Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Croatian Sport 2021: A Year in Review

December 29, 2021 - Croatian sport 2021: a look at some of the top sporting moments from Croatian athletes following the 2020 pandemic year. 

2020 was a write-off in sports, with some of the biggest competitions canceled as the Covid pandemic plagued the world. It was the year that postponed the Tokyo Olympics and EURO 2020, with no sporting event left unscathed by the threat of COVID-19. 

The desperate wait for the vaccine ended at the start of 2021, allowing a slow normalization of the life we were used to, but not without rigorous measures in place to ensure we never revisited what had come before. 

As vaccinations heightened, so did the return of sports, and the competitions we missed in 2020 filled the 2021 calendar year. As a result, athletes worldwide recorded one of their busiest years yet. 

Croatian sport 2021 - a recap of what Croatian athletes achieved this year. 

Olympics & Paralympics

The Olympic Games in Tokyo were the second most successful Olympics in Croatian history! Croatia won three gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in Tokyo, taking 26th place in the overall list of medal winners. Croatian athletes were more successful in Rio 2016, winning five gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.

Croatia won a total of eight medals in Tokyo. Gold was won by taekwondo artist Matea Jelić, the Sinković brothers in coxless pairs, and Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić in tennis doubles (more on that below).

Silver was won by Tonči Stipanović in laser sailing, tennis doubles team Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig, and gymnast Tin Srbić, while the bronze was won by taekwondo artist Toni Kanaet and Damir Martin in rowing singles.

 

Croatia was fantastic at the Paralympics, too, winning 7 medals total thanks to Velimir Šandor (silver), Ivan Katanušić (silver), Ivan Mikulić (silver), table tennis (bronze), Dino Sinovčić (bronze), Mikela Ristoski (bronze), and Deni Černi (bronze). 

Football

What a year it was for Croatian football, with many ups, downs, and turnarounds. 

EURO 2020

The Croatia national team recorded one of the busiest years, with World Cup qualifications wrapped around the rescheduled EURO 2020.

Croatia opened Group D of the Euros in London with a loss against England, followed by a draw against the Czech Republic and a win against Scotland in Glasgow to push them through to the round of 16. 

Croatia moved from the UK to Copenhagen to face Spain in the last 16, finally in front of their beloved fans who struggled to travel to the UK due to impossible isolation and testing measures. 

 

Croatia was unfortunately knocked out by Spain (3:5) after an exciting extra time finish. It wasn't the result Croatia had hoped for, but it was a wake-up call for coach Zlatko Dalić to achieve exactly what Croatia did next. 

World Cup qualifications

Croatia's World Cup qualifiers did not begin on a high note in March, with a loss against Slovenia to open the group stage. While expected but narrow victories against Cyprus and Malta followed, no one was sure if this Croatia side would even have a chance at qualifying for Qatar next year. 

A 0:0 draw to Russia in September and 0:1 win against Slovakia brought some hope, though it wasn't until beating Slovenia 3:0 at home that Croatia started looking like the team we knew them to be. Croatia proceeded with wins against Cyprus, a draw against Slovakia, a blowout victory against Malta, and a crucial 1:0 win against Russia at a sold-out Poljud to qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the first place! 

 

Before the 2022 World Cup, Croatia will play in the Nations League against France, Denmark, and Austria. 

U21 EURO in Slovenia + EURO 2023 qualifications 

It was an incredible year for the Croatia U21s, which began in March with EURO 2021 in Slovenia. 

Croatia played in Group D, losing to Portugal to open the tournament but winning against Switzerland and England for a spot in the knockout stage where Croatia lost to Spain in extra time. 

Croatia continued the year with EURO 2023 qualifications, in which they remain undefeated with 6 wins against Norway, Austria, Finland, Azerbaijan, and Estonia. 

Their qualifying journey will continue at the end of March next year when they will compete against Austria and Finland at home.

Nine group winners and the best second-placed team will qualify for the 2023 European Championships, while the remaining eight runners-up will advance to additional qualifications.

Dinamo in Europa League

It was an exciting year for Croatian champion Dinamo, who will be best remembered for a wild Europa League comeback in March against Tottenham thanks to an Oršić hattrick, securing their spot in the quarterfinal against Villareal. It was named among the competition's 10 best matches of the 2020/2021 season.

 

Dinamo also went strong into the 2021/22 Europe League season, finishing the group stage with a win against West Ham for second place of the group and the Europa League playoff round in the spring against Sevilla

Croatian Cup 

Not only did Dinamo go on to win the Croatian First League in the 2020/2021 season, but they also won the Croatian Cup, topping Istra 1961 6:3 in the final for the double crown.

Things are looking slightly different this season, as Dinamo was knocked out of the Croatian Cup against Rijeka - not to mention that the Croatian First League standings are closer than ever. 

In the Croatian Football Cup semifinals, Rijeka will play against Osijek at Rujevica Stadium, and Hajduk will face Gorica at Poljud.

This is a great opportunity for Hajduk, which has played 19 consecutive Cup games away. Hajduk last won the Cup in 2013, which is also the last trophy for the Split club. Therefore, Hajduk has the chance to play two home games in the Cup and a historic opportunity for their first trophy in eight years. The last time Split hosted the Cup was in March 2016 in the semifinal match against Dinamo.

The semifinal matches will be played on March 1 and 2, 2022, and the Cup final will be played on May 22 next year at Poljud Stadium in Split.

Tennis

Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić

It was an absolutely incredible year for Croatian tennis, due mainly to the success of the doubles team Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić. Not only did these two win Wimbledon before celebrating in the historic all-Croatian doubles final at the Tokyo Olympics, but they finished the year as the best doubles team in the world! 

 

Marin Čilić

It wasn't a bad year for Marin, either, who reached two finals in Russia in one week. While he lost in the Moscow final to Aslan Karatsev, Čilić defeated American tennis player Taylor Fritz in the St. Petersburg Open final to win his second ATP tournament in 2021.

This was Čilić's 35th appearance in the final of an ATP tournament and the third in 2021. He won Stuttgart in June, while he lost in the Moscow final. St. Petersburg was the 20th title of his career! 

Donna Vekić

Donna did it in 2021, too. At the Courmayeur Ladies Open, the Osijek native reached her third WTA title in the ninth WTA final of her career and the first after June 2019 in Nottingham. She won in the final against 18-year-old Dane Clara Tauson.

Donna Vekić won her last of the two titles in 2017 in Nottingham. Before that, in 2014, she celebrated in Kuala Lumpur.

Petra Marčinko

Young Croatian tennis player Petra Marčinko also became the #1 junior tennis player in the world this year! The 16-year-old Croatian became the first player in history to win the most prestigious junior tournament - Orange Bowl - in both singles and doubles competitions and ended the year as the best junior in the world. 

Davis Cup 

The Croatia tennis team became the second-best in the world after Russia celebrated in the Davis Cup final in Madrid. Russia beat Croatia 2-0 in the final, winning both singles matches. After Andrey Rublev defeated Borna Gojo 6:4, 7:6 (5) in the first match, bringing Russia the first point, Daniil Medvedev, the second-best tennis player in the world, defeated Marin Čilić 7:6 (7), 6:2, thus securing the Cup for Russia. 

This year, Croatia had a brilliant Davis Cup campaign, beating Australia and Hungary in the group stage before topping Italy in the quarters and Serbia in the semifinal for a spot in the final this year. Unfortunately, in this tournament, Croatia played without one of its top tennis players - Borna Ćorić. 

 

Croatia thus remains on the two Davis Cup trophies. Croatia won the Cup in 2005 and 2018, and in addition to this final, they played and lost the final in 2016 (against Argentina in Zagreb).

Handball 

2021, unfortunately, started with a Croatia handball fiasco and the worst placement in World Champs history for the men's side. 

The Croatia national handball team said goodbye to the World Championship in Egypt after losing to Denmark in the decisive match for the quarterfinals.

 

The Cowboys thus finished in 15th place, behind Russia and ahead of Switzerland. Before this World Championship in Egypt, the worst Croatian ranking at the World Championship was 13th place from the Japan tournament in 1997.

The poor result forced the resignation of coach Lino Červar, and the Federation announced that Hrvoje Horvat would fill his shoes.

While Horvat tried to revamp the team with young blood, it wasn't enough for the Olympic qualifications just two months later. Croatia handball thus failed to qualify for Tokyo and was left without the Olympic Games for the first time in the last 21 years. This last happened to Croatia in 2000 when they missed the Sydney Games.

But not all hope is lost. Croatia used 2021 to regain their footing and adapt to new systems, which will be seen on the court at the European Championships next month. 

The Croatia women's handball team didn't have the best of luck, either, and failed to advance to the World Championship quarterfinals in Spain.

Water Polo 

Olympics

The Croatia men's water polo team recorded six wins and two defeats in Tokyo, finishing 5th at the Olympic Games after beating the USA 14-11 (2-3, 4-2, 4-2, 4-4) on the last day of the Games. 

Croatia achieved three victories in Group B (Kazakhstan, Serbia, Montenegro) and two defeats (Australia, Spain), taking second place in the group behind Spain.

 

The Croatia water polo team lost to Hungary for a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games.

Croatian Cup 

The Jadran Split men's team took home the Croatian Water Polo Cup for the first time!

In their third Croatian Cup final and the third against Jug, the Jadran men's team finally tasted victory. While Jug was after their 17th cup and 66th trophy, Jadran reached its 15th trophy in history, and the first cup, including the former state cup.

And the Jadran's women's team celebrated, too, returning the Croatian Cup women's trophy to Split after five years. 

Basketball 

Olympic Qualifiers

The Croatia men's basketball team, led by NBA star Bojan Bogdanović, failed to qualify for the Olympic Games at the qualifying tournament held in Split. 

In their two group stage games, Croatia was unimpressive, recording a tough defeat against Brazil (94:67) and a close victory over Tunisia (75:70).

Croatia and Germany met in the tournament's semifinal at Spaladium Arena, losing in the last five minutes for the final 86:76. Only the winner of the tournament qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Toni Kukoč Hall of Fame Induction 

Toni Kukoč officially became an enshrined member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The induction of the class of 2021 was held in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Split-born former basketball star was joined by other superstars - Chris Bosh, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Paul Pierce, Ben Wallace, and Chris Webber, and coaches, referees, and contributors Rick Adelman, Bill Russell, Jay Wright, Val Ackerman, Howard Garfinkel, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Bob Dandridge, Pearl Moore, and Clarence "Fats" Jenkins.

 

Kukoč was introduced to the Hall of Fame by his former team-mate, Michael Jordan, and Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls owner, for the past 35 years.

Rowing

The Sinković brothers recorded another brilliant year, winning the gold medal in coxless pairs at the European Rowing Championships in Varese. 

The celebrated pair continued their winning streak with the Olympic gold in the coxless pairs in Tokyo, securing their third Olympic medal in the third different discipline, after the silver in the quadruple sculls from London 2012 and the gold in the doubles sculls from Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

 

Croatian rower Damir Martin was also excellent this year, winning the bronze medal in single sculls at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. This was the third Olympic medal for 33-year-old Martin, after the silver in the quadruple sculls from London in 2012 and the silver in the singles from Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Judo 

Following the Tokyo Olympics, the International Judo Federation (IJF) announced the world’s best judokas. The current world champion and the best Croatian judoka, Barbara Matić, took the top spot in the category up to 70 kg, while Karla Prodan came 8th in the category up to 78 kg.

 

The best result in the performances of Croatian judokas so far at the Olympic Games (fifth place in Tokyo) helped Barbara Matić jump by seven positions and became the first name in the category up to 70 kg.

For the first time in one year, Croatian judo had two names in the Top 10 judokas. 

Athletics 

Sandra Perković

Croatia's best female athlete reached her 44th victory at the Diamond League in her career this year with a throw of 65.68 meters in the decisive sixth series. She surpassed the second-placed Cuban Yaime Perez by 37 centimeters, while the Olympic winner from Tokyo, American Valarie Allman, took third place with a throw of 64.51 meters.

 

With this victory, Perković reached Perez in the overall standings of the Diamond League discus throw. Both now have 22 points, while Allman is third with 13 points.

After a disappointing campaign in Tokyo, where she was left without a medal after two consecutive gold medals in London and Rio, Sandra came back stronger than ever. We can't wait to see what she has in store next year! 

Blanka Vlašić retires 

High jump champion Blanka Vlašić announced the end of her career this year at the age of 37.

The celebrated Croatian athlete and high jumper could no longer cope with her injuries, saying goodbye to the sport after becoming 2x outdoor world champion, winning silver at the Beijing Olympics, and bronze at the Rio Games. She has the second-best result of all time and is the Croatian record holder with a jump of 208 centimeters.

Skiing 

Croatian skier Filip Zubčić achieved the best slalom result of his carer, placing third in Val d'Isere at the end of the year!

After placing 6th in the first run, the Croatian skier improved his ranking at the French winter resort, finishing on the podium in third place. He was impeccable in the lower part of the track and entered the finish line as the first-place finisher.

 

Zubčić's best slalom ranking in the World Cup before this was fifth place.

Croatia Rally

The 2021 Croatia Rally, the first-ever in the country, was watched by more than 100 million people in more than 150 countries. 

The current and seven-time world champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) won the first edition of the Croatia Rally, the third World Rally Championship, driven on the local roads of Zagreb, Karlovac, and Krapina-Zagorje counties, and the City of Zagreb. 

 

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

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Euro 2020 Most 'Googled' Term in Croatia in 2021

ZAGREB, 12 Dec 2021 - The European Football Championship was this year's most searched term on Google in Croatia, and none of the top three searches are related to COVID-19 despite the pandemic not easing.

The multinational corporation which specializes in Internet-related services and products last Wednesday released a list of the most searched terms in Croatia this year, and it provides a unique insight into the most popular trends.

The most googled keyword is related to this year's European Football Championship, which took place from 11 June to 11 July in 11 host cities.

In addition to "Euro 2020", a large number of searches included the keyword 'elections', which is not surprising given the fact that local elections were held this year.

The third most searched term in Croatia was the TV series "The Ambassador's Daughter", while COVID certificates ranked fourth, followed by the Dinamo-Tottenham match, the census, Đorđe Balašević, Eurosong, the Squid Game TV series, and the Croatia-Russia match.

Another frequently googled keyword in Croatia in 2021 was ''diets''.

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

 

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

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

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Luka Modrić EURO 2020 Goal in Running for Best of Tournament!

July 13, 2021 - The incredible Luka Modrić EURO 2020 goal against Scotland is in the running for the best goal of the tournament! 

Luka Modrić's goal in Croatia's win against Scotland (3:1) was included among the ten most beautiful goals of the European Championship, and the most beautiful will be decided by the fans on the official website of the European Football Federation (UEFA).

Luka Modrić scored for 2:1 against Scotland in the 62nd minute. It was a masterpiece, a blow with the outside of the boot.

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.

Certainly, the Czech Republic goal by striker Patrik Schick, who scored in the first round of Group D from the center, has the best chance of a prize. The Czech Republic had a counter and Schick shot from the middle of the pitch, going over the head of goalkeeper David Marshall.

Among the nominees for the award are Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Paul Pogba, Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa, Alvaro Morata, Mikkel Damsgaard and Andriy Jarmolenko.

The selection of the ten most beautiful goals was decided by the Uefa technical commission, which includes Packie Bonner, Esteban Cambiasso, Fabio Capello, Cosmin Contra, Corinne Diacre, Jean-Francois Domergue, Dušan Fitzel, Steffen Freund, Frans Hoek, Aitor Karanka, Robbie Keane, Gines Melendez, David Moyes, Mixu Paatelainen, Peter Rudbk, and Willi Ruttensteiner.

The final decision will be made by the fans by voting on the UEFA website. You can vote here.

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: HRT

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

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Friday, 2 July 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from June 28-July 4

June 3, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from June 28 through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac.

EURO 2020 elimination and Dario Šarić in the NBA finals. Zagreb witnessing a series of arrests related to corruption of Milan Bandić's reign and explosive device planted in Split. In the midst of it all, is COVID-19 vaccination on its way to becoming obligatory and not optional? You may prefer the good news or the bad news, but here is both, as another week in Croatia comes to an end.

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© Marin Tironi / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Uskok arresting Zagreb entrepreneurs and associates of former mayor Milan Bandić

The Office of Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation by members of the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor and the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) started at the city administration offices at 6 am on Wednesday.

As TCN wrote, several people were arrested on suspicion of corruption, including the director-general of the HRT public broadcaster, Kazimir Bačić, Andrea Šulentić, and Ana Stavljenić-Rukavina. Both Šulentić and Rukavina were directors in Zagreb administration offices and close associates of former mayor Milan bandić. At the same time, details Bandić's heavy corruption (suspected and known publicly earlier) came to light.

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© Goran Stanzl / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Croatia eliminated from Euro 2020 after losing to Spain

Croatia and Spain met in Copenhagen on Monday for their EURO 2020 round of 16 match. It was a decent effort from Croatia, but not enough. Despite the Spain own goal in the 20th minute, the distraction as Rebić went to change his boots saw Spain even the score. The score towards the end of regular time went to 3:1 for Spain, but Croatia managed to lower to 3:2 and finally, in the added time, Pašalić scored for 3:3.

But, the euphoria was ruined for Croatia as in extra time, Morata earned Spain 4:3, and by 103rd minute, the total and final score was 5:3 for Spain. It was one of the more intense games on Euro so far as both teams show incredible spirit and persistence. 

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© Dusko Jaramaz / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Opposition parties against vaccination being required for job-keeping payments  

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday not to make vaccination a requirement for job-keeping payments, while the Most party said business owners were being blackmailed into vaccination.

As TCN reported, SDP leader Peđa Grbin elaborated his dissatisfaction via social networks.

"In Croatia, mandatory vaccination is possible, but the obligation is first established under the law on the protection of the population and then regulated and worked out under Immunisation Rules and the Mandatory Vaccination Programme. The obligation of vaccination can't be imposed in another way, notably not by linking support for entrepreneurs with vaccination," SDP president Grbin posted on Facebook.

"Most is against entrepreneurs, who are being forced into vaccination through blackmail, saving the government's mindless epidemic policy", stated the Most party on its official Twitter account. They added that Croatia was stuck with over 300,000 surplus vaccines because of poor government moves and communication omissions.

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© Hrvoje Jelavic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Dario Šarić becomes 5th Croatian basketballer in the NBA finals

Šibenik's Dario Šarić is the 5th Croatian basketball player to reach the NBA finals! As TCN wrote, Šarić became only the fifth Croatian basketball player in the NBA league finals, joining the company of Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoč, Žan Tabak, and Ante Žižić. Šarić plays for Phoenix Suns. They topped the Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Apart from basketball, Šarić also likes to enjoy sipping coffee on Šibenik cafe terraces, as portrayed in the photo. 

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© Milan Sabic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Bomb planted in Split. One person injured
In the night from Thursday to Friday, an unknown person placed an explosive device underneath a vehicle. The explosion damaged six cars, and one person required medical attention. The investigation is ongoing since Friday morning.  

To learn more about Croatia, have a look at our TC website.

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Monday, 28 June 2021

EURO 2020 Round of 16: Croatia Eliminated After Losing to Spain in Extra Time (3:5)

June 28, 2021 - Croatia has been eliminated after losing to Spain (3:5) in the EURO 2020 round of 16 in Copenhagen on Monday. 

Croatia and Spain met in Copenhagen on Monday for their EURO 2020 round of 16 match. The match was played at Parken Stadium and officiated by Cuneyt Cakir from Turkey.

Unlike the group stage, Croatia had the support of many fans, with over 5,000 estimated at Parken Stadium today. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Lineups

Croatia: Livakovic, Juranović, Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Guardiol, Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić, Vlašić, Petković, Rebić

Spain: Simon, Azpilicueta, Garcia, Laporte, Gaya, Koke, Busquets, Pedri, Sarabia, Torres, Morata

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Slobodan Kadic

Spain possessed the game at the start and even had an early chance approaching the 2nd minute. Livaković was there for an easy save. 

Spain had another chance in the 5th minute which they missed in front of the goal. Croatia tried a quick counter but Kova played it out. 

Croatia was shaky in the first 10 minutes, which Spain used to calmly and confidently play the ball up the pitch. 

Gvardiol stopped the Spain attack with a ball to Petković who was fouled by two Spain players for a free kick. 

Spain had another dangerous chance in the 12th minute but shot outside the net. Rebić tried to find Vlašić at the top of the box in one of Croatia's few attacks of the half thus far, but the Spain defense had no issues retaking possession. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Livaković made the one-footed save of the tournament in the 15th minute, and with the help of Gvardiol, the ball went out for a corner.  

A quick Croatia counter-attack in the 17th minute saw quick one-twos between Gvardiol, Petković, Brozović, and Vlašić but no progress was made. Croatia was saved by the hand of Livaković yet again two minutes later.

But a catastrophic Spain mistake put Croatia in the lead one minute later - and it was 1:0 Croatia thanks to an own goal in the 20th minute! 

The goal gave Croatia just the momentum they needed as they continued attacking in the 5 minutes that followed. Rebić was taken down in the box which Croatia called for a penalty (with no luck), and Vlašić hit the side netting moments later. 

Vlašić dribbled through the Spain midfield to find Kova who shot just over the post.

A corner for Spain in the 31st minute was the biggest threat they had since the beginning of the half. Another Spain corner in the 36th minute resulted in a shot *almost* on goal, but it went out for a Croatia goal kick.  

A series of shots on goal and incredible saves by Livaković ultimately became too much for the Croatia defense, and Sarabia equalized for 1:1 in the 38th minute. 

Spain had two corners in the 41st minute - the latter of which was cleared by Rebić's head.

Juranović had a good cross into the box with two minutes to go in the first half but the Spain keeper stopped the play. Kova played the perfect through ball to Rebić one minute later which was only just too quick for him. Morata tried putting Spain ahead moments later but shot over the goal. 

The match ended 1:1 at the half.  

Dalić made one sub to start the second half - Kramarić came on for Petković. 

A Spain free kick from 30 meters out was cleared by Vida three minutes in. Vlašić tried for a quick Croatia counter once the ball was cleared but took a long first touch. 

Brozović switched the pitch to find Juranović who attacked up the right wing, cut in, and tried finding Kramarić. 

Spain maintained possession again for the first 10 minutes of the second half. A cross from the left found the head of an unmarked Azpilicueta in the box for the Spain lead. It was 1:2 for Spain in the 57th minute. 

Rebić just didn't have it this time, and after missing a great chance on the left side, Dalić subbed him off Mislav Oršić in the 67th minute. With just under 25 minutes to go, the Croatia fans grew even louder. 

Kramarić was one-on-one with the keeper one minute later which was called offside. 

Spain subbed off Sarabia for former Dinamo star Dani Olmo, and Garcia for Torres in the 70th minute. A Spain goal was called offside a minute later. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Dalić went in with yet another offensive sub, this time calling off Juranović for the fresh legs of Josip Brekalo. There were 15 minutes to go. 

A quick Spain free kick from the midfield line found Torres unmarked on the right side. He scored for 1:3 Spain in the 77th minute. 

Dalić made two more subs - Budimir came on for Kovačić and Pašalić for Vlašić.

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Slobodan Kadic

A mixup in the Spain defense and a series of blocked shots in front of the goal saw Oršić score for 2:3 with 5 minutes to go! 

The ref added 6 minutes to the end of the match. Kramarić had a shot on goal which was called offside.

But then it happened - Croatia came back to equalize in the 2nd minute of added time - Pašalić scored for 3:3! The match went to extra time. Two 15 minute halves were played. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had a great attack in the first minute and Oršić just shot over the goal! Another huge opportunity for Croatia came in the 95th minute with multiple shots on goal all saved by the Spain defense. 

Not long after, Morata was found alone on the far post to score for 3:4 in the 100th minute.

Busquets was subbed off for Rodri in the 101st minute. 

Kramarić had a shot right at the keeper in the 102nd, which wasn't enough. Spain came back to score again for 3:5 in the 103rd. 

The second half of extra time started with a stellar through ball by Oršić to Budimir who shot just wide of the goal. But there was not much time left for Croatia to get two goals...

Dalić subbed off Modrić for Ivanušec in the 113th minute. Spain attacked in the final minutes, hindering Croatia from making it past the midfield line. It was a decent effort from Croatia, but not enough. 

The match ended 3:5 for Spain. 

Spain plays against the winner of France and Switzerland, which we will find out tonight from 9 pm. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from June 20 - June 27, 2021

June 27th, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from June 20 through the selection of TCN's intern Marina Kaleb. 

Highlights of the week: Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 Opens at Canopy by Hilton

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kicked off the beginning of this week at Canopy by Hilton, one of 7 locations over 7 days, exploring 7 Digital Nomads related themes. The project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, TCN, Doma Zagreb, the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and the Zagreb Tourist Board (funded by the latter), and there was a high-profile turnout from the city and national officials to open the conference. 

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Croatia has been one of the more high-profile countries globally over the last year with its efforts to introduce the digital nomad permit, which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The 7 days each focused on the individual themes - cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, the future of work, wellbeing, and explore Zagreb. The keynote speakers are a mixture of in-person and remote speakers.

Highlights of the week: Basketball Legend Magic Johnson Returns to Dubrovnik! 

Magic Johnson's visit to Dubrovnik means he kept his promise of returning to the city. Johnson visited Croatia in the summer of last year. While strolling down Dubrovnik's main street Stradun he told a member of the media he finds the place beautiful and will be returning. Not even a year has passed, and he is once again seen smiling with his wife, Cookie, on one of Croatia's most beautiful streets.  

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Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL

It is unclear if Johnson will continue the trip to other parts of the country as he did last year. Low numbers of guests on the streets of Dubrovnik seem to be attracting plenty of wealthy tourists who do their best to avoid crowded beautiful destinations. 

Highlights of the week: EURO 2020: Croatia Tops Scotland for 2nd Place in Group D and Round of 16 Spot! 

Croatia tops Scotland 3:1 in the final Group D match for 2nd place and a spot in the Round of 16! The two nations played at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Tuesday night. 

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Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL

In the EURO 2020 round of 16, the Croatia national team will play against Spain on Monday night, the second-placed team from Group E in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the Croatian national team will play without Ivan Perišić, who tested positive for Covid-19 just before the game. Ivan Perišić could not play before the EURO final on July 11th at Wembley Stadium. We wish him an uneventful recovery and returning to football at Wembley on that day, with Croatia in the finals!

Highlights of the week: EURO 2020: Croatian Female Team Wins 3 Medals at EGOI: Amazing Results at First Female-Only European Informatics Olympics

Ema Borevković, Lina Krištić and Lara Semeš (from Zagreb's XV Gymnasium), and Martina Licul (Pulau Gymnasium) represented Croatia and the aftermath of the contest that gathered 157 contestants saw Ema winning a gold medal, while Lara and Martina grabbed silver medals for their results

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Pixabay

The contest was held online due to Covid-19 measures. The organization of the event for Croatian was arranged by the Croatian Computer Science Association (CCSA), and Zagreb's XV Gymnasium was the host of the event, where the studnets took the tests.

Highlights of the week: Lorde Returns to Her Roots for 2022 St. Michael's Fortress Spectacle in Šibenik

At an extremely exclusive concert with only 1,050 tickets on sale, the New Zealander with Croatian roots will recall some of her mega-hits from the first two albums and present "Solar Power," which will be released later this summer. Born in New Zealand, her mother has Dalmatian roots, and Lorde herself has dual citizenship.

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Lorde Instagram

On tour, Lorde plays in locations she personally chooses and wants to visit, mostly the best concert stages in the world. Thus, the special Šibenik fortress found itself on the list in the company of legendary concert destinations such as Radio City Music Hall in New York, Shrine Auditorium in LA, Roundhouse in London, or Castello di Villafranca in Verona.

 For more on events in Croatia, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

For more about education in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To follow the rest of the TCN coverage of the Euro 2020, click here.

For the latest news and features od digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Croatia Fans on Ferry from Germany to Denmark (PHOTOS)

June 27, 2021 - Croatia fans were spotted traveling on the ferry from Germany to Denmark on Sunday ahead of the round of 16 clash against Spain on Monday in Copenhagen. 

The Croatia national team will play their decisive round of 16 match against Spain tomorrow in Copenhagen, and unlike all Group D matches in London and Glasgow - Croatia fans are able to travel to Denmark with no problem. 

The Croatian Football Federation announced ticket sales earlier this week, which saw all 3,500 tickets in the Croatia sector sell out within hours. The Federation announced an additional 250 tickets for fans on Saturday, costing 1400 kuna for Category 1 and 950 kuna for Category 2. 

The excitement of fans and euphoria similar to that of the 2018 World Cup is hard to escape, and a red-and-white-check spectacle in Copenhagen is expected. 

Just a little over 24 hours before kick off, we are given a look into how Croatia fans across Europe are making their way to the Danish capital. 

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Tino Ostojić

Like these Croatia fans, for example, traveling from Nuremberg and Munich, Germany to Denmark by ferry!

Stay tuned as TCN will be reporting live from Copenhagen tomorrow. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

 

Sunday, 27 June 2021

HNS Statement: Apart from Perišić, No Other Croatia Players in Self-Isolation

June 27, 2021 - Are other Croatia players in self-isolation apart from Ivan Perišić? A look at who traveled to Copenhagen this morning. 

Ivan Perišić, the best scorer and one of Croatia's best players in the EURO 2020 group stage, has contracted COVID-19. 

Perišić tested positive on Saturday and cannot play in the round of 16 match against Spain in Copenhagen on Monday.

Instead of going to the match in Copenhagen, Perišić is going into self-isolation.

HNS issued a statement on whether there are other Croatia players in self-isolation:

"After the Croatian Football Federation received a test that showed that Ivan Perišić tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the medical service of the Croatia national team informed the competent epidemiological service about the situation and showed that the national team complied with all prescribed measures of the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters, as well as the measures of the UEFA Return to Play protocol.

According to the submitted information, the competent epidemiological service assessed that the measures were respected and that apart from the positive Ivan Perišić, who must undergo 10 days of isolation, other players and members of the staff and delegation should not go into self-isolation. The national team will fly from Pula to Copenhagen on Sunday at 10:35, where they will play against Spain in the round of 16 of the European Championship on Monday at 18:00.

We are aware that something like this can happen to any national team and individual. That is why we respect all the measures of the Headquarters from the first day, as well as the UEFA protocol, to prevent the possibility of isolation for several players. In the context of the new situation, the medical service is doing its best to prevent the possible spread of the virus, as we did successfully during the autumn when we had similar individual cases during the Nations League. This includes antigen testing that confirmed that there are no other infected members of the team. We are sorry that Ivan will not play against Spain, and we hope that COVID-19 will pass as quickly as possible and with as few symptoms as possible," said the doctor of the national team, Dr. Saša Janković.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Zlatko Dalić Ahead of Spain: Who Will Replace Ivan Perišić?

June 27, 2021 - Who will replace Ivan Perišić in the EURO 2020 round of 16 match against Spain? Zlatko Dalić addresses the press. 

Croatia will play the EURO 2020 round of 16 match against Spain on Monday at 6 pm in Copenhagen. Today, a press conference was held at which coach Zlatko Dalić and midfielder Marcelo Brozovic addressed the press, reports Jutarnji List.

The main topic was the match against Spain, although most questions were related to Ivan Perišić dropping out of the Euros after he tested positive for COVID-19. 

Perišić has to be isolated for ten days, which means he would miss the other knockout phases until the final. 

Zlatko Dalić announced that he will not change the concept of the game, which proved to be a winner, and that he has a real replacement for Ivan Perišić.

"I spoke to Perišić, he is upset, it's a shock, at the last minute we were left without the best player from the group stage. We have to adapt to that. He will be our fan. God willing that everything will be fine and we will pass, so he will join us in 7-8 days. We will play for him too. It is not easy for him, he lived for it, he is in great shape, he scored two goals, but it happened," said Dalić for Perišić and added:

"Spain certainly arranged the game so that they have a more defensive player on that side who would dedicate himself to Perišić. Now they might change that and put in a more offensive one again. We will go with the player who is most similar to Ivan."

Dalić did not say who will play on the left wing.

"I have said before that we have the best selection of players in that position. There is Brekalo, Rebić, and Oršić, who play it naturally in their clubs. If we agreed differently, Kramarić and Ivanušec are here. We are going for a natural solution; we will not think much; I believe that the replacement will be of good quality. Hard to be on the level of Perišić, but he can give a lot. So we’re not going to change much because we’re going to have to spin a couple of players; we’re going to play with the same option as it was before."

Is there a fear that there will be more infected?

"It was a shock for all of us, but we have been living under stress for more than a month. We are ready for that, we adhere to everything, and we are not afraid of anything. We do everything to prevent that from happening. I hope that it won't disturb us a lot and that we are ready for the game."

Spain is quite confident. Do you follow their media?

"We should not care who says what, whether someone underestimates us or not. We respect everyone, especially Spain, which is one of the best teams in Europe by tradition, and they are not happy to play with us either. We will not underestimate them; we will be maximally motivated and responsible, and it will be seen who is best in the end. We know what we want; it’s to move forward."

Will Ćaleta-Car play stopper?

"We will not change much; that is evident. If we rotated more positions to the players, that would not be acceptable for this game. It’s not my idea; it’s not my experiment. Let's go with the same game."

This time, Croatia will have the real support of the fans.

"It will be much nicer and more pleasant than in the first three games where it was really hard. The fans mean a lot to us, and we will do everything not to disappoint them."

One Spanish journalist asked Dalić if he agreed with Ivica Olić that the odds are 50:50 or is Spain still the favorite?

"We are playing against an excellent national team, but we can't say they are better than us. Although I have huge respect for the Spain coach and a team that knows what it wants. I believe in our team. But I don’t want to say we are worse than anyone; the chances are equal."

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

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