Wednesday, 20 July 2022

New Security Protocol Introduced for High-Risk Football Matches in Croatia

July 20, 2022 - A new security protocol for high-risk football matches in Croatia has been introduced. 

At the Ministry of Internal Affairs headquarters, the Protocol on security at high-risk matches was signed, reports Gol.hr.

The protocol was signed by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Davor Božinović, and the president of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

The signed Protocol regulates the cooperation in the actions of HNS, clubs, and the police at high-risk matches, in the stadium area and at the stadium, during the preparation and implementation of measures for the arrival of fans at the stadium, their stay at the stadium, and their return from the stadium, all to prevent illegal behavior.

The President of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić, thanked the Ministry of the Interior for adopting and signing this Protocol, which will be of help to the clubs and significantly contribute to increasing the safety of fans in stadiums, at Supersport HNL matches and, of course, the Croatia national team:

"We as a Federation will do everything to encourage better cooperation between clubs and, of course, cooperation between clubs and their fans," concluded the president of the Croatian Football Federation.

"The fact is that the security aspect is important to hold football matches, and the police are the ones who take care of public order and safety. The police are responsible for any public gathering, and football matches, especially some, gather tens of thousands of people, and that's why we decided that, in agreement with everyone, we will create a procedural document that will provide answers to everything that has been shown to us in practice as a possible source of unrest, dissatisfaction, and even physical confrontations," Minister Božinović explained.

The Protocol precisely prescribes the procedures that will have to be followed, and they were adopted after an agreement with the Croatian Football Federation, the football clubs, and their security commissioners, or the people who are in charge of the security aspect of the Croatian football clubs.

"We worked intensively on preparing this protocol and did not stay only within the Croatian framework. As you know, we went to Geneva and spoke with the leading people of UEFA, who participate in all these, especially international matches. We explained and presented how we intend to solve it, and I can freely say that we have come to an understanding," Minister Božinović explained.

Minister Božinović also stated that all high-risk matches would be coordinated from the headquarters of the Croatian police, headed by the deputy director general of the police Damir Barić, who was accompanied by the director general of the police Nikola Milina and the head of the administration of public order and security, Dragan Tokić.

"In the operational sense, nothing will be left to chance from the moment the match is declared high-risk, which is declared by the Police Directorate based on some dynamic indicators," said Minister Božinović.

He also explained how they were guided by the common goal of creating conditions in which people would freely come to football matches, in which families would go as they used to, and that everyone would feel as safe as possible. As an additional goal, which, according to what was seen after the Super Cup match and the 1st round of the HNL, is being achieved. He pointed out that reports are written after the matches.

"The standard we are setting now must be the standard for the time to come, and there will certainly be no relaxation when we talk about the behavior of all those who are responsible for security both on the side of HNS and the clubs," concluded Minister Božinović.

The most important thing to point out is the defined rule that should avoid a new "Desinec case" and the clash between Torcida and the police on the highway, that is, the problems that preceded the last derby at Maksimir last season. 

- In cooperation with the representative of the visiting fans, the visiting club will provide refreshments (drinks and food) for the visiting fans during the trip to the match and when returning from the match.

- The home club will provide sanitary facilities and access to drinks and food at the locations of the planned gathering of visiting fans upon their arrival and/or in the stadium area.

- In communication with the visiting club, if necessary, the police will, following the security assessment, implement additional measures to secure the locations intended for visiting fans to rest on the way to the football match and the way back.

The protocol can be read in its entirety here.

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

 

Saturday, 2 July 2022

UEFA Fines HNS: Stadium Partly Closed for Croatia's Next Nations League Match

July 2, 2022 - The control, ethics, and disciplinary body of UEFA fines HNS 15,000 euros due to the discriminatory behavior of Croatia fans at Poljud against France. In addition, at the next home match, the Croatian Football Federation will have to close one sector. 

On June 6, Croatia hosted France in the second round of the Nations League at Poljud. The Split stadium was filled to capacity, more than 30,000 fans created a fantastic atmosphere and paid tribute to captain Luka Modrić with a banner, who then played his 150th match for the national team, reports 24 Sata

However, almost a month after that match, the control, ethics, and disciplinary body of UEFA fined HNS 15,000 euros for the racist behavior of fans. 

Before the match, the Croatian Football Federation will have to confirm which sector will be closed and that it will contain at least three thousand seats. At the next match, Croatia will have to show a banner with the message 'NoToRacism' with the UEFA logo, writes the UEFA press release.

The Croatia national team will play its next home match in the Nations League on September 22 at Maksimir Stadium against Denmark. Given that the east tribune is out of order, and one sector will be closed due to the fine, Croatia will not be greeted by a full stadium, as was the case at Poljud.

By the way, despite losing to Austria to open the Nations League, Croatia's victory against Denmark in September is a great opportunity to take first place in the group and secure the final three days after that match. Croatia visits Austria in the last round.

While the defeat against Austria shook Croatia, the national team quickly found its rhythm. Croatia and France drew at Poljud, beat Denmark at Parken, and finally defeated France for the first time in history (1-0) by beating them at Stade de France.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

 

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

SuperSport HNL: New Name Given to Croatia's Top Football League

June 29, 2022 - The highest rank of Croatian football will be called SuperSport Croatian Football League, or SuperSport HNL, from next season. 

After signing a contract on marketing rights and betting rights for matches owned by the Croatian Football Federation in May, SuperSport has taken over the title sponsorship of the Croatian Football League for the 2022/23 season, which begins on July 15, reports HNS

The new visual identity and logo of the league were also presented, and the leaders of SuperSport and HNS are satisfied with the cooperation.

“We are extremely honored to be the title sponsor of the SuperSport Croatian Football League. The last season of Croatian football has never been more interesting, and I believe that the SuperSport HNL will exceed all expectations," said SuperSport Management Board member Goran Đurić.

"The goal of SuperSport as a market leader is to continue investing in the development of Croatian football, which shows its strength and progress from season to season. I am firmly convinced that the new season of all domestic football competitions will be the best so far, especially the SuperSport HNL," added SuperSport Management Board member Radim Haluza.

"We can freely say that this summer we are entering a new era of Croatian club football. We have signed a record contract for TV and marketing rights, we have returned the competition to the popular name Croatian Football League, the matches will be shown on the new HT platform, and some of the matches will be shown on HRT. Now we have the full name of the league and a new visual identity thanks to SuperSport, and I am sure that we all share the intense anticipation of the beginning of the SuperSport HNL new season and that, in addition to commercial and marketing development, we will witness the continued raised quality of our football league," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatian Football League Transfer News: Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and More

June 22, 2022 - A look at the latest Croatian Football League transfer news ahead of the 2022/23 season. 

The summer transfer season is heating up as Croatian clubs look to enhance their squads ahead of the 2022/23 season. A look at who Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, Osijek, and Šibenik have brought in so far. 

Dinamo

Boško Šutalo is a new Dinamo player, arriving as a reinforcement in the stopper position. It is increasingly likely that current Dinamo player Josip Šutalo will leave the club.

Boško Šutalo comes from Atalanta, and Dinamo allegedly paid 3 million euros for the transfer. The 22-year-old Croat thus becomes one of the most expensive reinforcements in Dinamo's history. 

Šutalo was born in Metković, played for Neretva and Split, and in 2018 went to Osijek. He was transferred to Serie A, signed for Atalanta, and played on loan last season.

"I am very happy to come to Dinamo. Dinamo is the most successful Croatian club that achieves significant success every season in Croatian competitions and Europe," Šutalo said.

"I will do my best in the Dinamo jersey in every game. I will fight for the club. I hope we will have great support from the fans in everything ahead of us this season, and I am sure that great moments await us," concluded Šutalo, who has signed a four-year contract with Dinamo. 

Hajduk

Toni Borevković is a new Hajduk player. On Sunday, the 25-year-old stopper underwent medical examinations in Zagreb and joined Hajduk's preparations in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria. Borevković joins Hajduk on a one-year loan with the right to buy his contract from the Portuguese first division club Vitoria de Guimaraes. He will wear the number 5 for Hajduk.

Borevković was born on June 18, 1997, in Slavonski Brod and began his football career at Marsonia. In 2012, he transferred to Dinamo, where he played until 2016, followed by Rudeš, where he played notably for the next three seasons and collected over sixty official appearances.

He transferred to the Portuguese city of Rio Ave in 2018 and recorded over 80 official appearances in three seasons. In the last season, he joined the ranks of Vitoria de Guimaraes, for which he played 24 games.

"My ambitions coincide with Hajduk. I came here to fight for the title. I followed Hajduk and the First HNL last season; I am glad that we won the trophy and were a little short of taking the second. I believe we can make that happen in the new season. I come ready for the preparations. I will immediately join the training, and I can only tell the fans that I will do my best in every training session and game," said Toni after signing for Hajduk.

Rijeka

Mario Vrančić is a new Rijeka player. Last season, Vrančić played for Stoke City in the Championship. Mario is an offensive midfielder and arrived in Rijeka on a one-year loan with the possibility of buying his contract.

Behind Vrančić is an impressive career in which he played for Mainz, Paderborn, Darmstadt, Norwich City, and Stoke City. However, Rijeka is a new station, a new opportunity to prove himself, and a great challenge. Vrančić has already played with Josip Drmić, Antonio Čolak, and Roman Bezjak in his career.

"I am very happy to be a new player of Rijeka. This is a new challenge for me. I chose Rijeka because I have a very good feeling," said Mario. 

Mateo Pavlović also signed with Rijeka on Wednesday. Pavlović arrived in Rijeka from French club Amiens and joined the first team. 

"I am happy and excited to be in Rijeka. The main reason for my arrival was that I felt that the people in the club wanted me, they showed great will and desire and that was decisive. I can't wait to wear the jersey and prove myself on the pitch," said Mateo Pavlović.

Mateo has played for Zagreb, Werder, Ferencvaros, Angers and Amiens.

Osijek

Damjan Bohar is no longer a player of Osijek. An agreement was reached on his transfer to Polish first league club Zaglebie Lubin, from which the occasional Slovenia national team player joined Osijek less than two years ago. Bohar mutually terminated his contract, and he should spend at least two seasons in Poland. 

Although he arrived in Međimurje for Osijek preparations, Mirlind Daku will go on loan again from Osijek. Daku joined Slovenian first division team Mura, where he also spent the spring half-season. 

Šibenik

Duje Čop arrived in Šibenik and agreed on a one-year loan from Dinamo after it expired in Celje, Slovenia.

This will be the 11th club in Čop's senior career, and he returns to Dalmatia after 10 years, where he left RNK Split in 2012. The 32-year-old striker has already joined Šibenik's team in the preparations in Slovenia with their new coach Damir Čanadi.

"The former Vatreni, as well as the former top scorer and player of the HNL, is coming on a one-year loan from Dinamo. We wish him a lot of luck and goals in the orange jersey," reads a short post on Šibenik's Facebook profile about the transfer. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Thursday, 9 June 2022

2022/23 Croatian First League Season Announced, First Big Derby in 5th Round

June 9, 2022 - The first 9 rounds of the 2022/23 Croatian First League season have been announced, as well as that Croatia's most popular football league is returning to HRT after 11 years. 

The draw to reveal the matches for the new Croatian First League (HNL) competition season was held at the Croatian Football Federation premises in Zagreb. The draw decided that in the first round, Istra 1961 - Hajduk, Varaždin - Slaven Belupo, Dinamo - Lokomotiva, Osijek - Gorica, and Šibenik - Rijeka will play.

The first game of the first round is scheduled for July 16, and the first big derby of Croatian sport will be played in the 5th round when Dinamo welcomes Hajduk at Maksimir. 

Hajduk and Dinamo will open the new competition season with the Super Cup match in Zagreb on July 9. The exact dates and times for each round will be added when they are defined. 

Schedule (so far)

1. Round (15. – 17.7.): Istra – Hajduk, Varaždin – Slaven, Dinamo – Lokomotiva, Osijek – Gorica, Šibenik – Rijeka

2. Round (22. – 24.7): Hajduk – Rijeka, Gorica – Šibenik, Lokomotiva – Osijek, Slaven – Dinamo, Istra – Varaždin

3. Round (29. – 31.7.): Varaždin – Hajduk, Dinamo – Istra, Osijek – Slaven, Šibenik – Lokomotiva, Rijeka - Gorica

4. Round (5.-7.8.): Hajduk – Gorica, Lokomotiva – Rijeka, Slaven – Šibenik, Istra – Osijek, Varaždin - Dinamo

5. Round (12. – 14.8.): Dinamo – Hajduk, Osijek – Varaždin, Šibenik – Istra, Rijeka – Slaven, Gorica – Lokomotiva

6. Round (19. – 21.8.): Hajduk – Lokomotiva, Slaven – Gorica, Istra – Rijeka, Varaždin – Šibenik, Dinamo – Osijek

7. Round (26. – 28.8): Osijek – Hajduk, Šibenik – Dinamo, Rijeka – Varaždin, Gorica – Istra, Lokomotiva – Šibenik

8. Round (2. – 4.9.): Hajduk – Slaven, Istra – Lokomotiva, Varaždin – Gorica, Dinamo – Rijeka, Osijek – Šibenik

9. Round (9. – 11.9): Šibenik – Hajduk, Rijeka – Osijek, Gorica – Dinamo, Lokomotiva – Varaždin, Slaven - Istra

Furthermore, it was announced yesterday that HNL is returning to HRT. After an 11-year hiatus, live broadcasts of the Croatian Football League are returning to the public service program. This is the result of an agreement between Hrvatski Telekom and Hrvatska radiotelevizija.

The four-year contract guarantees broadcasts of 27 games per season that will be available to all citizens of the Republic of Croatia. It is a total of 108 matches thanks to which the HNL will have a wider reach.

"First of all, we are happy and satisfied that an agreement has been reached between Hrvatski Telekom and Hrvatska radiotelevizija and that HNL is returning to national television. This is good for Croatian clubs and fans. In the historic contract we signed, one of the main items was for the HNL to return to national television, so we are especially happy about that. I am sure that the people who will work on this HRT project will provide our viewers with a good program," said Marijan Kustić, president of the Croatian Football Federation.

Although we have been following the domestic league through sports and news programs, this contract will bring added value to public television, but also to football fans. The show "Stadium" also moves forward this summer, from the first round of the championship, in its current term on Monday night at 8 pm, and with the beginning of autumn, on Sunday at 9 pm, immediately after the end of the last match of the round. This will enable the HRT Sports Program to give its viewers a quick and high-quality overview of all the interesting things that domestic football has to offer.

"Yes, Stadium will follow our domestic football from the beginning of the championship, and the broadcasts will arrive in mid-September when our autumn program starts. Sunday at 3 pm will be our regular term, the term of domestic football on our Second Program. We have 27 games under contract, including four derby matches. We have provided good picks, as a national house we must provide everyone with a television broadcast. I believe that at the end of the story, everyone will be satisfied," said Marko Šapit from the Sports Department of HRT.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Croatia U21s Crush Estonia to Finish Qualifications, 2023 Euro Spot Still Unknown

June 9, 2022 - The Croatia U21s convincingly beat Estonia away on Wednesday, finishing the 2023 Euro qualifications with 22 points. As Norway still has two games left to play, Croatia's fate at next year's Euros is still uncertain. 

In the last round of Group A of the European Championship qualifiers, the Croatia U21 national team outclassed Estonia 4-0 away and thus finished the qualifications at 22 points.

However, it is still unknown whether Igor Bišćan's team will go directly to the Euros as the winners of the group or will finish in second place and have to go to additional qualifications.

Namely, the schedule has been put together so that the last round matches are not all played at the same time. Currently, the situation is such that the biggest threat to the young Croatia side is the third-placed Norway, which still has two more games to play - a visit to Finland and a home match against Azerbaijan.

Since the goal difference is in the standings, the good news is that the young Croatia national team crushed Estonia 4-0 and finished with +15 (25:10). This specifically means that if Finland, who currently has +7 (18:11) beat Norway by any margin of fewer than eight goals, Croatia will finish in the first place and qualify for the European Championship next year. 

If the result is a draw or if Norway wins that match, which is played on Friday, June 10, then Norway (especially if they triumph in Finland) will have the advantage at home against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, June 14.

Euro U21 Qualifiers, Group A:
1. Croatia 22, 25:10 (10)
2. Finland 19, 18:11 (9)
3. Norway 18, 22:10 (8)
4. Austria 16, 22: 13 (10)
5. Azerbaijan 7, 11:22 (9)
6. Estonia 0, 0:32 (10)

Match report

Estonia and Croatia met at Rannastaadion in Pärnu, Estonia on Wednesday. Croatia went furiously through the first half and gained a 3-goal lead at halftime. Gabriel Vidović scored in the seventh minute, Mario Vušković in the 14th minute, and Antonio Marin scored in the 41st minute. The final score was set by Toni Fruck in the 55th minute for 0-4 Croatia.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

8th Croatian Football Federation Executive Board Session Held in Solin

June 7, 2022 - The 8th Croatian Football Federation Executive Board session was held in Solin on Monday, at which a decision was made on the names of men's football competitions in the upcoming season.

On Monday, the Croatian Football Federation Executive Board met in Solin ahead of the UEFA League of Nations match between Croatia and France at Poljud, reports HNS.

A decision was made that the highest level of competition in men's football will again be called the Croatian Football League, while the second, third, and fourth levels will be called, respectively, the First Football League, the Second Football League, and the Third Football League. Subsequently, it is possible to add to these names the name of the title sponsor of each level of competition.

"We wanted to single out the first stage of the competition and give additional importance to the lower stages of the competition, so we considered several solutions. In the end, we decided to return the first stage of the competition to its original and recognizable name, Croatian Football League, which has become common among fans, in public, and in the media, which we have witnessed in recent years when the name was the First League, but we all said that it is ours - HNL.

In this way, we paid tribute to the history and recognition of the HNL while avoiding international expressions such as "premier" or "elite," which have no tradition in Croatian football. We have also emphasized second, third, and fourth level clubs. Furthermore, we will continue to strengthen all marketing, promotional and commercial aspects," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

The Executive Board also accepted the decision on distributing funds from the TV rights contract, whereby the largest part will go to the clubs of the Croatian Football League - 9.33 million euros. The rest of the funds will be directed to the First Football League, 1st ŽNL, 1st HMNL, HNK for youth, HNK for women, and HNK in indoor soccer.

The Executive Board determined the participants in the competition from the first to the third level, i.e., the qualification for the First and Second Football Leagues.

The new Ordinance on Football Competitions, the Ordinance on Club Cooperation, the Licensing Report for the Competition Year 2022/23, the Report on the Organization of Football Camps in Australia and the USA, and the document Basics of Veteran Football were adopted.

The Executive Board also decided to purchase artificial grass needed to build seven more lawns in counties across the country.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 6 June 2022

UEFA Nations League: Croatia and France Draw at Poljud (1:1)

June 6, 2022 - Croatia and France draw at Poljud in the 2nd round of the UEFA Nations League at Poljud on Monday. 

Croatia and France met for the 2nd round of the Nations League on Monday at Poljud Stadium in Split. Croatia opened this year's Nations League with a shock 0:3 defeat to Austria in Osijek. France also lost their opening match against Denmark 1:2. 

Both Croatia and France were weakened due to injuries. Croatia was without Ivan Perišič, Marko Livaja, Joško Gvardiol, and Petar Musa. For France, Mbappe, Benzema, Kante, and Coman did not properly train with the team last night. Croatia, however, has yet to beat France. 

As coach Zlatko Dalić said at the press conference last night, France even without their usual stars is still France - and even their B team is a force to be reckoned with. 

Tonight is also Croatia captain Luka Modrić's 150th appearance for the Croatia national team. He made his debut on March 1, 2006, in Croatia's 3:2 victory against Argentina. Luka has scored 21 goals in 149 games so far, participated in three World Cups and four European Championships, and has been the team captain since 2016.

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković, Juranović, Erlić, Vida, Barišić, Brozović, Kovačić, Modrić, Majer, Brekalo, Budimir

France: Maignan, Pavard, Saliba, Kimpembe, Digne, Guendouzi, Tchouaméni, Diaby, Rabiot, Nkunku, Ben Yedder

Match Report

Croatia maintained possession for the first five minutes of the match, with a few potential attacks in the penalty area. Croatia's first corner came in the 6th minute. Luka played short to Brekalo, who played back to Luka and then Majer for a shot off target. 

France picked up the pace in the next 5 minutes and had their first corner in the 10th minute. 

Juranović headed out a close encounter for France for their second corner of the match in the 12th minute. Kovačić played Budimir into the penalty spot the minute after which was cleared by the France defense. 

Croatia's defense was solid tonight in comparison to the debacle last weekend in Osijek. Calm, collected, and without any mishaps so far. 

Croatia's best chance of the match came in the 18th minute - Kovačić played a brilliant through ball to Budimir who shot near post forcing a tricky save for the France keeper. The ball went out for a corner. 

France had another chance in the 23rd minute which was shot wide. 

A minute later a breakaway for Kovačić saw him fouled outside the box. The ref decided to play advantage for Croatia instead, and France won back possession. 

Lovro Majer was fouled in France's half which the ref did not call. France then pushed up the pitch and scored an offside goal in the 31st minute. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick in the 33rd minute but Vida was offside.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save after Vida let Diaby get a shot off in the 39th minute - and another save moments after that. France had another corner in the 40th minute and another two corners three minutes later. Croatia's defense had no problem clearing the play. 

One minute of stoppage time was added to the first half. The match was 0:0. 

The second half started without any substitutions. 

Lovro Majer sent a stunning pass through the France defense, which found Ante Budimir's head, but the ball went wide of the goal. 

But it was France to score first. Rabiot made it 0:1 in the 52nd minute. 

Croatia moved the ball nicely into France's half in the 57th minute and was dangerous in front of the France keeper but could not get a shot off.  

Juranović found Budimir at the top of the box and played it back to Brozovic who couldn't find his footing to shoot. 

France subbed off Ben Yedder for Griezmann, and Kamara for Tchouameni. For Croatia, Majer came off for Pasalic and Brekalo for Orsic. 

Budimir was fouled just outside the box in the 63rd minute which the ref allowed them to play on. 

Dalic subbed off Budimir for Kramaric in the 68th minute.

Luka had a great chance in the 70th minute. He cut back to his left foot to shoot on target, forcing the France keeper to make a diving save.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save in the 75th minute to ensure the match stayed 0:1.

Luka Modric was subbed off for Luka Sucic and Mateo Kovacic for Nikola Vlasic in the 78th minute. 

Croatia had another chance in the 80th minute which was ultimately called for a penalty thanks to VAR. Kramaric made it 1:1 in the 82nd minute!

Vlasic shot on target in the 86th minute forcing the ball out for a corner. A Croatia mishap in the defense almost cost them the match two minutes later, but Griezmann shot wide of an empty goal. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the match in which neither team was able to score - though Sucic had a great chance. The match ended 1:1. 

Croatia plays Denmark next in Copenhagen on Friday, June 10. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatia Nations League Campaign Kicks Off with Shock Defeat to Austria (0:3)

June 3, 2022 - A troubling display in Osijek tonight as the Croatia Nations League campaign kicks off with a 0:3 defeat to Austria.

The Croatia-Austria match was the first in a series of four UEFA Nations League matches the national team will play in 11 days this month. 

On paper, Austria was the easiest opponent for Croatia in this year's Nations League edition, which will serve as preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Croatia was after three points at City Garden tonight, as the next three matches will be even tougher to win points. 

Tonight's match was also the final for the national team at City Garden, as the new Pampas stadium will be used in Osijek from next year.

Lineups

Austria: Lindner - Danso, Trauner, Wöber - Lainer, Laimer, Schlager, Weimann - Sabitzer - Arnautović, Onisiwo

Croatia: Ivušić - Juranović, Pongračić, Ćaleta-Car, Sosa - Brozović, Kovačić, Pašalić - Majer, Kramarić, Brekalo

Recall, Croatia was without Perišić, Gvardiol, Musa, and Livaja, while Luka Modrić will get some rest in this match after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Recap

Croatia had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute. Brekalo found Pasalic in the penalty area. In the 8th minute, Majer found Kramaric on the far post and Lainer's reaction nearly caused an own goal. 

Kramaric's shot was blocked in the 14th minute after which Brozovic also had a chance. Croatia was hungry for an early goal. 

Croatia's best chance so far came in the 18th minute. Brekalo again found Pasalic running into the box who missed with his head. 

Pasalic had another chance in front of the goal from a corner in the 21st minute, and Austria had a chance just wide of the goal moments later.

Another chance for Croatia in the 25th minute - Brozovic played the Austria defense to find Pasalic open in the box who shot a second too late. 

Kovacic had the first shot on target in the 28th minute, which was pushed out by the Austria keeper for a corner. Kramaric shot at the keeper in the 31st which went out for another corner. 

Sosa lost the ball in the defense giving Arnautovic a shot on goal, which he luckily hit over. But Austria got their goal in the end - Arnautovic scored for 0:1 in the 41st minute. 

Majer hit the near post for a corner in the 44th minute. The first half ended 0:1 for Austria. 

Borna Barisic went on for Borna Sosa at the start of the second half. 

Croatia came out motivated at the start of the second half. Brekalo and Majer found Pasalic who had a chance in front of the goal in the 47th minute, after which Brozovic missed a chance. 

Ivusic brilliantly defended an Austria shot, though Austria caught the Croatia defense asleep shortly after. Gregoritsch calmly put the ball in the back of the net for 0:2 in the 53rd minute - and in the 57th minute, Austria made it 0:3. 

Dalic subbed off Kramaric, Majer, and Pasalic for Modrić, Budimir, and Vlasic a minute later.

Croatia's shaky defense and inability to find the back of the net did not make for a pleasant atmosphere at City Garden. 

Kovacic came off for Orsic in the 70th minute.

Croatia was without any solid chances in the second half and was lucky that Austria didn't increase their lead. 

The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, but the match ended 0:3 for Austria. 

Croatia will welcome France on Monday in Split, followed by the first two away games in Group 1 - on June 10 in Denmark and on June 13 in France. All matches are played at 20:45.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatia U21s Concede Two Stoppage-Time Goals to Complicate Euro Qualifications

June 3, 2022 - The Croatia U21s nearly had the Euros spot in their hands, up 2:1 against Norway in the 80th minute. With two goals conceded in stoppage time, Croatia no longer controls their destiny for a spot at the Euros next year. 

The U21 Croatia national team played a key European Championship qualifier in Drammen, Norway on Friday. The match started at 6 pm. 

A victory against Norway would have ensured Croatia's spot at the Euros with one round to go. Croatia plays their last match of the qualifiers against last-placed Estonia.

In the first match between these two teams played in Varaždin, Croatia won 3:2. Both teams recorded defeats in the last qualifying round. Croatia surprisingly lost to Finland, while Norway lost away against Austria.

Only the first-placed team in the group goes directly to the Euros, while the second-placed team goes to the playoffs.

Lineups

Norway: Klaesson, Hjelde, Heggheim, Daland, Sebulonsen, Ceide, Hove, Arnstad, Vetlesen, Botheim, Larsen

Croatia: Kotarski, Čolina, Soldo, Šutalo, Stanišić, Krizmanić, Vušković, Kačavenda, Sučić, Matanović, Šimić

Recap

Croatia took the early lead thank to Luka Sucic. Kacavenda started the counter and pushed Simic in the middle well, and while he lost the duel, the ball came back to Kacavenda who played Sucic for 0:1 Croatia! Two minutes later Norway hit the post. 

Norway continued to press and finally equalized in the 37th minute. Botheim scored with his head for 1:1. Kotarski almost defended, but the shot was too strong.

The match was 1:1 at the half. 

Croatia had some brilliant chances in the second half but did not retake the lead until the 80th minute. Sucic found Simic at the top of the box who scored for 1:2 Croatia! This was exactly the result needed to secure their spot at the European Championship.

The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia nearly had the win and Euros spot in their hands but conceded two goals in 5 minutes. In the first minute of stoppage time, Daland scored for 2:2. Larsen scored for 3:2 with a minute left and the Norway victory. 

Croatia is still in first place with 8 games played and 19 points, while Norway is in 3rd place with 7 games played and 15 points. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

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