dalić sounded resigned.

"Everyone has the right to choose whether to play for Croatia or wherever they want," Dalic told Index, announcing that the official position of the Federation would soon be published on the web.

“We are following Borna, he is on a wider list, and we want him to continue with good games for Stuttgart to get even closer to the A national team,” HNS briefly reported.

Meanwhile, the German Bild announced that Sosa is already on the wider list of Germany for the Euro. When the legendary German striker Oliver Bierhoff, today the German national football team director, spoke up, it became clear that he had been negotiating with the young Croatia national team player for a long time.

"We know who he is, and we have been following him for some time. We believe he has the qualities and potential to play for our national football team. We are always looking for solutions in advance. That means we are thinking about him for the European Championship," Bierhoff said. 

Sosa himself confirmed that he is in negotiations with the German Football Federation (DFB) about possibly playing for Germany.

"Yes, I spoke with the director of the national team Oliver Bierhoff. We talked about everything, not only about the European Championship but also about my future if I play for Germany," said Sosa.

Zlatko Dalic included Sosa on the wider list for the first time before the World Cup in Russia. Still, only this season was the young player a serious candidate for the A national team. In Stuttgart, he missed most of the first season due to injuries when the club was relegated to the second division. During the two seasons, Sosa played only 24 games. He had problems with his pubic bone, back, adductor, ligament rupture in the knee joint, concussion, and edema in the knee. He missed the final of the championship in which Stuttgart expressly returned to the first league, and such was the progress of the defender whom the Stuttgart sports director called the new David Beckham. At the end of 2020, he signed a new contract until 2026.

"In the almost two and a half years since I came to Stuttgart, the club and the city have grown close to my heart. Positive things are happening in sports as well, so I hope we can continue to develop together in the future," Sosa said when signing the contract.

He was a standard member and occasional captain of the young national team, for which he played 19 games and won a place at the Euros. Due to a red card he earned in the qualifying match against Scotland, he had to miss the first two matches of the U21 Euro, and coach Igor Bišćan was counting on him for a key match against England.

Index adds that coach Zlatko Dalic told Sosa that he would debut for the A national team against Malta at the beginning of the qualifying cycle for the World Cup in Qatar. The dates coincided with the U21 national team at the Euro, and Bišćan asked Dalic to give him Sosa, which he needed in the crucial match against England. That was the turning point.

Dalic could not reject Bišćan.

Sosa was not at the camp before the match against England on March 31, in which the young national team fought for a historical placement in the quarterfinals. He sent a medical report and a certificate of injury to Bišćan. Croatia went further with Bradarić's goal, and the scenes of celebrations between Bišćan and the players toured Europe. Sosa was not a topic, although only four days later, he played for Stuttgart against Werder, played 90 minutes, and recorded an assist. He also played in the next round for 90 minutes against Borussia Dortmund. He then paused for the next three games in the championship due to injury.

Bišćan did not suspect that there was a problem, but everything became clear to Dalic. Sosa was never promised a spot at the Euros, but Dalic let him know that he is seriously counting on him and that he will have a place on the wider list where he can show his worth.

Dalic already has a complex list for the Euro, but will the possibility of losing Borna to Germany change that now? Only time will tell. 

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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Vedran Corluka to Become Croatia National Team Assistant Coach!

May 5, 2021 - Croatian Football Federation president Davor Suker has confirmed for Russian media that Vedran Corluka will work alongside Zlatko Dalic as the Croatia national team assistant coach! 

Sportske Novosti reports that Vedran Corluka is returning to the Croatia national team, confirmed the Croatian Football Federation president Davor Suker for the Russian Sport24 ru. The former Croatia national team player will replace Ivica Olic in the position of assistant coach in Zlatko Dalic's coaching staff. 

"Vedran had a phenomenal career with the national team. That is why we decided he would be an assistant to Zlatko Dalic at the European Championships. It is our joint decision. I am very happy that Vedran will be with the team. I am sure that a person like him will unite the team and will help young players," Suker said.

Corluka has been in Russia since 2012, where he plays for Lokomotiv Moscow, and announced that he would say goodbye to that club at the end of the season. He did not say what he would do next, but joining the Croatia coaching staff suggests he has coaching ambitions. Is this the end of his playing career or will he continue to play after the Euros? We will probably get an answer soon. Corluka retired from the Croatia national team after the 2018 World Cup.

Recall, before Russia, Dalic brought on Ivica Olic as an assistant, mostly to be a link with the players he competed next to not long before. Dalic also wanted Darijo Srna to join his coaching staff.

Thus, the idea of Corluka joining the coaching staff is not so surprising. Olic took over CSKA Moscow in March, leaving Dalic with a hole to fill. We are still waiting for the coach to decide exactly who will make up his coaching staff at the Euros and whether there will be even more new names.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatia Friendly Against Armenia Scheduled in Velika Gorica ahead of Euros

April 29, 2021 - A Croatia friendly against Armenia has been scheduled in Velika Gorica on June 1 as part of the national team's preparations before heading to the Euros this summer.

The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Armenia in Velika Gorica on June 1 at 6 pm before leaving for the European Championships. The decision was made by the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation, and the match was confirmed by Uefa.

Velika Gorica is the tenth city to host the strongest Croatia football team, after Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Varaždin, Pula, Vinkovci, Šibenik and Koprivnica. Before the Vatreni visit, Velika Gorica will host the Cup final between Dinamo and Istria in 1961 on May 19.

The Croatia national football team will gather on May 25 at the beginning of preparations for the Euro, which will traditionally be held in Rovinj. After the friendly against Armenia, the national teal will have a final check on June 6 against Belgium in Brussels, from where they will travel to the base camp in St. Andrews on June 8. 

The UEFA EURO 2020 will take place between June 11 and July 11, 2021. Croatia plays in Group D (London/Glasgow) with England (hosts), Scotland (hosts), and the Czech Republic.

Croatia opens its EURO campaign on Sunday, June 13, against England (15:00, London). On Friday, June. 18, Croatia plays. The Czech Republic in Glasgow, Scotland (18:00). Croatia's final group stage match is against Scotland on June 22 in Glasgow (21:00). 

The top two in each group plus the four best third-placed teams go through to the knockout phase. The round of 16 is scheduled from June 26 to 29. The quarterfinals are held on July 2 and 3, the semifinals on July 6 and 7. The final will be played on July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London. 

Source: HNS

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Malta 3:0 in Rijeka

March 30, 2021 - In their 3rd qualifier for the 2022 World Cup, Croatia tops Malta 3:0 in Rijeka.

Croatia met Malta at Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka in the 3rd round of Group H of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Zlatko Dalic's side had a shocking display in Ljubljana on Wednesday, losing to Slovenia to open the qualifications and immediately complicated their road to the World Cup. Recall, only the group winner qualifies directly for Qatar.

Two days later, however, Croatia changed tactics and managed to defeat Cyprus in a comfortable win. Mario Pašalić scored the only goal for the Vatreni during the first half. It surely wasn't Croatia's best performance, but it was enough to secure the team's first three points.

Dalić repeats the 4-3-3 formation used against Cyprus but decided to give many of his players some rest. From the last game, only Livaković, Ćaleta-Car, Pašalić, and Budimir returned the squad. Vida, Kovačić, and Vlašić made a comeback to the starting lineup after being benched the last match. Juranović, Melnjak, Badelj, and Oršić started for the first time. Vida replaced Modrić as the captain.

Lineups

Croatia (4-3-3): Livaković, Juranović, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Melnjak; Kovačić, Badelj, Vlašić, Pašalić, Oršić; Budimir

Malta (3-4-3): Bonello; Shaw, Pepe, Borg; Mbong, Guillaumier, Kristensen, Camenzuli; Teuma, Satariano, Pisani

Recap

Croatia put a lot of pressure on the opposite team from the start, and it was Vlašić who got the first shot of the game in the second minute that went out, but very close to the post. Both teams started quite aggressively.

In the 14th minute, Vlašić again showed up to dribble past two defenders and put a very dangerous cross into the box. Pašalić hit the ball with a great header, but the shot went against the crossbar. This was Croatia's clearest attempt during the first half. 

Despite the early pressure from Croatia in the first 18 minutes, it didn't seem like enough to take the lead or dominate the ball possession. Shortly after, the Croatia midfield seemed to find the patience necessary to initiate the attacks in a more orderly manner, getting 64% of the possession in the 25th minute.

Although the Croatia side became the superior team in terms of possession and attempts afterward, the Malta defense did not give ground. Once again, a nice combination between Budimir and Vlašić in the 31st minute of the game gave the latter a great chance to put an interesting cross in the box, but no one was there to tap it in.

They continued to look for scoring opportunities through the end of the first half, but despite Vlašić's great first half and Oršić, Pašalić, and Kovačić's individual display; the visitors did not lower their arms and defended their goal fiercely.

Just one minute was added to the end of the first half, but the result did not budge. Both teams reached the halftime break drawing 0-0.

The Vatreni began the second half just like the first one, searching for the lead by pressuring their rivals from the start. And who else but Vlašić, who in the 46th minute shot to goal to complete his third attempt of the night, however, saved by the keeper.

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Slobodan Kadic

A couple of minutes later, another great opportunity came for the home team when Juranović's long ball reached Oršić, and the Dinamo midfielder found himself in a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper. Oršić tried to lob the keeper, but he managed to stop the shot.

In the 53rd minute, Dalić decided to make a triple substitution. Modrić came on for Badelj, Brekalo for Pasalić, and Perišič for Budimir.

In the 58th minute, Barišič replaced Melnjak in the left-back position.

Reaching the first 15-minute of the second half, Croatia struggled to find more attempts. However, in the 61st minute, Barišić's entrance delivered more offensive situations, and he managed to put a beautiful cross that found Perišić completely alone in front of the goal. The veteran player scored the first goal of the game and became Croatia's fourth all-time scorer.

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Slobodan Kadic

It looked like Croatia lowered the pressure after the goal, but the referee gave the Vatreni a penalty in the 75th minute due to a handball in the box. Luka Modrić, who became the Croatia player with the most appearances for the national team last match against Cyprus, scored the second goal of the match and his first in the qualifiers.

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Slobodan Kadic

In the 78th minute, Lovrić replaced Oršić.

In the 90th minute, Brekalo scored for 3:0, which was the final score of the match. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia will visit Russia on September 1 for their fourth game of Group H.

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Slobodan Kadic

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