Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Croatia Men's and Women's Volleyball in 2022 CEV European Golden League

December 8, 2021 - Croatia men's and women's volleyball teams will play in the 2022 CEV European Golden League!

Great news arrived for Croatia volleyball on Tuesday from the European Volleyball Federation (CEV) headquarters in Luxembourg, as both the Croatia men's and women's national teams have been included in the 2022 CEV European Golden League!

While Croatian volleyball players have been in this Golden Group for several seasons, they now have the opportunity to jump into the elite ranks of European volleyball.

The spot was given to Croatia after great games this summer in the Silver Group and after North Macedonia, which won the right to play in the Golden Group, withdrew from the elite competition.

The other great news is that Croatia will also host the final "Final Four" volleyball tournament on June 18 and 19 next year.

The expert secretary of the Croatian Volleyball Federation, Frane Žanić, who attended the meeting in Luxembourg together with the director Valentina Bifflin, is proud:

"This is an opportunity that is not presented every day, so it is logical that we reluctantly accepted it. Joining the Golden Group of the European League for our men's volleyball means a lot because we open the way to enter the Top 12 European national teams. According to the new scoring system, we can only progress, and the composition of the national team we currently have guarantees that we can achieve excellent results. Next year, the volleyball players will play in the Golden League, where we play in Group B against Ukraine, Belarus and Spain, and the qualifications for the European Championship. Since we are the hosts of the Final Four, we automatically won a place in the finals, and entering the finals opens up the possibility of playing the Challenger tournament, which is also qualifications for the prestigious Nations League."

In addition to Croatia in Group B are the national teams of Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Belarus.

It should also be noted that Croatia is hosting the Challenger Volleyball Tournament in July, the elimination competition for the Champions League. The men's and women's volleyball national teams will participate in the Mediterranean Games in Algeria at the end of June.

"All this is the result of our long-term investment in Croatian volleyball and partnership with the European Volleyball Federation. We have already proven ourselves countless times as good organizers and even better hosts of many competitions under the jurisdiction of CEV, so we have gained a rating there, and we no longer have to prove ourselves. The last was organizing one of the groups of the European Volleyball Championship, which was again professionally done. Entering the Golden Group of the European League was our wish, to be in some way equal to the men's volleyball players, and now we have succeeded. We think we have both teams worthy of respect and can get great results. And this summer will be an opportunity for that because apart from the Golden Group of the European League, the Mediterranean Games will follow immediately, where we promised our COC to play in the strongest lineup, then the women's Challenger and the European Championship qualifiers. So, we will have a long, warm, working summer again, which we are not afraid of but look forward to," said the president of the Croatian Volleyball Federation, Ante Baković.

European Golden League Men's 

Group A: Turkey, Portugal, Slovakia, Denmark

Group B: Ukraine, Spain, Belarus, Croatia

Group C: Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia

Schedule of Croatia men's volleyball players in the Golden Group B

 Round 1 (May 25): Croatia - Ukraine

Round 2 (May 28/29): Croatia - Belarus

Round 3 (June 1): Croatia - Spain

Round 4 (June 4): Spain - Croatia

Round 5 (June 8): Belarus - Croatia

Round 6 (June 11/12): Ukraine Croatia

European Golden League Women's

Group A: Bulgaria, France, Spain, BiH

Group B: Croatia, Slovakia, Belarus, Czech Republic

Group C: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary

Schedule of Croatia women's volleyball players in the Golden Group B

Round 1 (May 25): Croatia - Czech Republic

Round 2 (May 28/29.): Croatia - Slovakia

Round 3 (June 1): Croatia - Belarus

Round 4 (June 4): Belarus - Croatia

Round 5 (June 8): Slovakia - Croatia

Round 6 (June 11/12): Czech Republic - Croatia

Source: Croatian Volleyball Federation

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

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Croatia to Co-host 2021 Women's European Volleyball Championship

December 22, 2019 - The Croatia women's volleyball team will participate in the 2021 European Championship as a host,alongside Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.

Splitski Dnevnik writes that at a meeting in Luxembourg, the CEV Board of Directors confirmed Croatia as one of the hosts of the 2021 Women’s European Volleyball Championship.

The painstaking work and effort of the Croatian Volleyball Federation in recent years have returned Croatian volleyball among the elite, which is best evidenced by the trust received from the CEV umbrella organization.

“EuroVolley 2019 was a great success and helped us create a real revolution in European volleyball. With the help of a total of eight co-organizing countries in both categories in 2021, we want to further enhance the organization of the competition itself and create an unforgettable experience for all competitors and fans. We are especially looking forward to working with our friends from Croatia, and we have no doubt that we will raise European volleyball to an even greater level with our joint forces,” said CEV President Aleksandar Boricic.

We all remember the three silver medals from the European Championship between 1995 and 1999 and the dramatic fall to Turkey last summer. Now, after 2005, which was the last time the European Championship was held in Croatia, the Croatian female volleyball players will once again fight for medals in front of a home crowd.

“It is a great honor to join forces with our friends from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia to organize the upcoming European Championship as best as possible. Croatia as a nation lives for volleyball with great passion and enthusiasm, and organizing such an elite competition will only help us to advance Croatian volleyball and inspire a new generation of top volleyball players,” said Croatian Volleyball Federation President Ante Bakovic.

The 2021 Women’s European Volleyball Championship will feature 24 teams competing in four groups. As one of the hosts, the Croatia national team has automatically qualified.

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

Friday, 8 November 2019

Croatia Women's Volleyball Team After Second Olympic Appearance

November 8, 2019 -  The Croatia women's volleyball team must win the upcoming qualifying tournament in the Netherlands to secure their second-ever appearance at the Olympic Games.

The Croatia women's volleyball team will play in Group B of the next qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held from January 7 to 12 next year in the Netherlands. Croatia will face rivals Belgium, Germany, and Turkey, reports

The tournament will be played in Apeldoorn, where the Netherlands will play against the national teams of Poland, Azerbaijan, and Bulgaria in Group A.

The two best-placed teams from both groups will advance to the semi-finals, while only the winner of this tournament will secure a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

"This is a high-level volleyball tournament, and we all want that one spot that leads to the Olympics. It's not impossible to win it even though we are not going there as favorites. These are nominally stronger teams than us, but we have nothing to lose as anything can happen in a tournament. We will not have much time to prepare due to the club commitments of our players, but we have arranged preparations and friendly matches with Bulgaria in Sofia, so that we will prepare for the upcoming tournament as best as we can,” Croatia national team coach Daniele Santarelli said after the Olympic qualifying draw.

Croatia will open the tournament in Apeldoorn on January 8 (1 pm) against Turkey. One day later (1 pm), Croatia will play against the Belgian national team, and on January 10 (1:30 pm), they will conclude the group stage against Germany.

Italy, Serbia and Russia have already qualified for the Olympics as they topped their groups at the Intercontinental Qualifying Tournaments held in August this year. In addition, China, the United States, Brazil and Japan as the host country will also compete in Tokyo. With another European team, Africa, Asia, South America, and North and Central America will each have one representative in the Olympic Games next summer. 

The Croatia national team participated in the Olympic Games only once, back in 2000 in Sydney, where they finished seventh place. 

The Croatia women's volleyball team achieved their greatest success in 1995, 1997 and 1999 by winning silver medals at the European Championships. At the 2009 and 2013 Mediterranean Games, Croatia won the bronze medal. The first gold medal for the senior national team was won in 2016 at the World Grand Prix. In 2018, Croatia won gold at the Mediterranean Games.

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

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Croatia Women's Volleyball into Round of 16 at European Championships

The Croatia women's volleyball team secured a place in the round of 16 of the European Championships after topping Hungary 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 35-33) in the last round of Group C in Budapest.

With their third victory and ten points, Croatia secured a place among the four best-placed teams in the group, ensuring at least third place thanks to the win against Hungary - and if Romania overcomes Azerbaijan, they could be second, which would mean an easier draw in the round of 16, reports

In the game against Hungary, Croatia was dominant from 7-7 in the first set, when they quickly took their advantage to 12-7 and ended the first set of the game 25-20. In the second set, the Croatian volleyball players, on the wings of the brilliant Samanta Fabris, quickly reached a 7-3 advantage, though Hungary came back to equalize at 21-21. Fortunately, a block by Croatia worked, and the second set went to the red-and-white checkered side 25-23.

Hungary opened the third set much better (8-5, 11-7) and was cheered on by their home audience to lead 14-9. Croatia fell behind 17-18 and 20-21 and then equalized at 22-22. The Croatian side figured out how to weaken Hungary’s strength in the next action and went into the lead at 23-22. Hungary then failed to use six set points and again, with a great block, Croatia used their fifth match point for the final 35-33. 

Samanta Fabris was the best for the Croatian side with 25 points, while Karla Klarić added 16 points. Klarić was also the best blocker of the game, along with Božana Butigan (4 blocks).

In the other Group C game, Azerbaijan celebrated against Estonia 3-2.

The European Championships, which takes place from 23 August to 8 September, is attended by 24 teams divided into four groups in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Turkey.

Group C Standings 

1) The Netherlands

2) Croatia

3) Azerbaijan 

4) Romania

5) Hungary

6) Estonia

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

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

European Championships: Croatia Women's Volleyball One Step Away from Round of 16

August 28, 2019 - After overcoming Romania, Croatia sits in second place of the Group C standings in the European Championships and plays Hungary in the final round on Wednesday. 

The Croatia women’s volleyball team celebrated 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22) in Budapest in the fourth round of Group C of the European Championships against Romania. Now, they are just one step away from placing into the round of 16, reports HRT.

Croatia opened the match well, led 15-9 in the first set, and successfully held the lead until the end of the set. But in the second set, Romania quickly reached an advantage of 13-6, and the Croatian players seemed to have no counter-game. Still, Croatia managed to come back and tied at 23-23, though Romania took the last two points in the set, and after 51 minutes of play, the result was equal at 1-1.

Romania was better at the start of the third set, leading 6-2, though it was followed by a turnaround. The Croatian players scored seven points in a row, and when they went five points ahead (16-11), they finished the set in their favor. Croatia continued in the fourth set with good play, was up by a six-point advantage several times, and in the exciting finish, a stellar block eventually led them to celebrate 3-1 in sets.

Lucija Mlinar was the best for the Croatian side with 22 points, followed by Martina Samadan who scored 16 and Sanja Popović-Gamma who scored 14 points.

On Wednesday, Croatia plays Hungary in the last round of Group C (6 pm).

The European Championships, which is held from 23 August to 8 September, is attended by 24 teams divided into four groups. The top four teams from each group will advance to the round of 16.

Standings for Group C

1. Netherlands 4 4 0 12-0 12 
2. CROATIA 4 2 2 8-8 7 
3. Romania 4 2 2 7-8 6 
4. Azerbaijan 3 2 1 6-5 5 
5. Hungary 3 1 2 4-6 3 
6. Estonia 4 0 4 2-12 0

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

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Croatia Women's Volleyball Team Secures First Win at European Championships

August 25, 2019 - After losing their opening game to Azerbaijan, the Croatia women's volleyball team won their first game in Group C of the European Volleyball Championships in Budapest.

Namely, Daniele Santarelli's side topped Estonia 3-1 in the 2nd round match (25-18, 25-17, 26-28, 25-12) after one hour and 46 minutes of play, reports

Samanta Fabris was the best for Croatia with 14 points, while Lucija Mlinar and Karla Klarić scored 12 points. Estonia’s best was Kertu Laak who scored 13 points, followed by Nette Peit with 11 points.

In an even first set, Estonia held their own partly thanks to the mistakes of the Croatian volleyball players. However, from 19-17, Croatia scored five points and used their second chance to win the first set.

Carried by the strong finish of the first leg, Croatia continued to play in the same rhythm in the second set in which they led 13-3. A 24-9 lead saw Croatia get a bit too comfortable, and Estonia came back to a close 24-17 before Croatia used their ninth set point.

Croatia coach Santarelli decided to rest captain Samanta Fabris in the third set, which Estonia saw as an advantage to take the lead through the entire set for 22-18. Santarelli then brought Fabris back into the game and gave Martina Samadan a chance, which resulted in six of the next seven points, and Croatia’s first chance at a match point (24-23). Estonia used their second set point and continued the match.

But that was where the experiments ended. Again with Samantha Fabris in the impressive line-up, Croatia systematically increased their advantage, which ultimately reached a maximum of +13 (24-11). Croatia secured the match point, which gave them three points and a temporary lead in the Group C rankings

Croatia has thus achieved four points in two matches, while the Netherlands and Hungary have three points with one game less. The top four teams from the four groups will compete in the second round.

On Sunday, Croatia will have their first day of rest, and on Monday they will play against Romania in the third round. The match starts at 6 pm.

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