Monday, 19 July 2021

HNL Round 1 Recap: Dinamo Opens Season with Shocking Loss, Wins for Osijek and Rijeka

July 19, 2021 - The 2021/22 Croatian First League (HNL) season opened last weekend with the first round of games played from July 16 to 18, 2021. A look at our HNL round 1 recap. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (0:2)

Dinamo and Slaven Belupo opened the new season at Maksimir Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. 

While the first half went without goals, the reigning Croatian champions were shocked thanks to goals by Krstanovicc and Bogojevic in the 50th and 84th minutes for 0:2. 

This victory was only Belupo's second in its 37 visits to Maksimir. The last time they won was a little less than 17 years ago. 


Dinamo is currently in 8th place with 0 points, while Belupo is in 4th with 3. 

Osijek v. Šibenik (3:0)

Osijek and Šibenik met at City Garden Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. 

The first half went without goals, which Mierez made up for with Osijek's first goal in the 63rd minute. Bohar scored in the 90th and 95th for 3:0 Osijek.  


Osijek is currently in first place with 3 points, while Šibenik is in 10th with 0. 

Lokomotiva v. Hajduk (2:2)

Lokomotiva and Hajduk met in Zagreb on Saturday, July 17, 2021. 

Hajduk took the lead in the 30th minute thanks to Mlakar, though Soldo equalized for Lokomotiva for 1:1 3 minutes before the half. Dabro opened the second half with a goal for the 2:1 Lokomotiva lead in the 47th minute, but Mlakar equalized for 2:2 less than 10 minutes later.


Lokomotiva is currently in 6th place with 1 point, while Hajduk is in 5th place with 1 point. 

Rijeka v. Gorica (2:0)

Rijeka and Gorica met at Rujevica on Saturday, July 17, 2021. 

Muric put Rijeka in the lead in the 20th minute for 1:0 at the half. Lepinijca increased Rijeka's lead to 2:0 in the 55th minute, which was the final score of the match.


Rijeka is currently in 3rd place with 3 points, while Gorica is in 9th with 0. 

Istra 1961 v. Hr. Dragovoljac (3:1)

Istra and Dragovoljac closed out the first round on Sunday, July 18, 2021. 

Bande scored two goals for Istra in the first half for 2:0 (10', 17'). Matic made it 3:0 at the half. Veljaca scored for Dragovoljac for 3:1, which was the final score of the match. 


Istra is currently in 2nd place with 3 points, while Dragovoljac is in 7th with 0. 

You can see the full HNL table

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Sunday, 18 July 2021

Croatian Footballer Filip Ozobić Switching National Teams for Azerbaijan

July 18, 2021 - Croatian footballer Filip Ozobić should play for the national team of Azerbaijan, the local football federation confirmed. He has received permission from FIFA and is expected to be on the next player list of Azerbaijan coach Gianni De Biasi.

Ozobić used to be known as a great hope of Croatian football. From the age of 15, he played for all the younger selections of the Croatia national team. At the U19 Euros in 2010, where Croatia reached the semifinals, he was included in the best 11 of the tournament, as the only Croatian. In total, he played 60 times for Croatia, reports

He also has two appearances for the A team, but they were not in official matches. However, he played two matches in the China Cup in 2017 in a team mostly made up of HNL players. Ozobić was one of the two who did not play in the Croatian league at the time.

Ozobić has been playing in Azerbaijan since 2016 and has met the five-year deadline for a player to play in a country to qualify for the national team. He has spent two years in Gabala and has been playing in Qarabag for the last three seasons. Last year, with 11 goals, he was the third-best scorer in the league, while he was the best with the same number of goals in the first season.

As an 18-year-old from Zadar, he went to Spartak Moscow. After that, he spent one year on loan at Hajduk, then over to Slaven Belupo, where he left for Azerbaijan after three seasons.

Unlike Borna Sosa, Filip Ozobić was able to change his football citizenship because he has no official appearance for Croatia national teams after his 21st birthday. On the other hand, Sosa performed on several occasions after his 21st birthday, so he could not play for Germany, although he could obtain citizenship.

Azerbaijan will play its next match in the World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg on September 1, when Ozobić is expected to play. Games against Ireland and Portugal follow.

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Friday, 16 July 2021

2021/22 HNL Season Begins Today, Fans Return to Stands with Covid Certificates

July 16, 2021 - The 2021/22 HNL season officially begins today, bringing football and fans back to Croatian stadiums. 

The new HNL season starts today! After the Croatia national team competed in the Euros, club football is back to kick off the 31st season of the HNL (Croatian First League), reports HRT.

Fans are returning to the stands with COVID certificates, and there are many new coaches. The title is defended by Dinamo, and the main competitors for the title will be Osijek, Hajduk, and Rijeka. Instead of Varaždin, Hrvatski Dragovoljac returned to the First League.

Dinamo and Slaven Belupo open the championship at Maksimir today from 18.55, and Osijek and Šibenik will play from 21.00.

Dinamo opened the new season with European appearances against Valur. Before the new European challenges against Cypriot club Omonia in the 2nd qualifying round, the Blues welcome Slaven Belupo in the opening match of the new HNL season. Damir Krznar is facing new challenges on the Dinamo bench after he was responsible for Dinamo's biggest European victory against Tottenham last season. Dinamo, with some new faces in the locker room, is hoping to defend the title again. Their attack was strengthened by Duje Čop, many players returned from loan, and it is questionable whether exit transfers will be made by the national team members Livaković, Petković, or Oršić.

Slaven Belupo has a new coach - Dean Klafurić, and the attack is led by the experienced Ivan Krstanović. The club has so far been strengthened by Vinko Soldo, Mario Marina, Lovro Zvonarek, Nedim Hadžić, and Mateo Monjac.

After last season's second place, Osijek went on the offensive in the summer transfer window to strengthen the team in order to compete more strongly for the title. Nenad Bjelica brought Šimo Gržan and, most importantly, locked down the top scorer of the league, Ramon Mierez, with a contract. In an exchange with Hajduk, Darko Nejašmić arrived, and Josip Vuković moved to Poljud. If Kleinheisler, Bočkaj, and Škorić remain, the Osijek club will be very uncomfortable this season.

Šibenik has a new coach Mario Rosas, and the club has been strengthened by Stefan Perić, Camilo Mesa, and three Dinamo players on loan - Julardžija, Marin, and Jurić.

The remaining matches of the first round of the new season continue on Saturday and Sunday, between Lokomotiva and Hajduk, and Rijeka and Gorica. The round will end on Sunday between Istria and Hrvatski Dragovoljac.

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Thursday, 15 July 2021

Luka Modrić EURO 2020 Goal Named 3rd Best of Tournament!

July 15, 2021 - The outside-of-the-boot Luka Modrić EURO 2020 goal against Scotland has been named the 3rd best goal of the tournament! 

Czech striker Patrik Schick's goal from the midfield line in the match against Scotland was declared the most beautiful goal of the 2020 European Championship, the European Football Federation (UEFA) announced, while Luka Modrić's goal took third place.

After the Czech Republic won the ball in the 52nd minute and went on to counter, Schick shot from the middle of the field, and the ball soared over goalkeeper David Marshall's head.


The Bayer Leverkusen striker shot from 45.4 meters, which is officially the farthest distance from which a goal was scored at the Euros. 

The winner was decided by the fans who voted on the official UEFA website between 10 goals selected by the UEFA technical commission. Schick's goal received almost 800,000 votes.

In second place was the goal by French midfielder Paul Pogba against Switzerland, while Luka Modrić came in third with his outside-of-the-boot goal scored against Scotland. Modrić scored for 2:1 in the 62nd minute of Croatia's final group stage match. It was a masterpiece by the captain, and a signature Luka strike.


With this goal, Modrić entered Croatian football history as the oldest Croatia scorer at the European Championships. He scored at the age of 35 years and 286 days. Modrić is also the youngest scorer for Croatia at the European Championships. At EURO 2008 against Austria, he scored a goal at the age of 22 years and 273 days.

In fourth place is the goal of the Italian striker Lorenzo Insigne against Belgium in the quarterfinals, and in the top 5 is Cristiano Ronaldo's goal for Portugal against Hungary.



LUKA MODRIĆ (CROATIA - Czech Republic 3-1, group)

Andriy Jarmolenko (Ukraine - Netherlands 2-3, group)

Patrik Schick (Czech Republic - Scotland 2-0, group)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal - Hungary 3-0, group)

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium - Denmark 2-1, group)

Paul Pogba (France - Switzerland 3-3, 4-5 11m, the round of 16)

Lorenzo Insigne (Italy - Belgium 2-1, quarterfinals)

Federico Chiesa (Italy - Spain 1-1, 4-2 11m, semifinals)

Alvaro Morata (Spain - Italy 1-1, 2-4 11m, semifinals)

Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark - England 1-2, semifinals)


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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

HNS Announces Croatian Stadiums at Full Capacity for HNL Games, with Conditions

July 14,  2021 - We will see Croatian stadiums at full capacity during the upcoming Croatian First League season, so long as Covid certificate conditions are met. 

The new HNL season starts on Friday when two first-round matches are scheduled, and the most important news related to Croatia's top football league is that clubs will be able to open their stadiums at full capacity - but with conditions, of course. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board met to decide on how they would return fans to the stands after the 2021 First League matches were played without any spectators.

We have transmitted the HNS statement in its entirety:

"The decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia of 18 June 2021, which is in force since 1 July 2021, stipulates that sports competitions are held without spectators in compliance with all epidemiological measures, and point V defines the exceptional possibility of organizing competitions with the presence of spectators if special conditions are met.

Given the interest of spectators in attending HT First League matches, matches will be organized without a limit on the number of spectators with the obligation that all spectators, technical and organizational staff, teams, and officials have an EU digital COVID certificate (which can also be obtained with a PCR or antigen test and is valid for 72 hours). The host club is responsible for checking the certificates of the spectators, and the delegate, with the technical assistance of the host club, for checking the certificates of the players and members of the professional staff registered in the minutes of the match.

All players, members of the professional staff, and other staff of HT First League clubs participating in the match must have an EU digital COVID certificate, PCR, or rapid antigen test for each match," the Croatian Football Federation explained. 

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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Marjan Kustić Officially Nominated for HNS President, Šuker Out After 9 Years?

July 6, 2021 - Davor Šuker's 9-year stint as HNS president will last until July 29, with Marijan Kustić likely to take over the leading role in the Croatian Football Federation.

Namely, Marijan Kustić was nominated for the president of HNS by his county union, and judging by the photo coming from Lika-Senj County, at least 18 of the 21 county unions gave him support. Considering that the Zagreb Football Association president, Tomislav Svetina, who was the only one who could nominate Davor Šuker, is also in this picture, it is evident that this candidacy will not take place. Even if the ZNS wanted to nominate Šuker, it would not be able to because it officially needs the support of at least seven county unions, reports Sportske Novosti.

Kustić was also supported by Ante Vučemilovi-Šimunović from Osijek, as well as the dismissed chief referee Ante Kulušić on behalf of the Šibenik-Knin County. Thus, it can be said that the photo from the Lika-Senj Association reveals the future of Croatian football, with Marijan Kustić in the lead role.

The Lika-Senj County Association announcement is transmitted in its entirety:

"At yesterday's Assembly session in Gospić, in the presence of all its members, the Lika-Senj County Football Association supported the candidacy of its county president Marijan Kustić for the president of the Croatian Football Federation by acclamation.

In addition to members of the Lika-Senj County Football Association, the assembly was attended by the presidents of 17 county football associations in Croatia.

This is also the first official nomination for the top position of the Croatian Football Federation. 

After the election, Marijan Kustić thanked all members of the Assembly for their tremendous support, but also all the presidents of the county football federations who increased the presidential candidacy of the current executive director of HNS and the president of the Lika-Senj County Football Association. 

After this nomination of the parent county federation, Kustić will gather support from at least six more county football federations in the next few days to become official for his candidacy for president of the HNS.

The election assembly of the Croatian Football Federation will be held on July 29 this year in Zagreb," the statement said.

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Sunday, 4 July 2021

2021 HNS Elections: Will Marijan Kustić Replace Davor Šuker?

July 4, 2021 - The 2021 HNS elections will be held on July 29 in Zagreb, where Marijan Kustić should replace Davor Šuker as the Croatian Football Federation president. 

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has called elections. An Assembly to elect a new president, vice presidents, and the Executive Board of the Federation will be held on July 29 at noon at the Westin Hotel. The process has begun in which interested presidential candidates must receive the official nomination of their county union and the signatures of support from six more counties. The deadline for submitting the candidacy is July 14, i.e., 15 days before the Assembly.

ZNS, which has had a president for decades, especially two longtime Vlatko Marković and Davor Šuker, will not highlight its man this time but will support Marijan Kustić. According to information from football circles, it is very likely that Kustić will be the only candidate. He is a representative of Lika-Senj County. Although, of course, someone else can always get into the race.

"The candidate we will support will certainly be the new president," Tomislav Svetina, the first man of the ZNS, told Sportske Novosti. Kustić is the current executive director of the Federation.

In the week ahead, Kustić is officially embarking on a short campaign. First of all, he must be nominated as a candidate by the Assembly of the National Assembly of Lika-Senj County, which is a formality. According to the agenda, the HNS Electoral Assembly should begin with a greeting from the previous president Davor Šuker. The question is whether he will show up.

Why did Suker fall? HNS says the trigger was an Executive Board meeting in March that he did not want to attend even though he was sitting in his office in the Federation in the next room. Moreover, he tried to undermine its maintenance was dissatisfied with some decisions. At that session, a new Commission for Judges was elected with President Bruno Marić, and some marketing decisions were made that Šuker did not like. However, the reasons for his end in the HNS are certainly much deeper.

HNS is negotiating with Stipe Pletikos as a new name in the Federation. The function of the technical director was mentioned, then the director who would take care of Croatian players around the world so that the "Sosa case" would not happen again. Some also say that it is possible for Pletikosa to be a member of the Executive Board, which will be resolved by the Assembly.

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Sunday, 27 June 2021

HNS Statement: Apart from Perišić, No Other Croatia Players in Self-Isolation

June 27, 2021 - Are other Croatia players in self-isolation apart from Ivan Perišić? A look at who traveled to Copenhagen this morning. 

Ivan Perišić, the best scorer and one of Croatia's best players in the EURO 2020 group stage, has contracted COVID-19. 

Perišić tested positive on Saturday and cannot play in the round of 16 match against Spain in Copenhagen on Monday.

Instead of going to the match in Copenhagen, Perišić is going into self-isolation.

HNS issued a statement on whether there are other Croatia players in self-isolation:

"After the Croatian Football Federation received a test that showed that Ivan Perišić tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the medical service of the Croatia national team informed the competent epidemiological service about the situation and showed that the national team complied with all prescribed measures of the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters, as well as the measures of the UEFA Return to Play protocol.

According to the submitted information, the competent epidemiological service assessed that the measures were respected and that apart from the positive Ivan Perišić, who must undergo 10 days of isolation, other players and members of the staff and delegation should not go into self-isolation. The national team will fly from Pula to Copenhagen on Sunday at 10:35, where they will play against Spain in the round of 16 of the European Championship on Monday at 18:00.

We are aware that something like this can happen to any national team and individual. That is why we respect all the measures of the Headquarters from the first day, as well as the UEFA protocol, to prevent the possibility of isolation for several players. In the context of the new situation, the medical service is doing its best to prevent the possible spread of the virus, as we did successfully during the autumn when we had similar individual cases during the Nations League. This includes antigen testing that confirmed that there are no other infected members of the team. We are sorry that Ivan will not play against Spain, and we hope that COVID-19 will pass as quickly as possible and with as few symptoms as possible," said the doctor of the national team, Dr. Saša Janković.

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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

EURO 2020: Thousands of Croatia Fans in Copenhagen Expected, Here's How

June 23, 2021 - How many Croatia fans in Copenhagen can we expect for the round of 16 match at Parken Stadium? We aren't sure, but we have a feeling it will be a lot. 

After three matches in Group D, Croatia will finally have more fans in the stands at EURO 2020, and information about tickets will be known soon, reports

Croatia will play in the round of 16 on Monday at 6 pm at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, and they will find out their opponent today after 6 pm when the decisive matches in Group E begin.

Due to strict restrictions, Croatia played in front of less than a hundred fans in London and Glasgow, most of whom lived in the UK, and only a few decided to undergo ten-day and five-day quarantines and several COVID-19 tests.

Copenhagen, however, will be much different. Pictures of an almost full stadium and celebrations of Denmark fans who celebrated their national team advancing to the round of 16. Along with Budapest, Parken Stadium hosts the most fans at EURO 2020 so far. 

Coach Dalic wanted only one thing in the round of 16 after the game.

"I only want Croatia fans in the stands, that's what I want, I'm waiting and dreaming, then we're much stronger."

He mentioned several times that his team was not in the same position as the others because of the lack of fans and the truth is, Croatia and the Czech Republic were the most affected playing in the UK. 

So, who can travel to Denmark?

Many fans have been wondering since last night. In this case, Croatia is on the yellow list, and the restrictions are much milder, meaning many will be able to attend the match.

"For trips to Denmark from the yellow states, it is not necessary to present a COVID-19 test when boarding the aircraft. Passengers entering Denmark from the yellow EU / Schengen countries, including Croatia, must present one of the following upon entry:

- Confirmation of full vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine approved by the EMA, and at least 14 and at most 180 days must have passed since the last dose was received.

- Certificate of COVID 19 illness, 14 days to 8 months before the trip.

- perform testing upon entering Denmark."

How to get tickets will likely be announced by HNS on Thursday after we find out Croatia's opponent tonight.

If Croatia makes it to the quarterfinal, they will travel to St. Petersburg.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

HNS and St Catherine Specialty Hospital Invite Christian Eriksen to Zagreb for Genetic Testing

June 22, 2021 - After collapsing on the pitch during the Euro 2020 game between Denmark and Finland, HNS and St Catherine Specialty Hospital want to help Danish footballer Christian Eriksen. 

St Catherine Specialty Hospital Management Board president and Croatian Football Federation health commission president Dragan Primorac sent a letter to the Danish Football Federation president Jesper Moller and Secretary-General Jakob Jensen, urging them to have their national team member Christian Eriksen (29) perform a comprehensive genetic test in Croatia to determine the possible genetic basis of cardiac arrest, reports

The Denmark national team player shocked the world when he collapsed on the pitch in the 43rd minute of the match between Finland and Denmark on June 12. The doctors revived him on the pitch for ten minutes. Eriksen was transferred to the hospital, from where he later contacted his teammates, and they then decided to continue the match. He was then fitted with an ICD, a device that can restore normal heart function.

It is known that the Croatian Football Federation and the St Catherine Special Hospital, in cooperation with the American corporation Invitae, launched a project in June 2019 to prevent sudden cardiac death, which with a complete cardiac examination (12-channel electrocardiogram, heart ultrasound, ergometry, and 24-Holter) includes the most comprehensive analysis described in the literature genes associated with conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Eriksen's genetic testing would be conducted as part of the project "Development of a Comprehensive Model for the Prevention of Sudden Heart Death: Analysis of 294 Genes and Related Mutations Associated with Conditions That Can Lead to Athlete's Sudden Heart Death."

If, after genetic testing, the occurrence of a mutation in one of the genes associated with conditions that can lead to the sudden cardiac death of an athlete is determined, it will be necessary to test his children as well. Eriksen, meanwhile, is fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that can successfully detect the occurrence of arrhythmias in the future and restore a normal heart rhythm and save a person's life.

The first results related to the role of specific genetic markers as possible predictors of sudden cardiac death in athletes were conducted by scientists from the USA, Canada, Croatia, and Germany, led by Dr. Primorec, and recently published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Medicine.

The results of a study involving three generations of families of athletes who died of sudden cardiac death have been published, and the study has analyzed the largest number of genes associated so far with several inherited cardiac conditions leading to sudden cardiac death 294 genes.

Among the analyzed genes are those that lead to various disorders of the electrical activity of the heart, including hereditary disorders of cardiac ion channels, such as prolonged QT interval syndrome, Brugada syndrome, but also genes whose changes lead to structural changes in the heart, such as cardiomyopathies (most often hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and several other conditions.

HNS President Davor Suker introduced FIFA leader Gianni Infantino and UEFA president Alexander Ceferin to the published, as it is now called, "Croatian model for the prevention of sudden cardiac death in athletes," which includes the analysis of the largest number of genes associated with sudden cardiac death, especially in players from risk groups. 

During the start of the project in June 2019, a member of the project team and one of the most prominent German cardiologists, prof. Dr. Johannes Brachmann stated that the latest scientific findings suggest that classical cardiac examination is not sufficient in the early detection of conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death in athletes and that genetic screening in predisposed athletes plays a key role.

It was then particularly emphasized that extremely intense physical activity can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death in predisposed athletes. Following the Guidelines (Positions) of the Croatian Society for Human Genetics of the Croatian Medical Association, all persons identified through screening as persons at higher risk will be provided with information as part of genetic counseling during risk identification and after additional tests. This will be the basis for optimal treatment and, if necessary, exclusion from sports of high-risk athletes to reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death.

Since the beginning of the project "Development of a comprehensive model for the prevention of sudden cardiac death: Analysis of 294 genes and associated mutations associated with conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death of athletes", on two occasions, the Croatian Football Federation sent a letter to all First, Second and Third HNL clubs, First and Second HNLŽ clubs, and First and Second HNML clubs, urging all players from defined risk groups (athletes with a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, athletes with a specific cardiovascular result after a clinical examination, athletes with previous episodes of weakness or excessive fatigue that are not in line with exertion, athletes with dizziness or unexplained loss of consciousness and chest pain, etc.) after standard cardiac treatments, and underwent genetic testing as part of the project.

At the end of the letter,  Dr. Primorac congratulated Denmark on advancing to the round of 16.

"It was tough for all of us to watch the recent scenes of Eriksen after he collapsed in the first half of the 2020 European Championship match between Denmark and Finland. The most important thing now is that he is well and that the medical team has done everything to stabilize his condition. However, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the leading scientific journals, points out that in about 40% of cases of sudden cardiac death, the cause remains unknown. Therefore, I believe that genetics and other OMICS disciplines will play a key role in better understanding the mechanism occurrence and the prevention of these tragic events.

In our comprehensive model of sudden cardiac death prevention, in addition to standard cardiac tests, we placed special emphasis on the analysis of 294 genes associated with conditions that lead to sudden cardiac death. Therefore, as part of the project, we want to help colleagues from the Danish Football Association in searching for the real cause of cardiac arrest that happened to Eriksen, to optimize his treatment, but also to determine the possible existence of mutations associated with conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death," concluded Dragan Primorac.

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