Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Croatia Tennis Team Gears Up for Davis Cup Qualifiers in Rijeka

January 31, 2023 - Croatia's preparations have officially begun for the Davis Cup qualifiers against Austria, scheduled for this weekend in Rijeka. 

Croatian tennis players are currently training on new courts at Zamet hall in hopes it'll help launch them into the next stage of this competition.

"The impressions are excellent. The hall is beautiful, and I hope it will be filled on Saturday and Sunday. The boys are training, getting used to the conditions, and the surface, and we hope to be ready for Saturday," said Croatia coach Vedran Martić.

According to the latest data, the hall could be filled to capacity. Some of the most experienced Croatian tennis players are training in Rijeka, such as Ivan Dodig, who made his debut in this competition in 2002 for Bosnia and Herzegovina and in 2010 for Croatia. There are also some young players who are expected to take an essential role in the national team, like Mili Poljičak and Dino Prižmić. 

"We have young players with us, as well as Ivan Dodig, to whom I am very grateful for coming. He had health problems in Australia but gathered the strength to be with us in Rijeka. Young players gain experience and train with older players. These are our two talented juniors from whom we expect a lot in the future," said Martić.

Marin Čilić, who played his first Davis Cup match against Austria in 2006, will not be in Rijeka due to knee surgery. Will Borna Ćorić and Borna Gojo be safe selections in the singles matches? 

"Yes, they are prime contenders for the singles matches. In the last two years, they have played fantastically. Ćorić did his best, played brilliantly, and Gojo always plays outstanding tennis for the national team, and I hope it will be like that again," Martić said.

The Austrian national team is led by Dominic Thiem, once the number three tennis player in the world, and a player who can boast one Grand Slam title and three Grand Slam finals, as well as two entries into the Masters finals. 

"Austria is good; they are dangerous. It won't be easy to win. Thiem is an excellent player, and even though we do not know in what form he will be coming, it will be difficult to beat him in Rijeka. The next two players, Novak and the left-handed Rodionov are around the 100th in the ATP ranking but are very good players. As a doubles team, Erler and Miedler are getting better and better, and they play together all the time. We expect a difficult match, but we hope to win," Martić concluded.

Source:  HTS

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Sunday, 25 September 2022

Croatia Beat Austria for UEFA Nations League Finals Spot!

September 25, 2022 - Croatia beats Austria 3:1 in Vienna for a spot in the UEFA Nations League finals! Croatia thus finished at the top of Group 1 and is among the final four teams in the Nations League A. 

Croatia and Austria met on Sunday night at the Ernst Happel stadium for the last match in the UEFA Nations League group stage. 

The Austrian Football Association announced that more than 40,000 tickets had been sold, but the bigger news was that around 20,000 fans would be cheering for Croatia, even though Austria predicted 2,700 tickets for the visiting team. 

After beating Denmark in Zagreb on Thursday, the road to the Nations League Finals was clear. Croatia would secure first place in Group 1 and the final tournament with the victory against Austria. With a loss or a draw, Croatia would also advance, however, only if Denmark did not beat France in Copenhagen at the same time.

Recall, Croatia defeated Denmark twice and France once, after opening the competition with an unpleasant defeat in Osijek against Austria. It was Austria's only victory in the group, while they took a point against France and lost their other three matches. 


Austria: Lindner, Trimmel, Posch, Danso, Alaba, Baumgartner, Seiwald, X.Schlager, Sabitzer, Arnautović, Gregoritsch

Croatia: Livaković, Stanišić, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barišić, Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić, Vlašić, Budimir, Perišić 

Match Report

Croatia's first attack came in the 3rd minute, which resulted in a corner kick. Modric found Brozovic, who missed the ball and gave Austria a quick counterattack. 

Croatia regained possession, and Perisic moved quickly up the left wing before cutting into the box but failed to get a shot off.  

Croatia's brilliant start of the game was rewarded with a goal in the 6th minute. Vlasic masterfully won the ball in the midfield to find captain Luka Modric to score for 0:1 Croatia! 

But a wake-up call for Croatia came two minutes later. A hospital ball from Stanisic to an Austria player found Baumgartner for 1:1. 

More bad news came for Croatia in the 16th minute. Brozovic overextended his left leg and immediately dropped to the ground. The player called to be subbed off for what looked like a hamstring injury. Lovro Majer was subbed on in the 18th minute. 

Arnautovic weakly shot at Livakovic from 20 meters out in the 22nd minute. 

Austria's best chance came a minute later. Baumgartner shot between Croatia's stoppers and missed just wide of the goal. A lucky miss for Croatia. 

Austria possessed well and had another close chance in the 35th minute. A misunderstanding between Livaković and Gvardiol saw them awkwardly collide. The ball came to Baumgartner, who turned to shoot but luckily went over the goal.

Austria looked better as the half progressed, and Livakovic brilliantly saved Croatia from a goal after Arnautovic was one-on-one with the Croatia keeper. 

Vlasic brought some life back for Croatia with a shot in the 45th minute. Four minutes of stoppage time were added to the half.  The match went into halftime at 1:1.

The second half started without any changes for either team. Perisic was shown a yellow card in the 47th minute. 

Budimir fell in the penalty area in the 53rd minute, but there wasn't enough contact to be called for a penalty. 

Croatia attacked well in the 55th minute. Modric played through to Vlasic, who crossed in the box to Budimir, but the Austria defense prevented a shot. 

Austria was awarded a free kick in the 58th minute but shot into Croatia's wall. The ref called for another free kick for Austria, this time in closer range to the goal. Lovren was shown a yellow card for intentionally playing with his hand. A double block by the Croatia defense stopped the play. 

Dalic subbed on Marko Livaja for Ante Budimmir and Borna Sosa for Borna Barisic in the 62nd minute. Wober, Lainer, and Cham entered for Arnautović, Posch, and Trimmel. 

A great attack for Croatia saw Kovacic get a shot off which was deflected for a corner. 

Another incredible save by Livakovic from a Gregoritsch header. 

Perisic was one-on-one with the Austria defense in the 66th minute and forced a corner. 

But then it finally happened. Croatia's midfield found Perisic on the left, who crossed far post to Livaja. Livaja moved behind the Austria defender and headed near post into the goal for 1:2 Croatia in the 69th minute! 

And then another Croatia corner in the 71st minute. Modric played short to Majer, who found Lovren alone far post. A diving header into the opposite side of the goal, and it was 1:3 for Croatia! 

Croatia played smart in the last 10 minutes, keeping possession of the ball without any unnecessary risks.

Kramarić and Pašalić were subbed on for Kovačić and Vlašić in the 84th minute. 

Three minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match and the match ended 1:3 for Croatia! 

With this result, Croatia finishes at the top of Group 1 and advances to the UEFA Nations League Finals! The final tournament will be held from 14 to 18 June 2023 and will feature the four group winners of Nations League A. 

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

Saturday, 26 March 2022

2023 Euro Qualifiers: Austria Gives Croatia Under-21s First Draw

March 26, 2022 - The young Croatia side resumed the 2023 Euro qualifiers with a draw against Austria, breaking their six-match winning streak. 

The Croatian Under-21 national team played 0:0 against Austria in the qualifying match for the European Championship in Varaždin. Croatia was the favorite but failed to win.

It was Croatia's first draw in these qualifiers. So far, they have had six victories in six games. Igor Bišćan's team remained in first place in the group with 19 points, while Austria is in third with 13 points and practically lost their chances for first place. Norway is second with 15 points and a game less than Croatia.

Croatia coach Igor Bišćan decided to play with three stoppers from the first minute. Mario Vušković, Josip Šutalo, and Josip Stanišić played in the back, Franjić and Boško Šutalo as the wing defenders, Palaversa and Sučić in the middle, while Kačavenda, Marin and Šimić played up top.

Both teams looked like their primary goal was not to concede a goal in the first half. There was only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes. In the 13th minute, Stanišić shot from the right side, and Josip Šutalo with his head, but they were too weak to endanger the Austria goalkeeper Hedl.

Austria suffered several serious fouls in the middle of the first half. Fortunately, no one was hurt. In the second half, both teams had more chances.

Kacavenda received his second yellow card in the 82nd minute and was sent off. He committed a foul during Croatia's attack. He complained to the referee, who showed him his second yellow card.

It was a challenging game with few chances, said coach Bišćan.

"Tough. Quite organized on both sides, the teams came up with a clear plan. I think Austria has shown that it is a serious team. The match was competitive, there was not much beauty in it until the middle of the second half and then when we seemed to be close to the goal, that we imposed ourselves enough to create another chance, that a goal was close, then a red card happened, and in the end, we had to keep that result. It is as what is, but with that point, we put ourselves in a good position and not so much worse than we were before this game. In the next game, they will be motivated to beat Norway, and we have Finland at home, and we believe that we can win that game, and then after eight games, we would be in a good situation. We are not the most satisfied because we did not win and continue that series, but we should congratulate the guys; I am satisfied because we played a serious game."

Croatia will play its next qualifier on Tuesday, March 29, against Finland.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 13 December 2021

Croatia Ends 2021 World Women's Handball Championship in Spain

December 13, 2021 - The Croatia women's handball team lost to Austria 23:27 in their 3rd and final match of the main group 4, and with two victories and four defeats, ended its run at the 25th World Women's Handball Championship in Spain.

Given that Covid-19 knocked out three key handball players, along with some injuries, Croatia couldn't do more.

"I don't know how many fouls, 7-meter throws, and technical errors; I don't know which team can be beaten with so many errors. I am disappointed, I am sad, the only positive thing in all this is that we got some new names that we will be able to use in the future. An experience for all of us, and the result I would sincerely like to forget as soon as possible. I stand behind all of us, we can’t always be on top, but this is not where we belong. I hope that Covid will disappear quickly and that we will be able to return to normal life," said Captain Katarina Ježić.

"We seemed to be too tired. Austria was also tired, but they came in with more desire and determination. We fought and wanted to, but they were more determined in their intentions and key moments. Unfortunately, we started badly and ended badly," added Ivana Kapitanović.

Ćamila Mičijević and Dora Krsnik are still in isolation in Castellon, and the results of their PCR tests are pending, which determine their return to Croatia. However, both national team players are feeling well.

"This is all part of sports: illness, this situation, and injuries are part of sports. We need to expand the roster. Unfortunately, we do not have too much quality, but playing in major competitions is important. The essence of everything is continuity, and the result will come out of it," said coach Nenad Sostaric.

"I don't know what to tell you, but I feel miserable. In the match preparation, we talked about its importance, and we said that we knew that Austria would squeeze the middle and that our wings must decide. Whether we want to admit it or not, we must be aware that our wings are very average compared to the European level and have big problems here. There was a total blackout in one part of the first half. Everything bad came together in that story. Unfortunately, we all need to be aware of this together. In Denmark, what we did is a miracle; miracles do not happen every day. To get close to the top, all players must be in one hundred percent form, and we must act as a team one hundred percent. Unfortunately, we were not here in any of those segments," added Sostaric.

On Monday, Croatia will return to Zagreb on a flight from Valencia via Frankfurt. Their planned arrival at Zagreb Airport is 7:20 pm.

Source: HRT

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

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Croatia U21s Undefeated in Euro 2023 Qualifiers after Beating Austria 3:1

November 16, 2021 - More good news for Croatian football with the Croatia U21s undefeated in the Euro 2023 qualifiers so far, this time beating Austria away 3:1.

The young Croatia national football team continued their Euro 2023 qualifiers against Austria on Monday - and with an away win, Croatia has recorded its sixth victory in the same number of matches in the European Championship qualifiers. Igor Bišćan's team defeated Austria 3:1 (0:2) in a Croatia-fan-dominated Ried. Lukas Kačavenda, Bartol Franjić, and Luka Sučić scored for Croatia, while Romano Schmid scored for Austria. 

Croatia was dangerous already in the 10th minute when Marin found Boško Šutalo with a corner kick on the near post, though the ball was sent over the goal. Austria retaliated two minutes later when Demir fired a free kick from more than 20 meters, but Kotarski was solid in the defense. 

Kačavenda put Croatia in the lead in the 14th minute with an excellent goal. The Lokomotiva striker nailed the upper right corner from 20 meters.

Austria came close to equalizing in the 17th and 21st minutes. 

Croatia crowned a better game in the first half with another goal. In the 41st minute, Sučić sent the ball far post from a free kick. Captain Franjić's shot bounced off the goal and crossed the goal line before Hedl managed to control it.

At the beginning of the second half, Croatia increased its advantage after Marin was knocked down on the edge of the penalty area. Sučić scored for 3:0. 

Austria threatened Croatia often in the last half hour. Austria finally got a goal in the 67th minute when Schmid scored a precise shot from 20 meters, similar to Kačavenda's goal in the first half.

In the second game in this group played on Tuesday, Norway defeated Azerbaijan 2:1 away. Croatia now has 18 points, Norway is second with 15, and Austria third with 12 and a game more.

Croatia thus stays at the top of the group with a three-point advantage over Norway. Their qualifying journey will continue at the end of March next year when they will compete against Austria and Finland at home.

Nine group winners and the best second-placed team will qualify for the European Championships, while the remaining eight runners-up will advance to additional qualifications.

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