Saturday, 2 April 2022

Croatia 2022 World Cup Schedule: 11 am Opener against Morocco

April 2, 2022 - The Croatia 2022 World Cup schedule is here, with the dates, times, and stadiums listed for the highly anticipated tournament later this year.

The Croatia national team will play this November at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in Group F together with Morocco, Canada, and Belgium. The draw was held on Friday night in Doha. 

If Croatia is one of the first two national teams in their group, they will cross paths with Group E, where Spain and Germany are the favorites to pass, while the group also includes Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand. 

Croatia's 2022 World Cup matches
FIFA has announced the exact schedule of matches, and Croatia will open the tournament against Morocco on November 23 at 11 am local time at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

The second round is scheduled four days later, on November 27, when Croatia plays Canada at 5 pm at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The Group F derby is played on December 1, when Croatia and Belgium will play at 4 pm at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Qatar is not opening the World Cup.
Interestingly, host Qatar will not be the first to open the competition at the World Cup. Their match against Ecuador was scheduled by the organizer at 5 pm on the first day of the tournament, but before them, the Netherlands and Senegal will take the pitch at 11 am in the same group. Then, from 2 pm, England and Iran will play.

Remembering Croatia against Mexico 20 years ago.
This early match time between Croatia and Morocco is not the earliest Croatia has played at a World Cup. Twenty years ago in Japan, Croatia played and lost to Mexico at 8:30 Croatian time.

Croatia 2022 World Cup Schedule: 
Wednesday, November 23

11:00 Croatia - Morocco

Sunday, November 27

17:00 Croatia - Canada

Thursday, December 1

16:00 Croatia - Belgium

Source: Gol.hr

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

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Zlatko Dalić on Croatia World Cup Draw: "Goal is to Get Out of Group"

April 2, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić comments on the Croatia World Cup draw, expressing that the goal is to get out of the group stage. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić commented on the 2022 World Cup draw, which placed Croatia in Group F with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada, reports HNS.

Impressions are positive.

"At first glance, the group is not too tough. However, there is no easy group at the World Cup because there are the best national teams in the world. It won't be easy, but we have our goal, and that is to get out of the group. I believe we will prepare to win every game and make a step to the next round. The schedule of playing matches is good; we are playing against Morocco, Canada, and only then against Belgium." 

What does the opening against Morocco bring?

"We know that the coach of Morocco is Mr. Halilhodžić, who took four national teams to the World Cup. He will certainly prepare well for us, and it will be a tough match. Morocco beat Congo in the additional qualifiers, and several outstanding players in their ranks play in Europe. But, equally, Morocco will be very motivated because this is their first game in the World Cup."

Next up is the match against Canada, the team's first appearance at the World Cup since 1986.

“They achieved great success, but they fully deserved it. They were the first in their group; they beat the USA and Mexico, which signifies that they are very good. So they will be very motivated, they will come to the World Cup with a lot of good energy, and we will be a kind of "target" for them. So we have to be very careful because we have a tough opponent ahead of us."

In the last match in the group, Croatia awaits Belgium, the strongest national team on paper. 

"Belgium has been first in the Fifa ranking for several years; I know Mr. Martinez very well, a great coach. He has a great team at his disposal, powerful and capable of great things, with many quality individuals. That game will be our biggest challenge in the group, and it is good that it will be our third game. In any case, Belgium is the favorite in our group in terms of rating." 

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

Friday, 1 April 2022

2022 World Cup Draw: Croatia in Group F with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada

April 1, 2022 - The 2022 World Cup draw was held in Doha tonight, revealing Croatia in Group F against Belgium, Morocco, and Canada. 

The draw for the World Cup groups was held today in Doha which started at 18:00 Croatia time. 

Croatia was in the second strongest group (Pot 2) based on the FIFA ranking from March 31. The only thing known apart from the ranking was that the host Qatar was automatically placed in Group A.

The rule is that there can be no more than two European teams in one group, and as for other continents, two teams from Asia, Africa, South America, or North and Central America cannot end up in the same group.

Croatia needed at least one draw at the Doha friendly tournament to secure their spot in the second pot, which they achieved already against Slovenia. 

Due to specific circumstances, this group draw was held when not all World Cup participants are known. So far, 29 national teams have qualified and three more are awaited. The list will be completed in June, after the completion of the remaining continental and intercontinental playoffs.

Another national team will come from Europe after Scotland and Ukraine meet in Glasgow. The winner of that match will play against Wales and the winner will be placed in one of the eight groups drawn today.

Peru is also will play against the winner of the Australia - United Arab Emirates match. One final playoffs pair is already known: Costa Rica - New Zealand.

2022 World Cup Pots

Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, France, Belgium, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal

Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia

Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Ghana, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Wales or Scotland or Ukraine, Australia or the United Arab Emirates or Peru, Costa Rica or New Zealand

2022 World Cup draw:
Group A: Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador 

Group B: England, USA, Iran, Playoff winner (Wales or winner of Scotland - Ukraine)

Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Playoff winner (either Peru or winner of the Australia - United Arab Emirates match)

Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Playoff winner (Costa Rica or New Zealand)

Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada 

Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, Korean Republic, Ghana 

Croatia opens the World Cup on November 23 against Morocco, followed by Canada on November 27, and Belgium in the last round on December 1. The exact timetables and stadiums where Croatia will play will be known later.

The World Cup in Qatar will be played from November 21 to December 18. This will be the last World Cup according to the current concept (32 national teams divided into eight groups of four). At the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, there will be 48 national teams.

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

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Modrić and Kramarić Score in Croatia's 2:1 Win against Bulgaria in Doha

March 29, 2022 - Modrić and Kramarić scored in Croatia's 2:1 win against Bulgaria on Tuesday in Doha. 

After Croatia played 1:1 with Slovenia on Saturday, Croatia met Bulgaria on Tuesday for their second friendly match in Doha. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić changed 10 of the 11 players from the starting lineup against Slovenia. Just as he announced, he gave everyone a chance to start from the first minute, that is, to rest those who were in the starting 11 three days ago. Because Lovren wasn't ready, the only player who started both matches was Duje Ćaleta-Car.

Lineups

Croatia: (3-5-2): Ivušić - Škorić, Vida, Ćaleta-Car - Oršić, Majer, Moro, Pašalić, Barišić - Vlašić, Livaja

Bulgaria: Vucov - Turicov, P. Hristov, A. Hristov, Jordanov - Nedelev, Čočev, Malinov, Kirilov - Minčev, Despodov.

Recap

Croatia started offensively and got into Bulgaria's penalty area in the first minute. Bulgaria had their first dangerous counter in the 6th minute which Škorić cleared. 

Livaja had a chance in the 8th minute and Barišić shot from the left in the 11th which was cleared for a corner. Oršić had a chance two minutes later which also went out for a corner. 

Moro shot on target from 20 meters in the 20th minute which the Bulgaria keeper hit out for Croatia's third corner of the match.

Bulgaria had a chance in the 25th minute which Ivušić defended for a Bulgaria corner. Mile Škorić was injured moments later forcing Pogrančić to be subbed on in the 28th minute.

Barišić shot again from the left in the 35th minute and Orišić with his left foot three minutes later. 

The first half ended 0:0 with 59% of possession for Croatia and 11 total shots, 4 of which were on target. 

Perišić and Kovačić came on for Moro and Vida to start the second half. 

Perišić threatened Bulgaria's goal two minutes into the second half. Pašalić also had a chance in the 54th minute. 

In the 60th minute, Vlašić and Livaja came out for Kramarić and Budimir. 

In the 63rd minute, Ćaleta-Car got his second yellow card and was sent off, forcing Croatia to play with a man down. 

Despodov took advantage of a hole in Croatia's defense to put Bulgaria ahead in the 69th minute. A foul was called on Kramarić in the penalty area five minutes later and Modrić scored from the penalty spot for 1:1. 

Kramarić dribbled through Bulgaria's defense in the 80th minute to find the far post for 2:1 Croatia. 

Bulgaria had a brilliant chance in the 87th minute after Kovačić lost the ball, though Barišić saved the day to keep it 2:1. 

Bulgaria had another chance in the 90th minute and the ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. The match ended 2:1 for Croatia. 

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

Monday, 28 March 2022

Zlatko Dalić Reveals Croatia Lineup against Bulgaria in Doha

March 28, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić has revealed a much different Croatia lineup against Bulgaria on Tuesday. It will be the second friendly match in Doha after Croatia and Slovenia drew 1:1 on Saturday.

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić once again commented on Croatia's performance in the first friendly match in Doha on Saturday, reports HNS.

Croatia dominated Slovenia for most of the match, which ended in a draw after conceding a goal in the last moments.

"I am sorry for the goal we conceded in the last minute. We knew there would be two minutes of stoppage time before that corner kick when we didn’t react well, and then we conceded a goal anyway. We did not stand well in the initial formation; a hole was created, but, well… It is better that it happened now than later. We will analyze the situation well, see where we went wrong, and correct it.

All in all, it saddened me because we didn't deserve the game to end 1:1. We played well, especially after the first twenty minutes when we weren’t ourselves. We had narrowed a bit; our legs were stiff and heavy, there was no depth. I have to admit that it was much better in training. It was good," said Dalić, who once again commented on the defense.

 

"The players had to attack the ball after the cross, but they didn't set up well. If they had stood properly in the space, the Slovenian player would not have come to the ideal situation to score. It's a matter of concentration. However, the problem was that we replaced six players, so the formation and schedule of players changed at that break, and we could not follow everything. Even though we knew we had two minutes. I'm sorry for the goal we received in the last seconds, but we will try to fix it in the games that follow."

The coach announced a completely new team against Bulgaria.

"Croatia solved all its problems four months ago. We are calm and peaceful, what we have to do now is check some things, that is my job as a coach. We need to get answers to some questions, and we only have a chance now. Competitive matches come later when there are no more sub-questions so that we will give a chance to all players. I told the guys that it’s all up to them, that no one will be deprived; what they show and play will be the only thing relevant to whether or not they will be part of the national team. That is why I want to give a chance to all the players. Ivušić will get a chance in goal; we have small problems in the defense because Sosa is in pain, and I don't think we will use him. He surprised me because he came to the gathering with an injury he didn’t talk about. He wanted to be with us, he tried, he struggled, but we will not force him. It doesn't make sense; I want him to rest and be ready to return to the club."

Dalić announced the rest of the lineup:

"The stoppers will be Škorić, Vida, and Ćaleta-Car, on the left side Barišić, on the right maybe Juranović, although it will be his second game then. Moro, Pašalić, and Majer will be in the midfield, and Vlašić and Livaja will be in the attack. When it comes to the right flank, we are only in a little doubt; I will not tell you who we are thinking about because you will make drama around it. The goal is to try this team and, of course, win the game." 

The coach again praised the players for their engagement and the game against Slovenia.

"We played a fair game; it's good to have a wide frame; sweet worries await me. The Nations League is already waiting for us in three months. We face difficult exams during which we will have to use more players because we will play four games in ten days. After the Doha games, the players will, in any case, know what they did or did not do."

Croatia also awaits the upcoming World Cup draw. 

"Croatia has competed in five world championships and won two medals. Who has that? And we underestimate that. A country of four million people has achieved such great results… This is something fascinating. The draw... it would be good if we pulled Qatar, no matter how much we underestimate anyone. Our goal is to go through the group to take that first step. It will be difficult, Qatar will be with the best national teams, but I believe in our team and us. I do not want to talk about some higher goals. In Russia, we went step by step. All opponents are tough from the first strong group, except the host, who is objectively the easiest opponent. The third and fourth strong group… I didn't think much about it; when the draw is over, I will be able to comment a bit more," concluded the coach.

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

Monday, 28 March 2022

HNS Chooses Croatia Camp in Qatar for 2022 World Cup

March 28, 2022 - The Croatia camp in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup has been chosen by the Croatian Football Federation. 

The Croatian Football Federation delegation visited the Dusit Hotel and the Al Gharafa Training Center, which are the first option for the Croatia national team base camp during the FIFA World Cup, held in Qatar at the end of the year, reports HNS.

Last July, the Federation's technical delegation visited a dozen potential base camps offered by FIFA in its catalog, each consisting of a hotel and a connected training center. After a detailed report to President Marijan Kustić, the leadership of the Federation and the expert staff headed by coach Zlatko Dalić chose the Dusit Hotel and Al Gharafa Training Center as its first option in Fifa's camp reservation system.

The friendly tournament in Doha was used for another visit to the hotel and training center, and the Federation was once again convinced of the excellent conditions provided by the hotel and training center. Even though several other national teams are waiting in line for the mentioned base camp, HNS has the right to "buy first" or sign a contract until June this year.

"We have moved away from our activities so far, and we looked at the camps before placing in the big competition because we are not superstitious and believe in our team. This allowed us to choose one of the better hotels and camps and now we are convinced that we made the best choice. We must provide the national team with the best conditions, and that is why I am proud of the quality logistics and administration we have in the Federation. Ultimately, it is only appropriate that the World Cup finalists have one of the best camps in Doha," said the president of the Federation, Marijan Kustić.

“I have complete confidence in our logistics, from team manager Iva Olivari onwards, and as we have always had great hotels and grounds, I am sure it will be the same in Doha. Staying here was great for us to acclimatize and get acquainted with the conditions that await us at the World Cup, and it is good that we resolved the issue of the base camp in time not to think about it at the last minute. Thanks to President Kustić and the Federation's leadership for giving maximum support to the national team in all matters, including the choice of base camp," said the selector Zlatko Dalić.

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

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Croatian Football Federation Assembly Reflects on Excellent 2021

March 17, 2022 - A regular session of the Croatian Football Federation Assembly was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, chaired by HNS President Marijan Kustić.

President Kustić addressed the Assembly with a speech, as reported by HNS.

“Dear members of the Assembly, dear friends, thank you for coming to today's Assembly, where the main topic is the report on the work in 2021, which was great for the Croatian Football Federation. But I believe that the current year will be even more successful, even better, and even richer with top sports and business results. I believe that we all agree that the agreement on the sale of TV rights is a historically important step forward for Croatian football and our clubs. I want to thank Hrvatski Telekom and Supersport for their trust. I am convinced of the very successful cooperation through which we will further strengthen our First League and other competitions in terms of commercial, marketing, and PR. The agreed 44 million euros in four years will be a significant contribution to the budgets of our clubs and will ensure the further development of football in the country," said Kustić, among other things.

kustic_govor.jpeg

Drago Sopta / HNS

You can read the entire speech of the president of HNS, Marijan Kustić, here.

The President of the Verification Commission, Dubravko Galović, submitted a report in which it was established that 68 deputies were present at the session, with 11 absent.

The assembly members then adopted the report of the verification commission, the proposed agenda, and the minutes from the last session.

skupstina_HNS.jpeg

Drago Sopta / HNS

The members of the Assembly adopted the final account for 2021, which was presented by the Head of the Department of Finance and Accounting, Ružica Bajrić. Revenues of HRK 286,510,776.64 and expenditures in the amount of HRK 260,107,490.26 were realized, i.e., a surplus of revenues over expenditures of HRK 26,403,286.38. The largest revenues were generated from the following activities: revenues from the participation of the A national team in the European Championship, revenues from marketing, TV rights, tickets, and equipment. On the other hand, the biggest expenses are related to the association's activities, i.e., the organization of matches of all national teams, development and promotion, football, expenses for employees, depreciation, donations, and other expenses.

John Gašparac summarized the main points from the audit report.

"In our opinion, the financial reports fairly presented the financial position of the HNS and its financial performance, following the Law," Gašparac said.

kustic_bastari.jpeg

Drago Sopta / HNS

The General Assembly Secretary-General Siniša Krajač, Director of the Sports Directorate at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Krešimir Šamija, UEFA Hattrick Program Manager, Denis Bastari, and HNS Honorary President, Branko Mikša, increased the Assembly session.

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

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

HNS Secures EUR 44 million for Croatian Football TV and Media Rights Over Next 4 Years

February 22, 2022 - The Croatian Football Federation has secured 44 million euros for Croatian football TV and media rights over the next four competition years.

At Monday's session, the Croatian Football Federation Executive Board decided on selecting partners for television and media rights for competitions under the auspices of HNS for the next four competition years, reports the HNS website

After terminating the contract with Endorphin Magine, the HNS management held meetings with companies interested in buying TV and media rights, followed by three official offers to purchase TV rights - A1 Croatia, Hrvatski Telekom, Sportklub and AB SportConsulting. At the same time, the SuperSport offer for media rights arrived.

At the session, the HNS Executive Board considered the three received offers and chose Hrvatski Telekom, which was the most generous of 9 million euros per year. Thus, in the four years that the contract is expected to last, Hrvatski Telekom will pay 36 million euros to HNS for the associated TV rights.

In addition, the SuperSport offer for media rights of 1.5 million euros per competition year for sponsorship rights and 500,000 euros per competition year for betting rights was accepted.

In total, HNS has secured 44 million euros for television and media rights over the next four years.

"As we announced last week, we quickly found the best solution for Croatian clubs and Croatian football as a whole. Negotiations with interested companies showed great interest in Croatian club football and accepted offers from HT and SuperSport best confirm this great value.

We are glad to continue our cooperation with Hrvatski Telekom, which has been a great partner of Croatian football for many years, so we do not doubt that this cooperation will be very successful. This is an unprecedented step forward for the Federation and our clubs, and I am convinced that these 44 million euros will ensure further progress in the First League and all other competitions," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

An agreement has also been made between Hrvatski Telekom and HRT, according to which one match of each round will be broadcast on national television.

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

 

Sunday, 13 February 2022

HNS and Croatian Sports Museum Cooperating to Preserve Sports Heritage

February 13, 2022 - The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) and Croatian Sports Museum in Zagreb will work together to preserve Croatian sports heritage.

The Croatian Football Federation has decided to cooperate with the Croatian Sports Museum to bring awareness to the importance of preserving sports memories and athletes who contribute to Croatian sports heritage daily. As a result, the two organizations have concluded an Agreement on Cooperation in Preserving Sports Heritage. This agreement, which will serve as a basis for future cooperation, ensures the preservation of Croatian sports heritage in the Museum today and for all future generations, reports HNS.

With this Agreement, the Croatian Sports Museum will be richer for a part of the valuable legacy of Croatian football. With its glorious history and significant achievements, it is inscribed in golden letters in the history of Croatian sport. In this context, the Museum in the near future will be able to boast of valuable exhibitions of the Croatian Football Federation, such as historical medals of the A national team, essential publications, books, brochures, tickets, calendars, jerseys, photographs, and souvenirs.

The Croatian Sports Museum bases its activities on the educational and cohesive potentials of sports and strives to present the history and social significance of sports in Croatian society to the general public in a modern, educational, and scientifically based way.

The Croatian Sports Museum idea was born between 1952 and 1959 when the first sports and physical exercise items were collected. In 1965, the Initiative to establish a Museum of Physical Culture of Croatia was established. Ten years later, the Croatian Museum Council entered the Museum of Physical Culture of Croatia into the list of museum institutions of Croatia. However, establishing the Croatian Sports Museum was not adopted by the Croatian Government until 2003, after which the Croatian Sports Museum became a national museum.

Today, the Croatian Sports Museum is located on Illica 13 in Zagreb. Danira Nakić Bilić was named the new director of the museum in 2017.

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

Friday, 4 February 2022

Coach Zlatko Dalić Announces Possible Croatia Formation Change for 2022 World Cup

February 4, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić spoke to Nova TV after the friendly tournament in Doha was announced, saying he will experiment with a Croatia formation change, namely three players in the back. 

The Croatian Football Federation has agreed to represent the Croatia national team in a friendly tournament that will be played in Qatar in March, during which Croatia will play two matches. Namely, Croatia will play Slovenia on March 26, and Bulgaria three days later. In an interview with Nova TV, coach Zlatko Dalić commented on the national team preparations ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

"My wish was to go to Qatar, to prepare for what awaits us, what is to come in November, to get to know the climate, the terrain, and the ambiance. I am very pleased with this preparatory tour, these matches. They are not extra-quality opponents, but they are certainly good for us at the moment. We expect two really good games. We expect, of course, two wins and good play."

Dalić was asked if Croatia would try to play in a system with three players in the back. "Well, we're going to try to do something about it. We're going to have eight days now to try that. And that is in our plan."

Dalić desires to work on teamwork: "We want to spend those eight days in Qatar as one big team building event, to support each other. So far, every time we gathered, there was a lot of pressure, the imperative of a victory. This time, it is also imperative to win, but it will be a little more relaxed and supportive. We want these new players, and there are several of them, to get better acquainted with the national team and to create a new community."

Recall, the matches will be played at the stadiums in Doha, where the FIFA World Cup will be played. The exact timetables and stadiums will be defined later, and HNS will inform fans promptly about ticket sales. 

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

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