Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Croatian Sport 2019: What Awaits Us this Year?

It’s a new year with a slew of new sporting events for Croatian sport. Even though there won't be any major football competitions in the summer, or Olympic Games for that matter, we promise there will be no shortage of moments to create history once again, reports Index.hr on January 1, 2019. 

Croatia’s handball players will fight in the World Cup in Germany and Denmark from January 10 to 27. Lino Červar’s team plays in Group B against Spain, Macedonia, Iceland, Bahrain and Japan. The first match is against Iceland on January 11, followed by Japan (January 13), Macedonia (January 14), Bahrain (January 16) and Spain on January 17.

Croatia’s tennis players traditionally open the Grand Slam season in Melbourne. The Australian Open kicks off on January 14 and we can only hope Croatia’s tennis stars like Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić will start the season as they finished it - with success. It will also be interesting to see whether anyone in 2019 can threaten the best tennis player in the world - Novak Djokovic.

Just a few months later in March, the Croatia national football team will begin their qualifiers for the 2020 European Championship. Zlatko Dalić will lead the World Cup finalists in Group E with Azerbaijan, Hungary, Slovakia and Wales. The first match is scheduled for March 21 at home (Maksimir) against Azerbaijan, followed by a game against Hungary three days later. In the third round, Modrić & Co. will welcome Wales on June 8. On September 6, the team will play against Slovakia away and will visit Azerbaijan three days later. In the seventh round on October 10, Hungary will head to Croatia, and on October 13, Croatia will visit Wales. The last two rounds will be played on November 16 and 19 - Croatia will welcome Slovakia, and since they are in a group of five teams, will have a free last round. 

In other football news, after 49 years, Dinamo will play a ‘European spring’. The Croatian champion will play on February 14 and 21 against Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Europa League round of 32. The first match is in the Czech Republic and the second at Maksimir in Zagreb. 

Rijeka and Hajduk will meet in the Adriatic Derby on February 16 in the 21st round of the Croatian First League. On March 21, Dinamo welcomes Rijeka in the 24th round, and then heads to Poljud for the Eternal Derby against Hajduk on April 3 in the 27th round. Hajduk will play against Rijeka on April 20 in Split (30th round), and on May 11, Dinamo will go to Rujevica (33rd round). In the final 36th round, Dinamo will host Hajduk at Maksimir for the end of the championship.

Though Croatia basketball has a slim chance of going to the World Cup in China, they await their last two qualifying rounds in February. Croatia will first welcome Italy on February 22, and on February 25 they visit Hungary. In Group J, Croatia currently holds fifth place of the six national teams. Only the top three advance to the World Cup. 

Sandra Perković will try to defend the gold in London at the end of September in Doha at the World Athletics Championships. The gold medal will also be defended by the Sinković brothers in the men’s pairs at the World Rowing Championship in Linz in August.

Here's a list of the sporting events we can look forward to in the new year. 


January 5 - February 1: Asia Cup in Emirates (football)

January 9-27: World Cup in Germany and Denmark (handball, men)

January 14 - 27: Australian Open (tennis)


February 3: Super Bowl (Rugby)

February 5 - 17: World Championships in Sweden (skiing)

February 14: Viktoria Plzen - Dinamo, the first match of Europa League round of 32 

February 20: Nordic Skiing World Championships in Austria

February 21: Dinamo - Viktoria Plzen, in the Europa League round of 32 (football)


March 10: Start of Moto GP (Grand Prix of Qatar)

March 17: Beginning of Formula 1 (Grand Prix Melbourne)

April, May

April 21 - 28: World Championship in Budapest (table tennis)

May 3rd - 19th: World Cup in Bratislava and Košice (hockey)

May 18: FA Cup Final at Wembley (football)

May 26 - June 9: Roland Garros (tennis)

May 29 - Europa League Final (Baku)


June 1: Champions League Final at Wanda Metropolitan in Madrid (football)

June 7 - July 7: World Cup in France (football, women)

June 15 - July 13: African Football Cup of Nations (host TBA)


July 1-14: Wimbledon (tennis)

July 6 - July 28: Tour de France (cycling)

July 12 - July 28: World Cup in South Korea (swimming)


August 25 - September 1: World Rowing Championships in Linz

August 26 - September 9: US Open (tennis)

August 31 - September 15: World Cup in China (basketball)


September 20 - November 2: World Cup in Japan (rugby)

September 28 - October 6: World Championships in Doha (athletics)

October, November

October 4 - October 13: World Championships in Stuttgart (gymnastics)

November 18 - 24 - Davis Cup (tennis)

November 17: End of the season for Moto GP (Grand Prix of Valencia)

November 30 - December 15: World Cup in Japan (handball, women)


December 1: Completion of Formula 1 (last race in Abu Dhabi)

To learn more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Croatian Sport 2018: A Year in Review

December 30, 2018 - The year 2018 will be remembered as the greatest year of Croatian sport - and no, not just because Croatia became World Cup finalists and brought home the Davis Cup. 

Did you know that in the 365 days of 2018, Croatian athletes participated in some 700 World and European competitions and brought home 292 medals, of which 97 are gold, 85 are silver and 110 are bronze? 

In 2018, Croatian athletes lifted the dark cloud over them made up of poor infrastructure and conditions, bureaucracy, and incomprehensible laws, and pushed to the bring home the most significant achievements since Croatia became an independent state. 

In 2018, Croatian athletes surprised and succeeded, and the fans at home and abroad certainly made sure they returned the favor, showing their pride and appreciation in ways the country had never experienced before. 

To a year in sport summarized best by a Zaprešić Boys song you may have heard one too many times - 2018 was indescribable. 

Croatia becomes World Cup finalists 

It seems the only logical place to begin is Russia. Without diminishing the importance of any sport or any other success achieved this year, Croatian football’s second place at the World Cup is an unbelievable result given the circumstances and whirlwind of events it took for them to get there. 

This generation of Croatian football knew it was their last opportunity to accomplish something big - and the international media was watching. After Čačić’s downfall, Croatia’s dreams of advancing to the World Cup at all were grim. But a man mostly unknown in the world of Croatian football stepped in to save the day - and that man was Zlatko Dalić. 

Not only did he slowly begin to restore the faith in the national team, but Dalić took the team to Russia with self-confidence, unity, and a wave of positivity. His tactics brought Croatia their first group stage victory against Nigeria, which was followed by an unbelievable bashing of Messi’s Argentina. Croatia’s reserves pulled out a win against Iceland to top the group, and the momentum behind the team only grew stronger. 

Some might say that Croatia had an easier road to the final than France, though if you ask members of the team or the fans who watched the knockout stages of the competition clinching their teeth - it was no walk in the park. Against Denmark and the host Russia, Croatia took the games into the extra time and penalties - and prevailed. Against England, Croatia came back from 0:1 and again pushed the game to 120 minutes. They sealed their first World Cup final in history. 

Croatia met France in the final, a country that has as many registered footballers as Croatia’s population. With every atom of energy they had left, Croatia fought in the final with intensity and class, though a bit of bad luck gave France the Cup in the end. 

But you wouldn’t know it if you happened to be in Croatia.

Despite the defeat, Croatians rushed to the streets to welcome their World Cup finalists. Over half a million people in Zagreb alone braved the summer heat for over six hours to welcome the silver medalists. Whether it was silver or gold, everyone in Croatia was aware this was an accomplishment they might never witness again. 

Luka Modrić wins the Ballon d’Or… and everything else in 2018

Riding the wave of Croatia’s success, Luka Modrić had the season of a lifetime. After winning his third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid (and his fourth overall), Luka’s flawless World Cup performance secured him the Golden Ball of the tournament - and then the accolades kept coming. 

Following the World Cup, Luka was named the best player in Europe by UEFA and the world by FIFA. He was the favorite for France Football’s Ballon d’Or and won - breaking the decade-long domination of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.

Thus, Luka Modrić picked up every major individual award for the best player in 2018. But if you ask him, he’ll say his favorite award of the year was becoming World Cup finalists with Croatia. 

Croatian tennis wins their second Davis Cup title

2018 was coming to an end, and the football euphoria was beginning to fade - but it was Croatia’s tennis players to lift it back up. After Croatia’s stellar semi-final result in Zadar against the USA, they journeyed to France for the final. Seeking revenge for Croatian football, on day one of the finals, Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić put Croatia in the lead with 2:0. Though France won the doubles match on Saturday, Croatia’s best tennis player Marin Čilić pulled out the win against Lucas Pouille on Sunday for Croatia’s second Davis Cup title in history. 

This was Croatia’s second Davis Cup title after winning in 2005, though this Davis Cup had even more meaning - it will forever remain that Croatia won the last Davis Cup as we know it. Recall, the competition is moving to a new format next year. 

Sandra Perković becomes the European Champions for the 5th time

What a year it has been for the Discus Queen, Sandra Perković. In 2018, Perković became the first athlete, male or female, to win the European Championships five times. Croatia’s cherished discus thrower won in Barcelona in 2010, Helsinki in 2012, Zürich in 2014, Amsterdam in 2016 and this year in Berlin - where she threw 67.62 meters.

Croatia’s best female athlete and one of the best of all time also experienced a great injustice in the Diamond League this year. Though she was convincingly the best in the competition, winning all four previous meetings, according to the new rules, all points were erased, and only the final in Brussels decided the winner. Sandra was not ready for the final as she had fallen ill and finished third, giving Sandra her first defeat after 13 months and leaving her without her seventh consecutive Diamond League title. 

Sinković Brothers become European and World Champions in a new discipline 

Martin and Valent Sinković delighted the world once again. After three unbeatable seasons in double sculls, the discipline in which they won all they could (Olympic, World, and European gold), in 2016, after winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, they decided to take on a new discipline - men’s pairs. 

Though many wondered why the duo would take on a new challenge when they were already the best, the brothers once again showed that could reach the top - no matter the obstacles ahead. In 2018, Martin and Valent became European and World champions in their new discipline - pairs! 

Croatian water polo wins the bronze at the European Championships 

In the shadow of Croatia’s spectacular performance in Russia this summer, Croatian water polo won their first European medal in eight years at the European Championship in Barcelona in July. Though Ivica Tucak’s team lost to Serbia in the semifinals 9:7, they defeated Italy 10:8 for the third place and thus the bronze medal.

Fantela Brothers became World Champions in sailing 

Šime and Mihovil Fantela from Zadar had a stellar sailing season. The duo won the gold in the 49er class at the World Championship in Aarhus in August after only sailing this discipline for a year! Just how dominant they were is shown by the fact that the brothers secured the gold even before the final sail. 

Best of all, the Fantela brothers were also nominated for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year award, placing them among the five best sailors in the world. 

Dino Rađa inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Dino Rađa became a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Illinois in September.

Rađa thus became the fourth Croatian to be honored with this most prestigious achievement in basketball after Krešimir Ćosić, Dražen Petrović, and Mirko Novosel.

Croatia’s U-21 football team advances to Euro 2019 for the first time in 15 years 

Croatia’s young footballers showed they had talent this year, too. After a 4:0 win over San Marino in October, Croatia become one of the twelve teams who will compete at the 2019 Euros. While this is the third time Croatia’s U-21 team will play in the tournament, it is the first time Croatia has advanced to the Euros in 15 years. The last time Croatia competed was in Germany 2004, where they took the last place in the group. 

Marin Ranteš becomes BMX World Champion 

Croatia even had a world champion in extreme sports this year. Varaždin native Marin Ranteš became the world champion of BMX. Ranteš was the overall winner of the FISE World Series in Hiroshima, Montpellier, Edmonton, and Chengdu, China, and even won HOO’s fair play award!

Dinamo Zagreb end their European curse 

Dinamo Zagreb has had a phenomenal year and an even better Europa League campaign. Topping their group with four wins in the first four games and two draws, Dinamo has thus broken their 49-year-old curse and will advance to the next stage of the competition in the spring.

Nenad Bjelica’s side will play against Viktoria Plzen in the round of 32 in February. 

And that’s not all…

Split’s Ivan Šarić won first place at the European Chess Championships in Batumi, Georgia in a competition of 302 players from 34 countries. Gymnast Robert Seligman won the silver medal at the European Championships in Glasgow for the pommel horse, and Tin Srbić won two gold medals in the World Cup in Doha and Osijek. 

Croatia’s representatives in Taekwondo brought home eight medals from the European Championships in Kazan, of which three are gold, and Ivan Kvesić became the world champion in karate. In this sport, the national team also won two gold and two bronze medals at the senior European Championships in Novi Sad.

Croatia’s Paralympians were also incredibly successful at the Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. Dino Sokolović won the gold medal in the skiing slalom competition and Bruno Bošnjak won the bronze in the banked slalom for snowboarding. 

There was almost no archery competition where Croatian representatives did not bring back at least one medal. At the World Cup in South Korea, Petar Gorša, Snježana Pejčić, Miran Maričić and Josip Kuna won two silver and three bronze medals. Anton Glasnović won the silver at the European Championships for trap shooting, and we were even better in the crossbow.

At the European Championships in Estonia, Croatia won five gold, three silver, and two bronze medals. The European champions were Domagoj Pereglin, Valentina Pereglin and junior Martin Oboroveck, and the male and female team competitions. 

Have we missed anything yet?

This unbelievable year in Croatian sport is the result of the dedication, will, ambition, and effort made by Croatian athletes. 

What will 2019 bring?

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

Sources: T.portal and Index.hr

Friday, 19 August 2016

Mister Šustar, You’ve Had Your Chance

Predrag Šustar, Minister of Science, Education, and Sport announced on August 19, 2016 that he would start the initiative to raise awards for Olympic medals

Friday, 19 August 2016

Schedule Of Croatian Participation At The Olympics For Friday - Filip Hrgović

Every day, TCN brings you the itinerary of Croatian athletes' participation at the Olympics, today, there is only one, but literally, one of the strongest there is

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

D-Day For Croatian Athletes At The Olympics

TCN brings you the itinerary of Croatian athletes' participation at the Olympics (all times are in Central European Time Zone)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Three Croatian Teams In The Quarter-Finals Of The Olympic Games

Water polo, basketball, and handball team qualified to the quarterfinals of their Olympic tournaments, and all of them have a chance to get trough even further in the competition too.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Schedule Of Croatian Participation At The Olympics For Wednesday

TCN brings you the itinerary of Croatian athletes' participation at the Olympics (all times are in Central European Time Zone)

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Schedule Of Croatian Participation At The Olympics For Tuesday

TCN brings you the itinerary of Croatian athletes' participation at the Olympics (all times are in Central European Time Zone)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Schedule Of Croatian Participation At The Olympics For Sunday

TCN brings you the itinerary of Croatian athlete’s participation at the Olympics (all times are in Central European Time Zone)

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Introduction Of Croatian Olympic Team - Part Four

In our final article from this Olympic Team introduction series, we present the Croatian teams in Taekwondo, Water Polo, and Rowing. It will be no surprise at all if all three come back from Rio with medals.

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