Monday, 30 May 2022

Croatia Nations League Gathering: Perišić Out, Musa and Livaja Questionable

May 30, 2022 - The Croatia Nations League gathering is held today before the Vatreni plays their first match against Austria in Osijek on June 3. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the first Nations League match against Austria, which will be played on June 3 in Osijek, reports Gol.hr and Index.hr.

It will be great preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which awaits us at the end of this year. After Austria at City Garden Stadium, Croatia will go to Poljud against France, which should come with its biggest stars.

Four days later, on June 10, Croatia will play against Denmark away, and on June 13, Croatia will head to Paris to meet France in the return match.

It is already known that Ivan Perišić will not compete in this June Nations League campaign due to injury. Still, two other players are in question - Petar Musa and Marko Livaja.

"Unfortunately, Perišić dropped out. He may have been in the best shape of all the players, but now the most important thing is recovering and being ready for the World Cup. Petar Musa, who is ill, will probably drop out, but Marko Livaja is also sick. That is why we invited Luka Ivanušec. I am incredibly sorry for Musa, who was supposed to be with us for the first time today.

Many have had good seasons, but it's six months until the World Cup. Our quality is unquestionable because we have the backbone of the older players. The younger ones are also coming. For Musa, this was supposed to be a good test. I hope that during the summer, those who have problems in their clubs will solve them to be even better. I don’t have any bad insights about last year. A lot of good things have been done."

Dalić says he wants to test all the players in four Nations League matches but that the result is very much the priority.

"We want to be good, competitive. Try all the players we invited, but the result is important. It will be a problem that the boys have been on vacation for seven or eight days, but everyone is like that. We will play in our system 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. We are going for the victory in every match," said Dalić.

And what about Modrić?

"Luka Modrić is coming tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. After everything he has done, he will compete in Osijek and Paris, i.e., all four matches. We need him to be in good health. We will see how much and how he will play in Osijek. After training, we'll see whether we need to call anyone else."

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

Saturday, 28 May 2022

HNS President Comments on Fan Safety Meeting in Croatia: "Fans Supported, Hooligans Condemned"

May 28, 2022 - A fan safety meeting in Croatia was held between HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo on Friday after the clash between Torcida and the police last weekend. HNS president Marijan Kustić weighs in on the progress made. 

The recent riots on the A1 motorway near the Desinec rest area resulted in dozens of injured fans and police officers, while four fans suffered gunshot wounds. More than 40 people are currently in pre-trial detention. The Croatian Football Federation invited representatives of Hajuk, Dinamo, but also the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday

The goal of the meeting was to find a way to avoid this scenario from happening again. The incident is considered the worst conflict between police and fans since Croatia's independence. RTL's Andrija Jarak spoke exclusively about the conclusions of the meeting with the head of the Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

Kustić said that he was happy with the direction in which the conversation was going.

"We all agreed on some things unanimously that we have to do in the future. What is very important is that we agreed that we all have to respect the regulations that exist regarding the protocol, and that the Federation and the Police Directorate will sign an agreement where operational meetings will be held before high-risk matches before the protocol is respected and clubs definitely have an obligation to communicate with fans.

We will also send a letter to the fans or involve the fans in the meeting to express an opinion on some things that they think should be fixed. We must all do everything together to ensure the safety of the fans. It is in our interest to bring it to the highest level," said Kustić.

When asked if this means that the duty and obligations between the Federation, the police, and the organizers will be divided, Kustić answered in the affirmative.

"We all agreed on that. We all have to respect the regulations, they are the same for everyone, and the protocol is known. We will work on some things soon and I am definitely glad that we agreed on those things," he said.

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

Friday, 27 May 2022

Fan Safety in Croatia: HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo Reach Three Conclusions

May 27, 2022 - Fan safety in Croatia was discussed at the Croatian Football Federation between HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo. 

A meeting of Croatian Football Federation representatives was held today on the Croatian Football Federation premises, led by President Marijan Kustić, Police Directorates headed by Chief of Police Nikola Milin, and GNK Dinamo and HNK Hajduk, led by Presidents Vlatka Peras and Lukša Jakobušić. The meeting was held on the topic of security and the organization of football matches, reports HNS.

In a constructive atmosphere and after exchanging views, the following conclusions were reached:

1. All stakeholders in football matches are invited to comply with safety regulations at sports competitions.

2. An agreement will be concluded between the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Football Federation on implementing measures at high-risk matches and matches where a larger number of visiting fans is expected. In doing so, existing good practices from domestic and international matches will be taken into account. The agreement will be drawn up until the beginning of the new competition year, i.e., the Super Cup match.

3. Fan clubs will be invited to get involved in drafting the said agreement by giving their suggestions and pointing out the problems identified.

It was also agreed that representatives of the Federation, clubs, and the police would constantly communicate regarding the preparation and conduct of football competitions.

"I must emphasize that the term 'freedom to the fans' does not refer to those fans who in any way cause riots, who in any way participate in dishonorable acts and there are institutions for that. This refers to those unjustly detained and I hope that will be determined in the end. We are a fan club, not only do we have an obligation, but we stand firmly behind them. That is why we responded to this meeting," said Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić after the meeting with HNS, Dinamo, and police representatives.

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

Friday, 27 May 2022

Croatia and Saudi Arabia Friendly Scheduled Ahead of 2022 World Cup

May 27, 2022 - Croatia and Saudi Arabia will play a friendly match on November 16 in Riyadh ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on November 16, 2022, reports HNS.

This will be the last test for Croatia before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the 49th national team in the world based on the FIFA rankings, and will also play at the World Cup, in Group C with Argentina, Mexico, and Poland.

"We are pleased about this agreement with Saudi Arabia, which will be a good last test for the Vatreni before the World Cup. Thus, we fulfilled the wish of the coach and our staff to play a match near Qatar for acclimatization. From the organizational point of view, HNS will, as always, provide maximum support to the national team before and during the World Cup, which the 2018 World Cup finalists deserve. I believe that with the quality and togetherness, which the Croatia national team certainly has, we will once again have reason to rejoice with the Vatreni," said the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"Given the unusually short preparations for the World Cup, we wanted to be in the Middle East from the first day of the gathering to acclimatize as soon as possible to the conditions that await us in Qatar and therefore see this meeting in Riyadh as an ideal stop for the final test before the World Cup. Saudi Arabia is a regular participant in the World Cup, one of the best teams in Asia, and we will be tested against a non-European team, which we rarely play against, and which will certainly be motivated against the World Cup finalists," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić.

"We are thrilled that we will play the last preparatory match before the World Cup against the current World Cup finalists. We want to get the most out of this game in technical and tactical terms. It will be a big test for our players before the first game at the World Cup in Qatar," said the coach of Saudi Arabia, Herve Renard.

The national team will gather on November 14, and after the match against Saudi Arabia on November 18, they will stay at their camp in Doha.

As a reminder, Croatia will open the World Cup in Qatar on November 23 at 11 am at the Al Bayt Stadium against Morocco. The second match will be played on November 27 at 5 pm at the Khalifa International Stadium against Canada. The third is on December 1 at 4 pm at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium against Belgium.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Hajduk, Dinamo, HNS Official Statements after Torcida Motorway Clash with Police

May 24, 2022 - TCN brings the official statements of the Croatian police, Torcida, GNK Dinamo, HNK Hajduk, and HNS after the Torcida motorway clash with police on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, Dinamo Zagreb beat Hajduk 3:1 in the final match of the season. Dinamo celebrated the Croatian championship title in front of their fans at Maksimimr Stadium, as Hajduk fan group Torcida remained outside protesting a new Dinamo banner rule. Later that evening, Torcida and police clashed at the Desinec rest area along the Zagreb-Split motorway. As a result, four men sustained shotgun wounds, and 35 people were injured. Forty-two people remain in investigative custody. 

TCN brings you the official statements from each organization. 

The Croatian Police were the first to comment on the incident on Sunday (Source: HRT)

The Deputy Director-General of the General Police Security Damir Barić, the Head of the Public Order and Security Sector of the Zagreb Police Administration Davor Posilović, and the Deputy County State's Attorney in Velika Gorica Dražen Diklić spoke. They were accompanied by the Commander of the Special and Intervention Police Unit, Mario Bencek, the Head of the Organized Crime Processing Department, Midhad Arifović, and the Head of the Reporting Analytics and Public Relations Department, Marija Goatti.

"I would like to emphasize a few important facts directly related to the events at the Desinec station. Public order and peace were disturbed to a greater extent, and the police acted accordingly. As everyone knows, the Dinamo-Hajduk match was played last night. It is a high-risk event for us, and we take it seriously. We have experienced employees with extensive experience in securing such matches. The security was managed by the Chief of the Police Administration himself, so this is the highest possible level. We consider the implementation plan to be very good, and a sufficient number of police officers have been engaged. The proof is that the whole season with a series of high-risk matches was done without incidents," said Damir Barić on Sunday.

"We notice from the media that the fact that fans couldn't bring banners into the stadium is stated as a potential cause of the events in Desinac. Four days ago, the match organizer informed the fans about the entry procedure with banners. Before the game, it was necessary to bring a banner for inspection, but Hajduk fans turned a deaf ear to it and wanted to enter the stadium directly. The police are there only in the role of securing and enforcing the organizers' decisions, so it has nothing to do with the police. After the banners were not allowed in, all Hajduk fans stayed out of the stadium and, at one point, expressed a desire to go to Split. We organized a caravan. The entire route to Split was secured," he added.

"There was no indication that something like this would happen, but at one point, the fans blocked all three traffic lanes and launched an attack on police officers. Colleagues were outnumbered; there were 16 police officers and several hundred perpetrators. The attack was aggressive, using various objects, such as batons, bottles, stones, chains, fire extinguishers, and everything they found in the gas station area. When they did not calm down on the orders, the police fired several shots to call for help and as a warning to stop the attack. The fans then stopped at one point, and other forces managed to come and work on establishing public order. Several fans were involved in the attacks, but several police officers also acted differently. We are working intensively on establishing all the facts, there are many activities, and it takes time to process all the events and information. I want to emphasize various articles in the media, such as those that "Mamić's police acted last night." We find this extremely offensive, especially when we have about 20 injured employees. Last night, the police did their job to protect public order and peace and protect the lives of all. The attack was also carried out with flares, and you know what an open flame at a gas station means; imagine that there was a fire and an explosion at a gas station. The most important thing was the danger for everyone in the area," concluded the Deputy Chief of Police for General Security Barić.

Chief of the Zagreb Police Administration Marko Rašić added:

"There was nothing to indicate that something like this would happen. Until this incident, everything was in the best order; we detained about 20 people. Four police officers used firearms, three fired only into the air, and one fired 11 shots into the concrete surface. Two fans were injured after the bullets bounced off the concrete. After that, the police wanted to help the attacked colleagues, but the fans also stopped them, so they were forced to shoot. One police officer fired two bullets into the air to help colleagues surrounded at the gas station, where fans had already managed to insert a flammable torch into their vehicle. The situation was such that it was good that the police officers were not set on fire in the official vehicle. After that, help arrived, and public order and peace were established; the fans were restrained. Some fans crossed the lane that goes from the south, where the Zadar Police Department officers pushed them not to endanger their own lives and the lives of others.

Firearms injured two fans, one had severe injuries in the shin, and the other was only bruised and had minor injuries. We have information that another fan with a broken foot called us in Split today; as far as we know, he was treated and not kept for treatment, so I guess it is a minor injury. We also received information that another fan contacted the doctors; it could also be a gunshot wound, so all four of them probably have gunshot wounds. A total of 35 people were injured. The investigation ended after 11 am; more than 100 cases were processed, and further expertise will follow. So far, 43 fans have been detained, and a criminal investigation is underway; there is a suspicion that they committed the act of causing riots," said Rašić.

Torcrida came out with an official response a few hours later (Source: Torcida Split Facebook)

Hajduk's 'Torcida Split' fan club demands that Croatian state institutions carefully investigate and sanction several illegal, inhumane, and tactless actions by the Dinamo Football Club leadership and members of the Croatian police, which led to an incident in which - for the first time in history - several citizens were injured by gunshots. We warn that this case is an escalation of many years of violence and torture to which fans have been exposed for many years, very often thanks to the conspiracy of corrupt members or associates of the convicted criminal organization in football and close personnel from police structures, as well as persons from this system who at least unknowingly assist them.

Hajduk 'Torcida Split' fan club reminds us on this occasion that:

- Croatian police are obliged to secure football matches and not to 'assist their organizers' in enforcing illegal, arbitrary, and absurd restrictions when fans enter the stadium,
- Croatian police are obliged to monitor the implementation of the law, which, among other things, prescribes the obligation to match organizers to ensure the expected arrival of fans at the stadium on time,
- the Croatian police are obliged to ensure freedom of movement and freedom of expression of the opinions of Croatian citizens, as well as their dignity, and not to suppress them by their actions. Food and water and the basic physiological needs are the minimum unless the Croatian police believe that fans, for some reason, do not have the right to do so,
- the Croatian police are obliged to protect the citizens of Croatia, not to shoot at them, beat everything that shows signs of life, indiscriminately harass with tear gas, and destroy their vehicles with batons. They are obliged and paid to behave according to the law, not like a gang.

Instead, the joint action of the Zagreb Police Administration and Dinamo Administration prevented us from coming to the match yesterday. It is absurd to comment on the demands of the Dinamo management regarding the introduction of banners in the south stand of Maksimir Stadium. Still, for the sake of the public, we will present only some of their pearls. For example, the Dinamo management required that all banners measuring more than 100x200 cm not only had to be registered 48 hours before the match but also had to be brought to the stadium before it officially opened and placed on the podium (where I guess the Maksimir guards should keep them until we enter the stadium, somewhere at the end of the first half).

Furthermore, although the Zagreb Police Department is washing its hands of responsibility in this case, the time of arrival at Maksimir Stadium depends exclusively on the assessment and actions of the police who provide the route by which visiting fans are transported to the stadium and decides when that column of fans will leave under police escort from the toll booths in Lučko. It does not depend on Torcida when they come to the visiting tribune of Maksimir Stadium but on the police. By its actions, the Zagreb Police Department only gave the Dinamo management a reason to justify why it forbids us to bring banners and other fan props to the stadium, acting in this case as an extended arm of the Dinamo management. Since the Dinamo management is controlled from Medjugorje, it is evident in what rhythm the Zagreb Police Department is dancing.

After all, we saw the same scenario years earlier, when the same club created illegal and completely unfounded 'blacklists' of fans who were prevented from accessing the stadium, in which police officers also assisted them on Zdravko Mamić's official and unofficial payroll.

After refusing to enter the stadium in their rhythm and according to their rules, every entrance to the gas station on the highway was blocked by the police. No one from the police considered it necessary to give information when they would allow us to stop at a gas station or rest area. Although the whole day, according to the police, was fair and without incidents, instead of talking to the fans, the police chose bans, and water, food, and drink for more than a thousand and a half of them was to be provided upon arrival in Split, I guess. As if it was not enough to keep them hungry, thirsty, and without basic human and hygienic conditions for more than five hours.

They reacted to the justified revolt with violence and the use of firearms in a way that the competent institutions are obliged to announce.

The random shooting and firing of dozens of bullets at Croatian citizens who had previously been denied fundamental human rights and dignity is an unprecedented example of abuse of the police system and the culmination of the repression to which Hajduk fans have been subjected for years. So far, we have naively believed that at least they do not want to kill us physically. Unconvincing and bizarre explanations about the fans who landed at the gas station out of pure peace and the bullets that 'bounced off the floor' probably speak for themselves. It is only necessary to re-listen to the deceptions and miserable attempts to camouflage at today's police press conference. And hear a notorious lie even when it comes to basic, easily verifiable data. For example, none of the shot citizens were injured at the famous gas station but among a column of cars stopped on the highway.

It should be said that even after the situation calmed down, the treatment of fans did not change at all: on the contrary, with the arrival of police reinforcements, indiscriminate and random beatings of fans and all citizens who happened to be nearby, pulling them out of vehicles in the rain and throwing them on the floor, unreasonably destroying vehicles, tear gas terror and mass, unfounded arrests. Dozens of entirely innocent citizens were injured in this arrogant demonstration of force, many with broken arms, legs, and heads, and few dared even to report the injury. To whom, after all? And what would he get besides apprehension and reporting, perhaps a promise that the police would forgive them for beating them?

There are no official reports, recordings, or witnesses about all this, nor have we heard explanations from police chiefs, nor - instructed by previous experiences - do we expect investigations and sanctions of those responsible for grossly exceeding the authority of police officers. However, the Hajduk Fans Club 'Torcida Split' will never accept the attempt to limit the human rights of its members, Hajduk fans, and all Croatian citizens.

Every blow strengthens us!

Dinamo didn't wait long to make a statement after Toricda... (Source: GNK Dinamo website)

After witnessing the violence that took place last night on the A1 motorway, which Hajduk fans justify with alleged unreasonable decisions by Dinamo, we want to explain why HNK Hajduk fans did not want to enter the Dinamo - Hajduk derby match played on May 21, 2022, at Maksimir.

We signed an agreement with HNK Hajduk on the sale of tickets for our match, according to which Hajduk was to distribute 2,000 tickets for the Maksimir Stadium south stands. According to the contract, Hajduk had to submit a list of fans to whom they sold tickets 24 hours before the start of the match. They submitted that list on the day of the game - Saturday morning. There were 1397 people on the list who were sold tickets.

Furthermore, instructed by taking advantage of our hospitality in December 2021 when a choreography of one look was announced, and then after entering the stands another choreography was performed that emphasized hatred towards our club, we made instructions for visiting fans explaining everything - from general information about the opening hours of the stadium to specific information regarding the review and introduction of banners on the podium. We emphasize that the complete lie is that the introduction of banners is prohibited; there are only specific rules according to which banners can be brought into the stadium. They were indeed told when they should come to the entrance, how they should report the banners, what time, to which official e-mail address they should contact, and the like. Considering that it is below the level of official Dinamo communication to communicate with the Hajduk fan group, we sent all the instructions by e-mail on 18/05/2022 to our colleagues at HNK Hajduk. Since nothing was delivered to the e-mail until Friday, 20/05/2022, we again invited our Hajduk colleagues in writing to help influence their fans to provide us with everything we asked for. Again nothing happened, nor did they contact us. An hour and a half before the start of the match, HNK Hajduk sent an invitation to the GNK Dinamo security commissioner, during which he was informed that Torcida had not reported any of the banners and that they were bringing larger banners, drums, and other fan props. At that moment, they received an answer from us that they would not be allowed to enter the fan props because they did not report them according to the instructions. At the entrance to the south stands, the Dinamo representative spoke with Torcida's lawyer, who did not introduce himself in person and who told him orally that Dinamo was right in this decision. Arriving at the stadium entrance, fans who had tickets were invited to enter the stadium without unregistered banners, but they refused. After a while, they peacefully left the area in front of Maksimir Stadium. 

We remind the public that the same play was performed in 2014 when Hajduk players refused to play a match against Dinamo because we did not want to sell tickets to high-risk Hajduk fans, according to criteria established by the police, following the Law on Prevention of Disorders at Sports Competitions. Unfortunately, less than six months later, Hajduk sold tickets to their fans according to these criteria, which is why they did not play the game at Maksimir, and they still do today.

After taking advantage of our correctness in December 2021, attacking a bus with our players, and a convoy with our fans in March 2022, it was time to say ENOUGH - enough of the violence Torcida carries out in its actions. You can do it all over Croatia - Koprivnica, Osijek, Rijeka, or Šibenik, but in Zagreb and at Maksimir Stadium, you will not. Follow the rules or watch the match from Borongaj. It's all the same to us. 

And so did Hajduk on Sunday evening (Source Gol.hr)

HNK Hajduk condemns all violence. After last night's unfortunate events and scenes in which several people were injured in a clash between fans and the police, we call on everyone in Croatian football for reason, dignity, and peace.

We are sorry to have been deprived yesterday of the energy and support our fans have given us throughout the season. Still, we understand that this is the culmination of all the discriminatory decisions that have been going to the detriment of our fans in away games for years.

We believe that the real problems and causes that led to the unwanted consequences and almost to the tragic outcome must be clearly detected. Hajduk is ready to help all social actors who want a real solution to this problem.

On Thursday, Poljud will be the big sports stage and the final gathering of the exciting season with the Croatian Football Cup final. We invite everyone to join us in Split and that we all enjoy the spectacle and emotions that only Hajduk and Poljud can offer.

From now on, we are entirely focused on preparing for the final, and just like the entire Croatian public, we are waiting for answers.

HNS finally made a statement on Tuesday (Source: HNS website)

The Croatian Football Federation strongly condemns all forms of violence, in and out of stadiums. A responsible organization will continue to systematically and resolutely carry out activities to eradicate any inappropriate behavior from football.

We are saddened by the incident on Saturday on the A1 motorway near the "Desinec" rest area during the caravan of HNK Hajduk fans from Zagreb to Split. The Croatian Football Federation wishes all the wounded and injured, including 20 police officers, a successful and complete recovery.

As the incident took place far from the football stadium, i.e., outside the jurisdiction of the Federation, HNS did not have all the information in addition to that published in the media, which is why it was in no hurry to appear in public.

However, HNS has been actively participating in the entire process since Saturday night and is in direct contact with HNK Hajduk, GNK Dinamo, and the Croatian Police Directorate. HNS calls all parties involved to open and constructive cooperation to calm tensions.

To that end, the Federation invited the leaders of Hajduk and Dinamo and representatives of the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday, May 27, at the HNS headquarters. The Federation will be an active partner to clubs and the Croatian Police in creating an atmosphere of dialogue, which we see as the best way to solve all existing challenges.

The efforts of HNS so far have resulted in a significant reduction in inappropriate and punishable behavior of fans in the Croatia national team matches, and a positive trend was visible in the just-concluded HT First League season. Therefore, we are convinced that the upcoming football matches - the Cup final and the Croatia national team matches against Austria and France - will be in a positive atmosphere as we have witnessed in recent years.

The Federation will continue to act proactively - by organizing security conferences, the work of the Security Commission, and programs to prevent fan violence. All HNS activities have a common desire for open communication - with clubs, the police, the judiciary, the media, and fan groups. Only by working together, with responsibility for our words and deeds, can we encourage the positive changes that the entire Croatian society expects from us.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović also commented on Tuesday (Source: HINA)

"Stadiums have to be a venue for entertainment, enjoyment, and peace, which is played according to the rules defined by politics. It's not the police in Great Britain that brought the peace but Thatcher and her cabinet. That is far too much pressure for the police.

When the government makes that decision, when it takes a pill for courage, then Torcida and BBB and the others (football fans) will act differently and with respect. That's where we have to start from," said Milanović and added that the government would have his full support in that regard.

"It is unbelievable to me that it came to the situation that the police used firearms. There is an entire range of 'riot control' means that suppresses that behavior - rubber bullets. To shoot from a revolver at people regardless of how many people were involved and how wrong they were. Who planned that? That's unthinkable. Those people could have been dead. This is a problem for the government.

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

Monday, 16 May 2022

Four New Faces on Latest Croatia Nations League Player List

May 16, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić announced the Croatia Nations League player list at a press conference today ahead of the national team gathering at the end of the month. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić announced the list of players for the upcoming UEFA Nations League matches today. The Croatia A national team will play four games at the beginning of June in this competition. 

It all begins in Osijek on June 3 against Austria, followed by another home game against France in Split on June 6.

Croatia then travels to two away games, first to Copenhagen on June 10 against Denmark and then to France for a replay of the World Cup final on June 13.

Dalić invited four debutants to the upcoming gathering: Nediljko Labrovic, Josip Šutalo, Martin Erlić, and Petar Musa, and two call ups - Filip Krovinović and Mario Vušković.

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Šime Vrsaljko, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Marin Pongračić, Josip Stanišić, Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakić, Luka Sučić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Mislav Oršić, Marko Livaja, Ante Budimir, Petar Musa

Callups: Luka Ivanušec, Mario Vušković, Nikola Moro, Ivo Grbić, Mile Škorić, Filip Krovinović

"Congratulations first to Dinamo on becoming Croatian champion. We have four games ahead of us in which we need to achieve our goal in the Nations League. It’s inconvenient because it’s the end of the season, the guys will come after seven, eight days off and there are four games, which is a lot. That is why we have expanded the list and I will have to calculate that," Dalić began and added:

"As always, we will go for all the victories, that is our goal and desire. We need to focus on Austria and France at home, but difficult Denmark in Copenhagen and France in Paris await us. There won't be a lot of calculations. Modrić, Perišić, Gvardiol, or Brozović cannot play all four games; we will see how they will feel. It is inconvenient that the players are on vacation for seven days, so when we gather, there is a danger of injuries and all that.

We will not be able to put together the most ideal lineup, and already in the first game, we have to put in the strongest forces and try to win because it is the most important. Later we will see. Depending on the young team finishing qualifications, some of their players will join us." 

The national team gathers on May 30 in Zagreb and will stay in the capital until June 2 before traveling to Osijek.

Tickets for all matches go on sale today at noon! You can find more information here.

Source: HNS

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Croatia is 8th Largest Exporter of Footballers in the World!

May 10, 2022 - Croatia is the 8th largest exporter of footballers in the world!

Namely, 400 football players from Croatia play abroad in 135 professional leagues worldwide. According to those statistics, Croatia is the eighth largest exporter of footballers in the world, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

One of the few Croatian industries that are very competitive globally is football. Even though there are less than 4 million inhabitants, hardly any adequate infrastructure, stadiums, or pitches, coaches in the younger categories are often underpaid, and laws do not adequately support investments in sports, Croatia is a real football miracle - especially when you factor in it was the 2018 World Cup finalist. 

Croatia is at the top of the world in producing and exporting quality footballers and is the fifth largest European exporter. A recent study by CIES, the International Institute for Sports Studies in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, analyzed the 80 football federations with the most significant number of players abroad in 135 world leagues. The five years from 1 May 2017 to 1 May 2022 were analyzed. That last date was taken as a reference, while this research was done five years earlier for the first time. The study included 135 world professional leagues (83 from Europe, 20 from Asia, 18 from South America, 10 from North and Central America, and 4 from Africa), or 2198 clubs.

As expected, the most footballers playing outside, in these leagues, on May 1 this year were Brazilians (1219). It is no surprise that the current world champion France follows (978). The world’s third-largest exporter of footballers is also predictably Argentina (815). Brazilians and Argentines are the most famous representatives of South American football and have long been known as class players. It isn't easy to find a league in which they are not strongly represented. England (525) is on the list of a vast number of footballers who play in other leagues in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Germany (441) has a significant number of players of Turkish origin who were born and live in Germany but play abroad, even in the homeland of their parents and ancestors. The highest percentage of foreign players from one country is Belgians in the Netherlands (29.6 percent).

On average, teams had 6.3 foreign footballers (22 percent). As far as Croatia is concerned, this is an increase of 25 percent compared to the identical analysis made five years earlier, on May 1, 2017, or an increase of 81 footballers. Five years ago, 319 football players from Croatia were in the mentioned leagues.

In addition to quality, Croatia has also shown incredible quantity, given that according to the latest census, it has only 3.88 million inhabitants. For comparison, the world's largest exporter of football players, Brazil, has 212 million inhabitants, France 65 million, Argentina 45 million, England 56 million, Germany 83 million, Colombia 50 million, and Spain 46 million. Behind Croatia are the great football nations such as the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium.

The favorite destination of Croatian footballers abroad is Slovenia, with 102 Croatian footballers. The next leading destination is the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 49 players. 

Top 10 largest exporters of footballers in the world

1. Brazil 1219
2. France 978
3. Argentina 815
4. England 525
5. Germany 441
6. Colombia 425
7. Spain 409
8. Croatia 400
9. Serbia 379
10. The Netherlands 367

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

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

HNS, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport Sign Historic Croatian Football Contract

May 4, 2022 - A historic Croatian football contract was signed today by the Croatian Football Federation, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport. 

Today in Zagreb, the leaders of the Croatian Football Federation, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport signed an agreement on television and marketing rights for matches under the auspices of the Croatian Football Federation, announced HNS.

The contract signing ceremony by which Hrvatski Telekom became the owner of television and SuperSport marketing rights for matches owned by the Croatian Football Federation was organized in the Opera Hall of the Westin Hotel in Zagreb. Contracts run from the beginning of the 2022/23 competition year until the end of the 2025/26 competition year.

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HNS

It is the most valuable agreement for television and marketing rights in the history of domestic club football. During the four contracted years, Hrvatski Telekom will invest EUR 36 million for television rights, while SuperSport will invest a total of EUR 8 million for marketing and betting rights. The Croatian Football Federation has thus provided 44 million euros in four years for domestic football.

"I thank the present management of Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport for their trust and the respect they have shown for such a significant investment in domestic football. We are especially pleased to sign such vital contracts with companies that are proven friends and partners of Croatian football, which gives us additional faith that together, we will make our First League but also other competitions even stronger, more attractive, and better.

It is unnecessary to emphasize how much these funds will mean for our first leagues and other clubs in Croatia - this is the most crucial contract related to domestic club football in history and confirms its market value. I am sure that this value will continue to grow thanks to this agreement and that this significant investment will pay off for our partners as well," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

"I am delighted to continue our long-term cooperation with HNS. We always strive to provide our customers with the best sports content, and Croatian football falls into that category because it is about content close to the fans of all Croatian clubs. With our renewed four-year partnership with HNS, we are laying the foundations for the further development of Croatian football clubs, to enjoy even more competitive competition and better matches in production and on the leading pay-TV platform in Croatia," said the President of the Management Board of Hrvatski Telekom Kostas Nebis, while the member of the Management Board Nataša Rapaić added:

"Croatia is a sports nation in which football has a special status and significance, and the Croatian Football League has never been so interesting. We are pleased that HT can convey this excitement and positive emotions to the Croatian audience. We stand for these values as a company - connectivity, positivity, and creating new opportunities."

SuperSport has become the owner of marketing and betting rights, and satisfaction with the signed contract was expressed by a member of the SuperSport Management Board, Goran Đurić:

"We are proud that SuperSport has become a direct partner of Croatian football, in which we have invested significantly before. I believe we all agree that our football league has never been more interesting, and we are convinced that this agreement will allow further development of clubs and domestic competitions. We trust HNS, and we are looking forward to working with the Federation and Hrvatski Telekom on the further marketing, commercial, and media development of domestic football."

"Football is the most popular, important, and most-watched sport in Croatia. The First League is equally watched and important to both spectators and our players as the strongest football competitions in the world, such as the Champions League. That is why we are thrilled that today we signed such a valuable contract that will enable our football to continue to grow, which is visible by all criteria. We are proud to provide our players with the highest quality content as market leaders," added SuperSport Board Member Radim Haluza.

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HNS

"For HNS, and especially Croatian clubs, the contract we signed today is truly of historical importance. I want to thank our partners, Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport, for their trust and congratulate all clubs that have raised the level of quality and the curiosity of the competition to the level that we can sign a contract like this. An important role in increasing the league's attractiveness was played by HNS's first league turf project, which shows that for all of us - clubs, federations, and local communities - further development of stadium infrastructure should be a strategic determinant so that the value of our 'product' continues to grow," HNS Executive Director Tomislav Svetina emphasized.

After signing the contract, the leaders of HNS handed over one home and one reserve jersey of the 2018 World Cup finalists to the leaders of Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport with the numbers 2022 and 2026, which together show the duration of the contract signed today.

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

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Nova TV to Broadcast Croatia National Team Matches for Next 6 Years

May 2, 2022 - Nova TV, the most-watched television station in Croatia, has reached an agreement with Uefa and will continue to broadcast Croatia national team matches for the next six years.

Nova TV will broadcast qualifying matches for the 2024 European Championship, 2026 World Cup qualifiers, 2028 European Championship qualifiers, and 2022, 2024, and 2026 Nations League matches. In addition, football fans will be able to watch all Croatia national team friendly matches on Nova TV, announces HNS.

"On behalf of the Croatian Football Federation, I can express my satisfaction that Nova TV will continue to broadcast Croatia national team matches for the next six years. Nova TV has proven to be a great partner in terms of organization and programming, with many great people working in front of and behind the cameras. The Croatia national team matches are the most-watched program in Croatia, and that is why I congratulate Nova TV for winning the right to broadcast in the coming period. I am convinced that many joint victories await us, to the satisfaction of our fans and viewers of Nova TV," said the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"We are proud to continue broadcasting the most exciting sports content on Nova TV. It is our honor and responsibility to broadcast the Croatia national team matches and present the content to the viewers in the best possible way. Nova TV, as the strongest multimedia platform, will continue to create additional value, current and attractive content for all viewers of the national team in the next six years through the synergy of television and digital channels," said the President of the Management Board of Nova TV, Dražen Mavrić.

For the new, six-year cycle of national team activities, the sports newsroom of Nova TV is preparing a series of content and graphic news in shows and broadcasting matches. As before, everything will be accompanied by a dynamic display with the latest technology prepared by the multi-award-winning Nova TV team of production graphics.

"Quality preparations and the team are what make the project a success. When a person is part of a team made up of top professionals, even demanding projects such as broadcasting Croatia national team matches are not demanding. What makes producing Croatia national team matches different is the special national charge, pride, and emotions that go to unimaginable or, perhaps better said, immeasurable heights, no matter if it is happiness or sadness. It’s so present in the stadium environment that you can’t stay cool no matter how hard you try to be a cool professional. I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of this whole story, and that makes me happy, both professionally and humanely, as a fan," said the main producer of the Nova TV news program, Antonio Blašković, who is leading the project's production.

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

Thursday, 28 April 2022

19-Year-Old Igor Matanović Chooses Croatia National Team Over Germany

April 28, 2022 - Great news from Germany - Igor Matanović, a forward for St. Pauli and the U-19 national team of Germany, has decided to play for Croatia!

He is a great talent, a 194 cm tall center forward who has all the characteristics of a modern player, and many experts are convinced that he has a brilliant career ahead of him. At the end of March, Matanović led the attack of the German U-19 team, scored a great goal in the Euro qualifying match against Italy, and recorded an assist against Belgium. However, he chose to play for Croatia a month later, reports Jutarnji List

Matanović agreed after a long and synchronized campaign led by Stipe Pletikosa - with the support of HNS President Marijan Kustić. The HNS technical director visited the young striker and his family for months. Matanović should already receive an invitation from the U-21 national team coach Igor Bišćan at the next national team gathering. Bišćan has long indicated that Matanović is a great talent he certainly sees among his chosen ones.

Matanović attracted a lot of attention for the first time two years ago when as a 17-year-old, he made his debut for the St. Pauli senior team against Werder (4:2), in which he immediately scored a goal and remained listed as the youngest scorer in the history of the club. Coach Timo Schultz announced him as a top attacking talent and a great future for the club. Although he only recently turned 19 (born on March 31, 2003), Matanović has already registered 33 games for St. Pauli. Unfortunately, he did not manage to score after that goal in his debut because he entered most of those games only in the final minutes, but few players play in the Bundesliga 2 at the age of 17 and 18. 

Matanović is technically a player of Eintracht, who bought him this summer for 500,000 euros but decided to loan him to St. Pauli for the next two seasons. 

“Igor is a very talented player who is technically talented and physically strong. He has great talent and great potential. It is important for his development to play as much as possible. We believe that the best decision is to leave him on loan because he will be able to help an ambitious second-division team. Still, he will also make important steps in his development this and next season," said Eintracht sports director Markus Krösche.

St. Pauli is fiercely fighting to enter the Bundesliga; it is fourth in the standings, only three points behind second place, and only one behind third. The second-place leads directly to the Bundesliga, and the third to the playoffs. As much as Timo Schultz praised Matanović, the role of the first center forward is played by the experienced Guido Burgstaller (32), who has already scored 18 championship goals this season with seven assists and is the third top scorer in the league. Bundesliga 2 is tough, and it is challenging for young players to break through.

Matanović's family arrived in Germany from Kotor Varos near Banja Luka. Interestingly, Mate Kovačić's parents are also from there. As a child, Igor played for St. Pauli, in which he passed all the selections. He showed great talent as a 16-year-old, who scored 19 goals in 27 games for the U-17 team, with seven assists.

Igor played for the Croatia U-14 side, then for the youth national teams of Germany from U-17 to U-19. He scored five goals in eight appearances for those selections. He would have had more if injuries hadn't plagued him.

"Members of my family were refugees during the war in Krapinske Toplice, so Croatia gave them refuge when it was most difficult for us, and it is not forgotten. However, I came to Germany in the late '80s, got a job, so both countries gave me a lot," explained Igor's father, Ranko Matanovic, two years ago.

The German Football Federation will not be happy that Igor Matanović chose Croatia, as Germany lacks center forwards. But in the end, love for Croatia prevailed.

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