Tuesday, 20 December 2022

The Women Behind the Wheel: Meet Croatia Football Team's Party Bus Drivers

December 20, 2022 - On Sunday, Ana Golomeić and Nikolina Žiljak drove the party buses for the Croatia Football Team. Just like they did four years ago when the silver Vatreni returned from Russia.

24Sata quotes the driver: "the Vatreni recognised me, and that was great. When they saw me, they said: 'Here she is, that lady who drove us the last time,'" - laughs Nikolina Žiljak, who drove the Vatreni on Sunday in a panoramic bus from the beginning of the Sava road to the Ban Josip Jelačić square. Ana Golomeić drove the staff members in the other bus.

Four years ago, when the Vatreni returned from Russia with silver, the ladies behind the wheel were ZET's drivers Ana and Nikolina, who were honoured to do so again, as they say, after a job well done four years ago.

"The bosses were satisfied because we behaved professionally and drove the whole way without any problems. I believe that's why they chose us again. We were happy to hear that we will do it again," the ladies said. However, this time, they admitted, everything was completely different from the last time.

"It was much more difficult because it was dark, the torches were blazing, and you had to be very careful about the people on the road and everything that could go wrong. Four years ago, everything was much clearer because it was daylight so I could drive a little more relaxed. Besides, it was freezing this time, and I was confined in my cabin and didn't interact with the passengers. In the end, the only important thing is that everything went as it should", said Ana. She added that although it was much shorter than four years ago, the journey from Savska to the Square took an eternity for her.

"There is no need for the gas pedal; you hold the brake. Walking would be much faster than the way I drove. But those are the rules. The journey took about 40 minutes, but it seemed much longer to me", said Ana.
Nikolina, who drove the football players, was isolated in her cabin. Four years ago, she became headline news because she refused Luka Modrić's request to sit behind the bus wheel for a while. She says there was neither occasion nor time for such teasing this time.

"I am happy that they recognised me, and that is enough. When they got off the bus, they thanked me nicely. It's a memory for a lifetime and that's why I'm grateful that I had this opportunity to drive the Vatreni", said Nikolina.
She added that her children and all the people she loves are proud of her.

"They are also honoured to say they know the woman who drove the Vatreni,” laughs Nikolina. Four years ago, she says, she was convinced that it was the only time she would do something like that in her life. It all happened again, though.

"Rarely does anyone get this kind of opportunity, and that's why I'm grateful. If necessary, I would do it all again", she said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.


Thursday, 9 September 2021

HNK Hajduk Split Will Appear in the New EA Sports Videogame FIFA 22!

September 9, 2021 - Great news for fans of the ''bijeli'' and the world's best-selling football simulator series, as the Croatian club announced that it will appear in the new edition of the popular EA Sports videogame, and now fans will be able to choose Hajduk Split to play with!

Hajduk Split announced yesterday on its social networks and official website that it will be an officially licensed team in the new edition of the best-selling football simulator in the world: FIFA 22. The announcement was surprising not only because of the inclusion of Hajduk itself, but because Croatian football, in general, has been underrepresented in the video game.

For instance, the last time the Croatian national team appeared in the EA Sports videogame was in 2012 (with the exception of the special editions of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 2018), despite the great growth and evolution not only of the team in the previous decade but also by its players in international and local tournaments. Likewise, the Croatian First League has never appeared in the video game.

When it comes to European football, the EA Sports videogame has officially licensed the main leagues on the continent such as the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), the Bundesliga (Germany), the Ligue 1 (France), the Eredivisie (Netherlands) the Liga NOS (Portugal). Additionally, it includes European leagues such as those of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Finally, some European teams belonging to unlicensed leagues are in the Rest of the World category, and this is the case of teams such as CSKA Moscow (Russia), Dinamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Olympiacos (Greece), or Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).

The official gameplay trailer for FIFA 22 was shared a month ago.

The only Croatian team present in the game is Dinamo Zagreb, which for a few years has been an eligible team in the Rest of the World category. Similarly, the EA Sports videogame is officially licensed by UEFA's main international tournaments, such as the Champions League, the Europa League, and the recently founded Conference League. For this reason, Dinamo Zagreb has maintained its validity in the game by participating in at least one of these tournaments.

Hajduk will then join Dinamo Zagreb in the latest edition of the EA Sports videogame, as officially licensed teams on the Rest of the World category. Being a FIFA licensed team means having, for example, real uniforms and their sponsors, as well as the squad and their names. Despite no official confirmation, the game will most likely not include the Stadion Poljud or the official faces of the players. The technology used to reproduce stadiums and faces is being used almost exclusively with clubs belonging to the major licensed leagues.

Something positive about the presence of Hajduk Split in the new EA Sports videogame is the possibility that players can hire Hajduk players in Career Mode, where they can manage and train a club by making signings and developing the most promising players. Thus, it will be possible to hire a promising youngster from Hajduk Split to FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Manchester United and make him a star of the team. Unfortunately, Hajduk Split cannot be used in Career Mode, as only clubs belonging to a licensed league can be used in this mode.

On its official website, Hajduk Split announced the club's presence in the new EA Sports videogame in this way:

''FIFA 22, the most authentic football simulation available, is becoming even more realistic with HNK Hajduk, which will present itself to many fans of this mega-popular game in the latest season!

With the official entry into FIFA 22, Hajduk strengthens its position in global football and confirms that it follows world trends and the practice of the world's largest clubs.

With 17,000 players in more than 700 teams, in more than 90 stadiums in more than 30 leagues, FIFA 22 brings unparalleled authenticity and the most comprehensive interactive football experience. FIFA 22 is the only place where you can play in cult competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the brand new UEFA Europa Conference League, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga Santander, CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana.

Enhanced by revolutionary HyperMotion technology, ie the integration of advanced motion recording of 22 professional footballers in a competitive match (11 vs. 11) and machine learning (knowledge from 8.7 million frames of advanced match recordings), FIFA 22 brings an ever more realistic football experience to all players' homes!

The official release of FIFA 22 is scheduled for October 1, 2021!''

The club promoted the news on its social networks and on its website with an image of its star, Marko Livaja, who has just scored his first goal for the national team at Stadion Poljud in the qualifying match against Slovenia, along with the official logo of the videogame and the Hajduk Split crest. Many fans of Hajduk Split are already beginning to suspect if the Croatian player, being the image of the news, will have a personalized face or if he will have a good rating in the game. Some are even beginning to recommend that he and his teammates be given ratings of 90 or more (something that only occurs with players like Mbappé, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Lewandowski):

Some Croatian players who have official faces in the videogame are: Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović, Mateo Kovačić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Ante Rebić, Šime Vrsaljko, Nikola Vlašić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Borna Sosa, Josip Brekalo and Tin Jedvaj. 

The Croatian national team is expected to return to the EA Sports videogame next year, with the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. To do so, they will have to continue their good run of results and ensure their qualification in the coming months against Cyprus and Malta in their away games, and against Slovakia and Russia at home. Let's hope that very soon the company decides to officially include the Croatian national team in the game and, in the same way, the Croatian First League and the rest of the teams.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Croatia National Football Team's BLM Controversy and Historical Context

11 June, 2021 - The recent controversy over the Croatia National Football team has to do with the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). It gives us an opportunity to take a look back into the history books and get some context.

There is nothing the media likes more than a bit of controversy. The Croatian Football Federation and the country’s national team are well aware of this. They recently came under a bit of scrutiny when it became known that the players will not be taking a knee before the game against England this Sunday.

EURO 2020 is upon us and it will dominate the news around the continent for the next month or more. Some of the first titles to appear to have to do with the Black Lives Matter movement and the symbolic gesture seen mostly on the British football fields. Following some American athletes, football players in England started kneeling before the games in support of the BLM movement. Sometimes teams from other parts of Europe join in and sometimes they don't. The Croatian National Football team caused a stir during their last friendly match against Belgium. The Belgian players took a knee at the beginning of the match, and the Croats didn't. While the national football association (HNS) pretty much explained everything in their statement released a few days ago, this situation gives us a chance to talk about the underlying cause of the entire issue – the fight against slavery.

Croatian Heritage

Slavery, one of the most shameful activities in human history, has a long and sad tradition. So does the fight against it. While all the countries in the world have abolished slavery, it is by no means completely eradicated. We're still seeing human trafficking and slave labour across many parts of the world. To find out how to fight against it, we might want to look at some successful historical examples. The most important one might be the Dubrovnik Republic, the first European country to abolish slavery. Yes, the southernmost part of Croatia was once its own country in many ways, officially starting from 1358 and lasting until 1808. During this time, this small republic became one of the most successful city-states of the entire Mediterranean. The Dubrovnik Republic's large and powerful merchant navy and excellent diplomatic skills allowed them to thrive in a politically turbulent area.

The Dubrovnik Republic’s Decision

At the peak of its power, in 1416, this aristocratic European merchant force voted in favour of a law prohibiting slavery and the slave trade. It was a remarkably interesting decision and one they had all the intention of keeping. The Dubrovnik Republic was a no-nonsense place when it came to laws and regulations. The punishments for transgressions were swift and serious as we already talked about in a related text.  Anyone caught selling or buying a slave would have to pay reparations and would be imprisoned in the toughest prison cells for six months.

This is nothing compared to those who made the slave trade into a business. These people would have to free all of their slaves, and then their eyes would be gauged out. If they didn’t comply with freeing the slaves, the sentence was death by hanging. However, the most interesting part of the story concerns the financing of the slave trade. Bankers who worked with slave traders would also be imprisoned. All this was done in the very heart of Europe of that time, centuries before the United Kingdom in the North abolished slavery and almost half of the millennium before the USA did the same. Interestingly, the Dubrovnik Republic wasn't the first place in modern-day Croatia to abolish slavery. It was actually the island of Korcula in 1214. Korcula wasn’t its own country, but this is still a strong testament to the heritage of the anti-slavery fight by the Croatian people.  

A Valuable Gesture?

Regardless of history, you might be for or against the Croatian National Football team’s decision to not take a knee. The fact remains, that the BLM movement is a movement for the better rights of an oppressed minority and as such it will have the support of any right-minded individual. The only question is, at what point do gestures like this go from being a powerful statement by people directly affected by the issue, to becoming an Instagrammable trend followed by random individuals across the world without really knowing anything about the movement itself.

One trend that has been dead for a long time is brutal honesty. Let me try to revive it by saying that with the historical context kept in mind, perhaps those playing under the European flags of England or Belgium have a little bit more reason to kneel before the movement for the rights of people of African descent than those playing under the flag of Croatia.

For more on the Croatian National Football team, follow our sport section.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Croatia’s World Cup Dream Saved After 2:0 Win Against Ukraine!

Croatia faced Ukraine in Kiev on October 9, 2017, for the final World Cup qualifier of Group I. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Croatian National Team Plays Its First Match In USA Today

As the Croatian Football Team will play its first match in the USA ever, we talked with one huge fan of the Croatian Sports, born and raised in San Pedro, California, with an incredible love and passion for Croatia

Sunday, 7 May 2017

U-17 Croatia Loses To Turkey

The Turkish U-17 team beat Croatia 4-1 in Rijeka.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

U-17 EURO: Croatia – Turkey Today

The Croatian U-17 National Team plays the second match of the tournament in Rijeka today

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Croatian U-17 Team Loses To Italy

Italy beat Croatia 1-0 in the U-17 EURO opening match

Monday, 10 October 2016

Croatia Takes Another Three Points In Finland

Croatia beat Finland 1-0 and is heading the Group I of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

Friday, 7 October 2016

Croatia Wins In Albania Vs. Kosovo

Croatian football team beat Kosovo 6:0 in the second round match of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

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