Sunday, 29 August 2021

Luka Modrić to Miss Croatia's Russia and Slovakia Qualifiers, Lovro Majer Called Up

August 29, 2021 - Croatia captain Luka Modrić will miss Croatia's Russia and Slovakia qualifiers next week, but could still join the team in Split before the Slovenia match on September 7 at Poljud. 

The Croatia national team captain and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modrić, will not come to the Croatia national team gathering on Monday, August 30, reports HNS.

Due to an adductor injury, Modrić missed last week's La Liga league match against Levante and was in recovery treatment during the week. In consultation with the medical services of Real Madrid and the Croatia national team, it was established that Modrić cannot compete in the qualifying matches against Russia on September 1 and Slovakia on September 4. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Modrić agreed that therefore, Modrić will not come to the national team gathering in Moscow on August 30, and left open the possibility for the captain to join his teammates in Split for the match against Slovenia (September 7), if Modrić gets the green light from his doctor that he is ready to return to the pitch. 

After it was decided that Modrić would not compete in the qualifying matches, coach Zlatko Dalić decided to call up Lovro Majer.

The 23-year-old offensive midfielder signed a contract for Rennes this week, after playing his 100th game in the Dinamo Zagreb jersey against Sheriff. Majer was a regular member of the Croatia national youth team, and in 2017 he made his debut for the A national team in a friendly match against Mexico in Los Angeles.

However, Majer shouldn't be looked at as Luka's replacement. It is likely that Dalić will use Mario Pašalić or Nikola Vlašić to play with Mateo Kovačić and Marcelo Brozović. 

The 2018 World Cup finalists gather on Monday, August 30, and during this busy September week, they will play against Russia (September 1 in Moscow) and Slovakia (September 4 in Bratislava) and at home against Slovenia (September 7 in Split).

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Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Ticket Prices Announced for Croatia and Slovenia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud

August 25, 2021 - Ticket prices for the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Croatia and Slovenia have been announced by HNS. However, the National Civil Protection Headquarters still needs to determine if spectators will be allowed, with a decision set for September 1. Croatia and Slovenia are due to meet on September 7 at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

The 2nd session of the Croatian Football Federation Executive Board was held in Zabok in the Gjalski Castle, hosted by the Krapina-Zagorje County Football Federation, announced HNS on Wednesday.

The HNS Executive Board has determined the ticket prices for the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Croatia and Slovenia (September 7 at 20:45), which will be held in the presence of spectators if permitted by measures to be announced by the National Civil Protection Headquarters on September 1.

The following prices have been determined:
West middle: 200 kn presale / 250 kn on the day of the match
West: 150 kn presale / 200 kn on the day of the match
East center: 120 kn presale / 150 kn on the day of the match
East: 100 kn presale / 120 kn on the day of the match
North: 80 kn presale / 100 kn on the day of the match
South: 80 kn presale / 100 kn on the day of the match

Information on ticket sales will be published after the Headquarters decide if the match will be played in front of an audience.

The Executive Board also adopted all the materials needed to hold the women's football competition - calendar, leadership, and competition propositions for the 1st HNLŽ, 2nd HNLŽ, 1st HNL pioneers, HNKŽ, and women's youth at the center level, as well as the list of refs for these competitions. 

The IO appointed the presidents of the HNS commissions and adopted the list of delegates for the 3rd HNL.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Three Croatian Diaspora Footballers to Wear U21 Croatia Shirt

August 24, 2021 - Three Croatian diaspora footballers will join Igor Bišćan's U21 Croatia squad for the new qualification cycle. 

U21 Croatia coach Igor Bišćan has selected players for the new qualification cycle, which includes three footballers born and raised abroad - Luka Sučić, Josip Stanišić, and Marco Pašalić, announced HNS.

Red Bull Salzburg's offensive midfielder, Luka Sučić, already has 17 appearances for the young Croatia national team and was among the candidates for the U21 national team before the European Championship final, which he missed due to injury. Sučić played for the U15 Croatia national team for the first time in a friendly match against Austria, where he was born and raised.

"It is a special feeling to wear a jersey with red and white checks, and I am looking forward to continuing to represent Croatia," said Sučić, who is currently on the call-up list for the A national team coach with coach Zlatko Dalić.

Defender Josip Stanišić was born on April 2, 2000, in Munich, where he played for the first team of the Bavarian giants Bayern this season. He played for the German U19 national team in two friendly matches but chose to play for his parents' country:

"I am pleased to be invited to the U21 Croatia national team. I am honored to be able to wear the Croatia jersey," Stanišić said.

Borussia Dortmund striker Marco Pašalić also attracted the attention of the Croatian public this summer. Pašalić was born on September 14, 2000, in Karlsruhe, and so far, he has played in two friendly matches for the U17 Croatia national team.

"I can't describe how proud I am to play for the Croatia national team because I was raised from a young age that Croatia is my homeland. I am looking forward to the first gathering with the young national team, and it is up to all of us to prove ourselves with good games and dedicated work, first for coach Bišćan, and then potentially for coach Dalić," said Pašalić.

The talented trio from the diaspora confirms the quality work of the Croatian Football Federation, said the president of the HNS, Marijan Kustić:

"We are aware that there is great potential in the diaspora, and young men like Sučić, Stanišić, and Pašalić show with their decisions to play for Croatia how strong the commitment of our families abroad is to the Croatia national team. Furthermore, by bringing Stipe Pletikosa as the technical director of the A and U21 national teams, we wanted to strengthen this segment of operations further because we are a small country, and we must successfully find every talent in Croatia or abroad."

The newly appointed technical director of the A and U21 national team, Stipe Pletikosa, has already held talks with Sučić and Stanišić, and this week he will also meet with Pašalić:

"I am extremely pleased that Sučić, Stanišić, and Pašalić have chosen to represent Croatia. We have a responsibility to develop our scout network further and nurture quality communication with guys who are potential for Croatia national teams, and organize as many activities as we can see them up close, such as the Memorial of Croatian Veterans in Vukovar. "

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

New HNS President Marijan Kustić Holds Meeting with Dalić, Pletikosa, and Assistants

August 4, 2021 - The newly elected HNS president Marijan Kustić held a meeting with the head coach of the national team, Zlatko Dalić, and the new technical director to discuss the upcoming September 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 

A working meeting of the newly elected HNS president Marijan Kustić with the Croatia national team coach, Zlatko Dalić, technical director of the A and U-21 national team, Stipe Pletikosa, Dalić's assistants Vedran Ćorluka and Ivica Olić, and team manager Iva Olivari was held at the Croatian Football Federation, reports HNS.

After the official meeting with technical director Stipe Pletikosa, the main topics of conversation were the upcoming September activities of the A national team, which is expected to continue the qualifying cycle for the World Cup in Qatar with important matches against Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

"Once again, I congratulate Stipe on his new position; he has our full support, just like the national team before the important September matches. The Croatian Football Federation will, as always, provide the national team with maximum conditions, and I am convinced that the team will also provide the maximum on the field and do everything to be even one step closer to Qatar," said the new president of HNS, Marijan Kustić.

"It is a great honor and pleasure to be part of the Croatian A national team again. I thank the leaders of HNS led by Marijan Kustić for their trust; I will try to help the team maintain high standards with my knowledge and experience. I am looking forward to new challenges, cooperation with coaches Zlatko Dalić and Igor Bišćan; I believe that together we will achieve the set goals," said Stipe Pletikosa.

The Croatia national team continues its qualifications for the 2022 World Cup by visiting Russia on September 1. Croatia will visit Slovakia three days later, and the September mini-cycle will end on September 7 in Split against Slovenia.

After three rounds, Croatia leads in Group H with six points, as does Russia. Slovakia has five, Cyprus four, Slovenia three, and Malta one point.

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Thursday, 29 July 2021

It's Official: Davor Šuker No Longer Croatian Football Federation President!

July 29, 2021 - After nine years, the Croatian Football Federation Assembly unanimously removed President Davor Šuker. The new Croatian Football Federation president is Marijan Kustić.

The election of a new president, who was elected publicly and unanimously, was a formality because the former first HNS operative Kustić received support from all county unions and the City of Zagreb before the election session of the HNS Assembly and was the only candidate. It became clear that Šuker had no prospects for a new term when the Zagreb Football Association prevented him from doing so.

"This is a big and emotional thing for me. Thank you for your support, I will do my best to justify the trust. For me, it is a great encouragement to be the president who for the first time received the unanimous support of all county unions. We are all football and we are moving forward," said Kustić after the election, who also introduced his closest associates.

In his farewell speech, Šuker said he must thank those who brought him and worked with him, but did not mention Mamić, Kustić or any other member of the HNS government.

"I gave my character and work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to Croatian football. With my knowledge, I wanted to make HNS the most successful sports organization and a successful brand and I think I succeeded. I didn't do it myself and I thank everyone with I am proud of the silver medal in Russia, the greatest success in history. I am glad that as a player and president I was part of the greatest success in the history of Croatian football, and the national team under my leadership qualified for all four major competitions. The young national team achieved the greatest success, we built new pitches and improved the status of futsal and women's football. We helped Croatia after the earthquake, we overcame the pandemic. I contributed as a member of Uefa that many of our people enter the structures of the umbrella organization and I will continue to do so. I will work always in the interest of Croatian football. I have been and will remain loyal to Croatian football with all my being. See you in September in Moscow at the match against Russia," said Šuker.

The first vice president will be Ante Vučemilović Šimunović, and the other vice presidents are Mario Smodlaka, Damir Mišković, Nenad Črnko and Slavko Prišćan.

The new executive director of the football organization is Tomislav Svetina, and Stipe Pletikosa is the technical director of the A and U21 national teams.

After the session, former President Šuker invited members of the Assembly to a joint lunch, and members of the new Executive Board remained in the hall with Kustić.

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Russia to Meet at Poljud in November

July 20, 2021 - Croatia and Russia will meet at Poljud Stadium in Split to close out the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Group H. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has registered Poljud Stadium as the host of the Croatia and Russia match as part of the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, reports HNS.

Croatia and Russia have played four times so far, with Croatia recording two wins and two draws. Recall, Croatia and Russia most recently met in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup at Fisht Stadium in Sochi. The match finished 1:1 thanks to a goal by Kramarić before going into extra time when Vida scored for the 2:1 lead. Fernandes equalized in the final minutes, forcing to game to penalties. Rakitić scored the winning penalty, advancing Croatia to the semifinal match against England. 

Split will host two Croatia national team matches this fall - on September 7, Croatia will host Slovenia on Poljud (20:45), and the competition in Group H will end on November 14 at 15:00 against Russia. In other news, the 2018 World Cup finalists will host Slovakia on October 11 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek.

After the introductory three rounds in March, the Croatia national team leads in Group H with six points, the same number of points as Russia, while Slovakia is one point behind. Croatia is expected to play against Russia (September 1) and Slovakia (September 4) in September, and the three-match program will end in Split against Slovenia.

The 10 first-placed national teams in their groups will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the second-placed national teams will compete in the playoffs in March 2022. The 2022 World Cup will be held in an untraditional term, from 21 November – 18 December 2022. 

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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 Index.hr

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.

 

Candidates

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)

Source: Gol.hr

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