Saturday, 11 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Moves into Second Round after Win against Belarus

January 11, 2020 - The Croatia handball team defeated Belarus in Graz 31:23 (15:10) in the second match of Group A at the European Championship. After an initial victory against Montenegro (27:21), and with Montenegro’s win against Serbia, the ‘Cowboys’ secured first place in the group and the second round of the tournament in Vienna.

Igor Karacic scored six goals for Croatia, while Luka Stepancic scored five, Domagoj Duvnjak scored four, and Luka Cindric and David Mandic scored three goals. Goalkeeper Marin Sego recorded seven saves. For Belarus, Mikita Vajlopau scored eight goals.

Lino Cervar's side opened the match excellently against Belarus. After the initial score of 1:1, they only increased their lead. After 11 minutes of play, Croatia led 6:2, and in the next minute came a five-goal advantage (7:2). Belarus managed to reduce the gap to two for 7:5. After Belarus came just a goal behind (7:6), Cervar called for a timeout. 

With two Karacic goals, Croatia was up by 3 for 11:8 in the 25th minute of the match. Cindric scored for 13:10 with two minutes remaining and Karacic’s new goal put Croatia up by 4 for 14:10. At 113 kilometers per hour, Cindric scored for 15:10. Croatia was then a player up. 

Duvnjak scored to open the second half and Croatia led 16:10. A Sego save was followed by Mandic's goal for 17:10. Stepancic increased the lead to +8 (18:10). Two more Stepancic goals followed, first for 20:11, then for 21:12. In the 44th minute, Croatia was up by10 for 24:14. Cervar finished the match by trying new combinations and rested the most important players. Josip Sarac scored two goals and Matej Asanin came in for Sego. 

The Montenegro handball team defeated Serbia 22:21 (11:10) in the second game of Group A. With this outcome, Croatia secured first place in the group and will move on to the second round in Vienna, where they will transfer a maximum of two points. Thus,  the Croatia-Serbia meeting on Monday is irrelevant.

Group A (Graz):

CROATIA - Belarus 31:23 (15:10)

Montenegro - Serbia 22:21 (11:10)

1. CROATIA 2 2 0 0 58:44 4

2. Belarus 2 1 0 1 58:61 2

3. Montenegro 2 1 0 1 43:48 2

4. Serbia 2 0 0 2 51:57 0

Source: HRT

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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team Opens Tournament with Win Against Montenegro

January 9, 2020 - The Croatia handball team opened the European Championship in Graz with a win against Montenegro 27-21 (12-13) in Group A.

Croatia and Montenegro met in front of 5,000 spectators on Thursday at the Stadthalle Hall in Graz, Austria, to begin their European Championship campaign.

Croatia showed a lot of weaknesses in the first half, especially in the defense, but the persistent Montenegrin team was broken at the beginning of the second half thanks to a 9-3 series. Croatia was phenomenal in the second half and overcame any weaknesses shown in the first.

Croatia started the match with two missed shots by Cindric, and their first goal came only in the 5th minute. Montenegro led 3-1. By the 19th minute, Croatia came to an advantage for the first time and was up by two goals (9-7).

However, Lino Cervar's side failed to reach a more significant advantage by the end of the first half. Moreover, Montenegrin goalkeeper Simic defended well, and with a mini-series of 4-0, Montenegro led 13-11 at the end of the half. Maric scored in the last second of the first half for 12-13.

At the beginning of the second half, and namely in the first five minutes, Croatia had a 5-1 series to lead 17-14. Croatia then increased their lead to 21-16 in the 46th minute. With a Mandic goal, Croatia increased their lead by six goals (23-17) and the Cowboys secured a peaceful ending to the game, with debutants Sarac, Ravnic, Matanovic and Hrstic entering the court. 

Luka Cindric was the most efficient for Croatia with six goals, followed by Marino Maric and Zlatko Horvat, who scored four each and Marin Sipic, who scored three goals. Montenegro was led by Nemanja Grbovic (6) and Vladan Lipovina (4).

In round 2 on Saturday, Croatia plays against Belarus at 4 pm, and Serbia-Montenegro will meet at 6.15 pm.

The two first-ranked teams from the group move to the second round in Vienna.

Source: HRT

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

Monday, 2 December 2019

Euro 2020: UEFA Grants Croatia Fans 14,000 Tickets for England Match in London

December 2, 2019 - Fourteen thousand lucky Croatia fans will be able to support the national team in their opening match of the Euros against England at Wembley. 

On Saturday, November 30, UEFA announced the number of tickets available for the European Championships next summer. 

“Fans of the 20 countries that have already qualified for UEFA EURO 2020 will be able to apply for tickets to watch their teams’ games when they go on sale exclusively at EURO2020.com on Wednesday 4 December at 14:00 CET. 

Supporters will have until 14:00 CET on 18 December to snap up these must-have tickets for the tournament, which celebrates 60 years of the UEFA European Football Championship, with the final at the world’s most famous football ground, Wembley Stadium in London. 

Supporters of the four teams who qualify through the European Qualifiers play-offs will be able to apply for tickets shortly after the completion of these matches, which will be played from 26 to 31 March 2020. 

Over half the tickets being made available for all games will be in the cheapest price category, with prices for group stage matches starting at €30 (in Baku, Bucharest and Budapest) and €50 in the other host cities. 

This latest round of sales follows the hugely successful general public ticket sales in summer 2019, when 19.3 million ticket requests were received between 12 June and 12 July 2019 for the 1.5 million tickets on offer. 

UEFA EURO 2020 is the biggest UEFA European Football Championship ever, with over 3 million tickets available, 82% of which are allocated to all fans,”  UEFA announced in a press release. 

Thus, Croatia and England fans will receive 28,000 tickets for the first-round match of Group D in London. There will be 14,000 tickets for Croatia fans for the first round of the Euros, scheduled for June 14 at Wembley Stadium in London. 

Niksa Martinac of HNS ticket distribution explained how things would work to 24 Sata

“The federations of the national teams playing each other will share the tickets available for the fans 50-50, with England as the host receiving 1,000 more tickets,” Martinac explained.

Applications for Croatia fans begin on December 4 and end on December 18. A quarter of the tickets held by HNS, which would mean 2,500 tickets for Glasgow, go to those who are old customers' through HNS, that is, those who have purchased tickets in the last three cycles - qualifications and Euros in France, qualifications and World Cup in Russia, and the Nations League. Those not included in that quarter enter the lottery, and everything goes through UEFA.

By the end of January, all those who have applied will be notified. Those who are not selected in the lottery will have a chance if someone fails to pay,” explains Martinac.

Croatia fans will receive 14,000 for the match against England and 10,000 tickets for the matches in Glasgow. The first category of tickets costs 185 euro, the second category 125, and the third category 50 euro.

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

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Euro 2020 Draw: Croatia in Group D with England, Czech Republic

November 30, 2019 - The Euro 2020 draw was held in Bucharest from 6 pm on Saturday. Croatia will play in Group D with England, the Czech Republic, and the winner of Nations League C. 

The draw for the highly anticipated Euro 2020 began at 6 pm in Bucharest, one of the 12 host cities of this first-time format. The draw included 20 national teams who have already qualified, while we'll find out the four remaining teams in March when the Nations League finals are held. 

Croatia was drawn into Group D with England, the Czech Republic, and the winner of Nations League C (Norway/Serbia v Scotland/Israel).

You can see all of the Euro 2020 groups below:

Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales

Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland

Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, A/D-League Playoff Winner

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, C-League Playoff Winner (Norway/Serbia v Scotland/Israel)

Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, winner of the B-League Playoff Winner

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, D/A-League Playoff Winner

The pots for the draw were as follows:

Pot 1: Italy, Belgium, England, Germany, Ukraine, and Spain

Pot 2: France, Poland, Switzerland, CROATIA, the Netherlands and Russia

Pot 3: Portugal, Turkey, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic

Pot 4: Finland, Wales, play-off A, play-off B, play-off C, play-off D

Recall that Croatia could only be drawn in groups A, D, E and F. 

Croatia could not be drawn into Group B, where Denmark and Russia are the hosts, and Group C, with the host Netherlands. Before Saturday, we knew that the possible opponents for Croatia were Italy, England, Spain, and Germany.

The first game of Euro 2020 will be played in Group A, in Rome, Italy starting at 9 pm. 

You can see a breakdown of the cities and stadiums hosting the competition below:

GROUP A

Rome (Italy) - Olimpico (72.698)

Baku (Azerbaijan) - Baku Olympic Stadium (68.700)

GROUP B

Saint Peterburg (Russia) - Gazprom Arena (68.134)

Copenhagen (Denmark) - Parken (38.065)

GROUP C

Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Johan Cruyff Arena (54.990)

Bucharest (Romania) - Arena National (55.600)

GROUP D

London (England) - Wembley (90.000)

Glasgow (Sweden) - Hampden Park (52.063)

GROUP E

Bilbao (Spain) - San Mames (53.332)

Dublin (Republic of Ireland) - Aviva (51.700)

GROUP F

Munich (Germany) - Allianz Arena (75.000)

Budapest (Hungary) - Puskas Arena (67.889)

ROUND OF 16

Bucharest, Copenhagen, Bilbao, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam

QUARTERFINAL

Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome, Baku

SEMIFINAL

London

FINAL

London

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

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Euro 2020: Potential Opponents for Croatia Revealed

November 20, 2019 - Who can Croatia potentially face at the Euros next summer? A closer look.

After Tuesday's games, we know the 20 national teams that directly qualified for the European Championships next year. 

Four more national teams will be hoping for a spot at the Euros through additional qualifications based on their placement in the Nations League.

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Switzerland, Denmark and Wales will play at the tournament next summer, which opens on June 12 in Rome and ends on July 12 at Wembley in London. 

What awaits Croatia? Index.hr breaks it down.

Croatia won their qualifying group but failed to be among the top six national teams in the qualifications and will be placed in the second group of the draw, or the second strongest rankings.

For the first time in history, the draw will not use national team rankings by UEFA, but by rankings from these qualifications. 

Pot 1: Italy, Belgium, England, Germany, Ukraine, and Spain

Pot 2: France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Russia

Pot 3: Portugal, Turkey, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic

Pot 4: Finland, Wales, Playoff A, Playoff B, Playoff C, Playoff D

The teams will be divided into four groups with six teams each. There will be six top-ranked national teams in the first. The second will have the remaining four top-ranked teams (including Croatia) and the two best second-placed national teams. The third group will have the remaining second-best teams and the last will have the two worst runner-up teams and four additional qualification winners. Additional qualifications are completed by the Nations League ranking (A, B, C, and D).

As Germany defeated Northern Ireland in the last round, they secured a position in the first pot and pushed the Netherlands into the second, which also includes Croatia. This means that Croatia will not be able to play against the Netherlands or any other national team from this group. 

Why can't Croatia play against Belgium and Ukraine?

Croatia knew before the draw that it would certainly not play in Group C, as the host of the group is the Netherlands, who is in their group. The Netherlands will thus balance forces with Ukraine, while the other host of Group C, Romania, must successfully complete additional qualifications to compete in that group.

Croatia also cannot play against Belgium. Why?

Russia is the second seed, like Croatia, and is guaranteed to host a game in St. Petersburg. Denmark, the third seed, is also hosting a game in Copenhagen. Given that Russia cannot be in the same group as Ukraine, the only remaining first seed in that group is Belgium.

Thus, Croatia’s possible strongest rivals are Italy, England, Spain and Germany.

Potential groups

Group A: Italy, France / Poland / Switzerland / Croatia, Portugal / Turkey / Austria / Sweden / Czech Republic, Wales or Finland

Group B: Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Wales or Finland

Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Portugal / Turkey / Austria / Sweden / Czech Republic, winner of Group A, C or D in additional qualifications

Group D: England, France / Poland / Switzerland / Croatia, Portugal / Turkey / Austria / Sweden / Czech Republic, Group C or D Winner in additional qualifications

Group E: Spain, France / Poland / Switzerland / Croatia, Portugal / Turkey / Austria / Sweden / Czech Republic, Group B Winner in additional qualifications

Group F: Germany, France / Poland / Switzerland / Croatia, Portugal / Turkey / Austria / Sweden / Czech Republic, winner of Group A, C or D in additional qualifications

For the first time in history, additional qualifications are completed according to results from the Nationals League. The Euro draw will take place on November 30 in Bucharest, but additional qualifications will only be played from March 26 to 31 next year.

There will be four separate mini-tournaments played in the Final Four format. A draw will determine the host of the finals of each mini-tournament, but it will certainly be one of the teams participating in that tournament.

For now, it is known that in League B, Bosnia and Herzegovina will host Northern Ireland and Slovakia will host Ireland in one game. The winners will compete for one spot from that division.

In League D, Georgia - Belarus and Northern Macedonia - Kosovo will play, and in League C Norway and Serbia and Scotland against either Bulgaria - Israel - Hungary - Romania.

The other three will go to the League A play-offs, with only Iceland not directly qualifying for the Euro. The League A and League C playoff draw will be held this Friday at Nyon at noon.

League A

Iceland - Bulgaria / Israel / Hungary / Romania, the second pair between these teams

League B

BiH - Northern Ireland, Slovakia - Ireland

League C

Scotland - Bulgaria / Israel / Hungary / Romania, Norway - Serbia

League D

Georgia - Belarus, North Macedonia - Kosovo

Twenty-four national teams will play in the European Championships and matches will be played in 12 countries. National teams will be divided into six groups of four teams, and the two best national teams from each group and four best third places will move forward. This decision was made seven years ago to mark the 60th anniversary of the first European Championship. 

The first game will be played in Group A, in Rome, Italy starting at 9 pm. 

You can see a breakdown of the cities and stadiums hosting the competition below:

GROUP A

Rome (Italy) - Olimpico (72.698)

Baku (Azerbaijan) - Baku Olympic Stadium (68.700)

GROUP B

Saint Peterburg (Russia) - Gazprom Arena (68.134)

Copenhagen (Denmark) - Parken (38.065)

GROUP C

Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Johan Cruyff Arena (54.990)

Bucharest (Romania) - Arena National (55.600)

GROUP D

London (England) - Wembley (90.000)

Glasgow (Sweden) - Hampden Park (52.063)

GROUP E

Bilbao (Spain) - San Mames (53.332)

Dublin (Republic of Ireland) - Aviva (51.700)

GROUP F

Munich (Germany) - Allianz Arena (75.000)

Budapest (Hungary) - Puskas Arena (67.889)

ROUND OF 16

Bucharest, Copenhagen, Bilbao, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam

QUARTERFINAL

Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome, Baku

SEMIFINAL

London

FINAL

London

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

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Croatia is Going to Euro 2020: What's Next?

November 17, 2019 - The Croatia national team secured their spot at the European Championships next summer after defeating Slovakia 3:1 in Rijeka on Saturday night. Here’s what they can expect next. 

The first part of the qualifications for the 2020 European Championships will end on Tuesday when the final group games are scheduled. After Tuesday, we will know twenty national teams that have qualified, who will compete in the tournament from June 12 to July 12 in twelve host cities in twelve different countries. 

The national teams confirmed for the Euros so far include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine. 

The first game will be played in Group A, in Rome, Italy starting at 9 pm. 

You can see a breakdown of the cities and stadiums hosting the competition below:

GROUP A

Rome (Italy) - Olimpico (72.698)

Baku (Azerbaijan) - Baku Olympic Stadium (68.700)

GROUP B

Saint Peterburg (Russia) - Gazprom Arena (68.134)

Copenhagen (Denmark) - Parken (38.065)

GROUP C

Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Johan Cruyff Arena (54.990)

Bucharest (Romania) - Arena National (55.600)

GROUP D

London (England) - Wembley (90.000)

Glasgow (Sweden) - Hampden Park (52.063)

GROUP E

Bilbao (Spain) - San Mames (53.332)

Dublin (Republic of Ireland) - Aviva (51.700)

GROUP F

Munich (Germany) - Allianz Arena (75.000)

Budapest (Hungary) - Puskas Arena (67.889)

ROUND OF 16

Bucharest, Copenhagen, Bilbao, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam

QUARTERFINAL

Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome, Baku

SEMIFINAL

London

FINAL

London

The draw for the final tournament takes place at ROMEXPO in Bucharest on Saturday, November 30 at 6 pm. 

The draw will involve the two top teams in the ten qualifying groups and the eventual four play-off winners (decided in March 2020, and identified as play-off winners. Recall, the final four places at the Euros are determined by the Nations League playoffs, which you can read more about here.  

UEFA writes that the seedings are based on overall European Qualifiers rankings, including: 

a) final position in group

b) points

c) goal difference

d) goals scored

e) away goals scored

f) number of wins

g) number of away wins

h) lower disciplinary points total (3 points for red card including for second booking, 1 point for single yellow card for a player in a match)

i) position in overall UEFA Nations League rankings

Croatia has a virtually confirmed among the top seeds, with Belgium and Italy being the only safe thus far. But there are also complications with these seeds. Some national teams may have to be transferred to a higher or lower qualitative group in order for the draw to be concluded normally. In addition, for political reasons, neither Russia, which has qualified, nor Kosovo, which can still qualify, can go to Group B.

All will be made more apparent after Tuesday, when the group qualifications are over and when we find out who qualified directly and must still qualify via the Nations League play-offs.

For now, we can be thankful that Croatia didn’t complicate their route to the tournament next summer. 

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

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Slovakia in Rijeka, Secures Euro Spot!

November 16, 2019 - The Croatia national team and Slovakia met in Croatia's final Euro 2020 qualifier of Group E on Saturday night at Rujevica stadium in Rijeka. 

Croatia played their final qualifying match for placement in the European Championship next year on Saturday night in rainy Rijeka to just over 8200 fans.

Dalic's side was without World Cup stars Ivan Rakitic, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida and Andrej Kramaric, and played with a younger squad that included Dominik Livakovic, Tin Jedvaj, Duje Caleta-Car, Dino Peric, Borna Barisic, Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, Ante Rebic, Nikola Vlasic, Ivan Perisic and Bruno Petkovic. Recall, Croatia defeated Slovakia 4:0 in Trnava back in September. Croatia started the game at the top of Group E. 

Croatia had their first attack of the game already in the second minute - Perisic crossed into the box though Slovakia defended. Bruno Petkovic forced Croatia's first corner in the 4th minute. Modric played it short to Borna Barisic, who failed to get a good shot in. 

A brilliant play by Nikola Vlasic found Petkovic, who played the ball to Modric. Modric's shot was defended by the Slovakia defense, though the play ultimately resulted in a corner. 

Slovakia's first corner came in the 11th minute, though Barisic had no problem clearing it out. Slovakia was beginning to attack, but Croatia's defense remained solid. 

Croatia was beginning to press but was unable to string plays together in the box. Another corner in the 20th minute saw Caleta-Car head the ball into the keeper. 

Nikola Vlasic played Brozovic in the 24th minute, which he hit wide of the goal. A brilliant Modric cross found the head of Vlasic moments later, which the keeper tapped over the goal for a corner, though they were unable to capitalize. 

Slovakia was dangerous in the 29th minute though Livakovic was there to save the day. Croatia seemed to control the game with 15 to go in the first half. However, one minute later, Slovakia had their chance - Bozenik scored for 0:1. 

Croatia picked up their game in the minutes that followed and pressed Slovakia's defense. Perisic almost scored the equalizer, though the Slovakia keeper was quicker to the ball. 

In the 38th minute, Petkovic fired at the keeper who made a brilliant save to keep Slovakia in the lead. The atmosphere at Rujevica was dulling. Slovakia had two more dangerous attacks with a minute to go and Croatia's fragile defense was lucky it wasn't more. One last attack for Croatia was unfruitful. The game ended 0:1 at the half. 

Dalic made no changes to the lineup to begin the second half. 

A Croatia corner in the 53rd hit the post.  Another corner in the next play saw Rebic hit over the goal. Josip Brekalo went in for Rebic in the 53rd. 

Croatia was pressing and the fresh legs helped. They finally had their chance in the 55th minute - Nikola Vlasic scored for 1:1! 

A quick counter for Croatia in the 58th resulted in a corner, which found the head of Bruno Petkovic for 2:1! The Dinamo star almost had his second goal in the 61st but shot at the keeper. Brekalo shot from outside the box moments later but hit over the goal. The atmosphere at Rujevica was far better in the second half. 

Slovakia's Hak received his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute and was forced to play a man down for the rest of the game. 

Perisic played a perfect through ball to Brekalo in the 70th though the keeper pushed him to the goal line for an out. 

Croatia was on fire - and a brilliant cross by Barisic found the foot of Perisic for a volley into the goal. The game was now 3:1! 

Mateo Kovacic came on for Nikola Vlasic in the 74th minute.  

Croatia had another stellar chance in the 77th - Brekalo stole the ball from the Slovakia defender, played Modric to Petkovic, who played Perisic, though he shot just wide of the goal. 

Brekalo had an unlucky shot at the keeper in the 80th. Mislav Orsic was subbed on for Perisic in the 81st.

A few more attacks in the final minutes of the game proved unsuccessful, and the game ended 3:1 for Croatia! 

With this win, Croatia finishes at the top of Group E and secures their spot at the Euros next summer! 

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

Monday, 28 October 2019

Zlatko Dalic Announces Player List for Slovakia Qualifier in Rijeka

October 28, 2019 - Croatia welcomes their last Euro 2020 qualifier next month against Slovakia as the first team in the group. Zlatko Dalic has announced the player list. 

On Saturday, November 16, at 8:45 pm, Croatia and Slovakia will play their last Euro 2020 qualifier at Rujevica stadium in Rijeka. Three days later, a friendly against Georgia is scheduled in Pula.

The team will gather in Zagreb on November 11, where they will hold a charity dinner for the Vatreno Srce Foundation the same evening and will stay in Opatija from November 12 to prepare for the match against Slovakia at NK Rijeka’s stadium. 

On Monday, coach Zlatko Dalic announced the list for the upcoming qualifier, which features the return of two important players - Marseille stopper Duje Ćaleta-Car was called back to the national team for objective reasons, while striker Andrej Kramarić, who scored two goals after returning to the pitch just a week ago, has recovered from his injury.

There is no Domagoj Vida or Dejan Lovren on Dalić's list, as they cannot compete against Slovakia due to yellow cards. The player list also includes four potential call-ups - Marko Rog, Filip Bradarić, Marin Leovac and Josip Juranović, who will be activated if the need arises before the first or second game.

“There is a big game ahead of us in Rijeka and I fully believe these players will respond to such a challenge in the right way. We will not be distracted by the match in Trnava, Slovakia is a very good team and can be a very dangerous opponent. Still, Croatia has higher quality, experience and the overwhelming ambition to cheered for as a nation like in Russia. With the support of the full stadium, I do not doubt a positive and successful finish to these qualifications,” said coach Zlatko Dalic.

Recall, Croatia topped Slovakia 4:0 in Trnava in September. 

List of players for Slovakia and Georgia:

Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinić (Aston Villa), Dominik Livaković (Dinamo), Simon Sluga (Luton Town)

Defenders: Tin Jedvaj (Augsburg), Matej Mitrović (Club Brugge), Borna Barišić (Glasgow Rangers), Karlo Bartolec (Kobenhavn), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Marseille), Mile Škorić (Osijek), Dario Melnjak (Rizespor), Dino Perić (Dinamo)

Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta), Nikola Vlašić (CSKA Moskva)

Attackers: Ivan Perišić (Bayern), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim), Ante Rebić (Milan), Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg), Bruno Petković (Dinamo), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo)

Call-ups: Marko Rog (Cagliari), Filip Bradarić (Hajduk), Marin Leovac (Dinamo), Josip Juranović (Hajduk)

Source: Gol.hr

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

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Croatia Women's Water Polo Team Qualifies for Euro 2020!

October 27, 2019 - Croatia will have two national teams at the European Water Polo Championships in Budapest next January! 

Namely, Croatia’s female side won their second qualifying match against Portugal in Sibenik on Saturday and thus qualified as one of the 12 women's teams in Europe next year. The victory can be attributed to the second and third quarter of Saturday’s game, when Croatia led for the first time by 2 and 3 goals, respectively.

Portugal led from the start (0:1), though Domina Butic and Ema Carevic quickly reversed the result (2:1). Machado equalized (2:2), to which Miljkovic answered with a goal for the new lead (3:2). Portugal closed the first quarter with a goal for 3:3.

Although Croatia wasn’t particularly good at realizing their chances with a player up, Portugal was even weaker, mostly due to Croatia’s defense, headed by the goalkeeper Ratkovic.

In the second quarter with a 3:3 result, Lousa failed to realize a five-meter shot for Portugal, and from that moment, Croatia began to improve. By the end of that stretch, Domina Butic scored her second goal, and a minute before halftime, Emma Miljkovic led Croatia to a 5:3 advantage. When Ana Miroslavic scored for 6:3 before the end of the match, Croatia could already begin celebrating. Especially when Portugal's best player, Ines Braga, earned her third personal foul four minutes before the final buzzer.

For the third consecutive European Championship and fourth time ever, Croatia will have two national teams in the tournament. 

The Croatia women's national team coach Mario Caleta did not hide his enthusiasm for the win.

“In Sibenik, in front of our audience, we qualified for the European Championships. We got together here for the first time two months ago, and have completed this action in the most successful way possible. First of all, we had a solid defense, which brought victory, and that's why I won't single out any players. They are all deserving. Now the girls will take a little break before reuniting in mid-December to begin preparations for the European Championships. The group is basically ideal; we have the chance for a spot in the quarterfinal, and that will be our goal.”

In addition to the match between Croatia and Portugal, other qualifying games for the European Championships in Budapest were played on Saturday night. Germany, Israel, Slovakia, France, and Serbia also qualified for the Euros next year. 

Other results: Germany - Romania 14:11, Switzerland - Israel 10:16 (6:13), Turkey - Slovakia 9:16 (9:19), Serbia - Czech Republic 19: 8 (25: 6) and Ukraine - France 6:13 (1:20).

The results of the first matches are in parenthesis. 

The European Championships will be held in Budapest from January 12 to 26, 2020. 

Source: HVS

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

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

HNS Puts End to Speculation: Croatia and Slovakia WILL Play in Rijeka

October 16, 2019 - A press release by HNS on Wednesday regarding the location of Croatia's final Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia next month. 

"The Croatian Football Federation has put an end to the speculation on possibly changing Croatia’s home match against Slovakia and confirms that the decisive match for EURO 2020 will be played on November 16 at the HNK Rijeka stadium, as originally decided.

As the HNS Executive Board decided at a session held on July 11 this year, the Croatia-Slovakia match in the European Qualifications for EURO 2020 will be played in Rijeka. Recall that the Croatian national team needs one point in that match in order to secure a spot in the European Championships next year. 

Considering the extreme importance of the match, the HNS management considered the possibility of playing in a larger stadium that could meet the expected great interest of Croatian fans. However, the previously held view is that the qualifications will be played in the four largest Croatian cities and after Zagreb, Osijek and Split, the World Cup finalists will be welcomed in this cycle by Rijeka.

The unique view of HNS is that in Rijeka, the team will have ideal conditions for their preparations for the match and great support at the HNK Rijeka stadium. Information about ticket sales will be published at a later date on the HNS website."

Recall, Croatia last played at Rujevica behind closed doors in a UEFA Nations League match against England on October 12, 2018. They played a friendly in front of fans against Jordan there three days later. 

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