Friday, 21 June 2019

U21 Euros: Croatia Unlucky Against France in San Marino (1:0)

June 21, 2019 - In the second round of Group C of the U21 European Football Championship held in Italy and San Marino, the young Croatia national team met France. 

Recall, in the first round against Romania, Croatia lost 1:4 and thus significantly reduced their chances of playing in the semi-final of the tournament, which also secures a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Coach Nenad Gračan made three changes to the lineup compared to the first match against Romania. Namely, Brekalo and Benković could not start due to injury, and Halilović moved to the bench. Ivanušec replaced Halilović, while Uremović moved from right-back to stopper, and Borevković took his place on the right. Murić played on the left wing instead of Brekalo who suffered an injury in the first half of the game against Romania. 

France dominated the game from the start and capitalized on their first cross for a Dembele goal in the 8th minute. France almost increased their lead in the 12th minute though Posavec saved the day to keep the game 1:0. 

It seemed like just a matter of time before France scored their second, though it was Croatia to have a golden opportunity. Vlašić hit the perfect through ball to Jakoliš who just missed the far post. The game ended 1:0 for France at the half. 

France attacked at the start of the first half, though Posavec again was forced to defend Dembele - and succeeded. Croatia started stringing passes together and pushing shortly after - and there was an excellent chance by Murić and Jakoliš which France defended. 

Shortly after Brekalo was substituted in for Murić Croatia looked like a new team. They attacked and threatened France’s defense - and were even robbed by the referee when he refused to consult VAR after a clear handball in the box. 

Croatia had another stellar chance in the 68th minute when Brekalo hit a through ball to Kulenović who then hit the post. Croatia was getting close to an equalizer, but luck wasn't on their side.

Croatia had one last chance with a minute to go in regulation time, though Brekalo's free-kick went short. 

The game ended 1:0 for France.

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

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Croatia U-21 Team Prepares for First European Championship in 15 Years

After 15 years, the Croatia U-21 national team will play at the European Championships, which will be held from June 16 to 30 in Italy and San Marino, reports HRT on June 15, 2019. 

The last time the young Croatian side performed was at the 2004 European Championship in Germany, when the team led by Darijo Srna, Niko Kranjčar, and Eduardo da Silva did not advance out of their group. Croatia’s U-21s also participated in Slovakia in 2000 but failed to make it out of their group then, too. The team led by Stipe Pletikosa, Igor Tudor, and Jurica Vranješ finished last in their group.

Furthermore, in their two Euro appearances to date, Croatia’s young team did not win a single game, drew two, and felt defeat four times for a 7-11 ratio. 

This time, however, Croatia is going to the Euro with high ambitions. Ambitions so great they hope to place at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which has not been achieved by any Croatian football generation. A visa for Japan comes with a spot in the semifinal.

“Just making it to the European Championship is a success, but of course, we will not be satisfied with it, we are motivated to do something more. We have the talent, as well as the responsibility, compactness, homogeneity, and discipline for a good result. This generation breathes together, and we are lead by Croatia in Russia last summer,” said Croatia’s U-21 coach Nenad Gračan.

“We are also talking about possibly going to the Olympic Games, which would be a great achievement for all, and especially for me to go there as a coach. If we hope for it, maybe it will happen. That’s the sport,” the Croatian coach said.

The U-21 Euro will feature 12 teams divided into three groups of four teams. Croatia is in Group C together with France, England, and Romania. Group A boasts Italy, Spain, Poland and Belgium, and Group B Germany, Denmark, Serbia, and Austria.

The three group winners and the best second-placed team will secure a spot in the semifinal. However, in the event England makes the semis, they are not eligible for the Olympic tournament, which will result in a playoff between the second and third most successful second-placed teams from the three groups. 

Croatia will play all three group games in San Marino and will open the tournament on June 18 against Romania. Three days later, they’ll play against France, and in the final round on June 24, they’ll meet England.

“Romania kicked out Portugal and is coming with five A-team players. It will not be easy, but we will try to win. I'm sure none of our rivals are too happy to meet us. The tournament is demanding, with games every third day, and there won’t be many opportunities for rest,” Gračan added.

Germany will try to defend the title after defeating Spain 1:0 in the 2017 final. Italy holds the record five titles, while Spain has won four times. 

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

Sunday, 28 April 2019

More Than Third of Graduates with Diplomas in Croatia Unemployed

As Mirela Lilek/Novac writes on the 27th of April, 2019, Croatia's situation still isn't good: the country is continuing to ''produce'' graduates with the third lowest employment rate in the whole of the European Union, and as a result, taxpayers pay more and more money for them. According to new data from Brussels, based on a comparative survey of youth employment among Croats with diplomas earned in the last three years, a third of highly educated people aged between 20 to 34 in Croatia have no jobs. Only Italy and Greece are worse.

Of the 28 countries EU member states, Croatia ranked 26th with a 66 percent employability rate. Four positions above Croatia lies Romania, Bulgaria is six places above, and Slovakia is nine places above. Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, is eleven places above Croatia, Poland is thirteen places above (impressively right behind Ireland and Denmark), and the Czech Republic, with an 89.9 percent employability rate which has impressed the European Commission's experts - has risen to an enviable fourth place.

Malta is in first place in Europe as an employer of its graduates with diplomas, the employment rate of Maltese students stands at a very impressive 94.5 percent, even better than Germany, which boasts a rate of 90.9 percent, followed then by the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and then Austria. The EU average is on the rise, back in 2014 it stood at 76 percent and in 2018 it stood at 80.2 percent. Unfortunately, the Croats have been close to the bottom for years, more specifically for fifteen years, as it has a below-average rate of employability in relation to the EU. Of course, rather than attempt to fix the problem directly, the Croats are doing what the Croats always do - continuing to debate and argue over who is (more) to blame for such embarrassing conditions.

Economists see the issue as being that the Croats aren't adapting easily to the market, and that Croatia also has an old education system. At Croatia's universities, they argue that the key issue isn't Croatia's higher education institutions, but an underdeveloped labour market, low personal income, and demotivating working conditions. Experts from the European Commission have given a relatively simple answer: Investing in education will benefit everyone in Europe.

Let's see how they explain their theories in some of the country's universities, starting with the largest "producers" of graduates in the entire country, the Faculty of Philosophy and Economics in Zagreb.

''We're aware of the importance of linking study programs and labour market needs. In this regard, the Faculty of Economics makes an effort to make it easier for students to access the labour market by establishing multilateral cooperation with companies and respectable institutions that enable students to perform high-quality professional practices,'' stated Sanja Sever Mališ, who deals with strategic partnerships and projects at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. The basic message from this particular Zagreb university is that "they connect students and employers so their best students can find work even during their studies." Therefore, there is no concern for them.

On the other hand, Vesna Vlahović-Štetić, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, admits that Croatia's humiliating placement at the bottom of the employability scale of graduates is still something to be very concerned about and therefore the causes of that need to be looked at.

''I assume that part of the problem lies in insufficient development and the ability of the economy and the public sector to absorb newly graduated students. On the other hand, the question is how many colleges and higher education institutions meet the needs of society with their respective programs. At the state level, in some professions there's hyper-production, and in others there is a lack of experts. Additionally, study programs should be regularly updated and developed to meet not only society's needs but also predict what competences professionals will need in the future,'' the dean says.

Data obtained through the HKO project of the Faculty of Philosophy shows that the employability of their students in the year after graduation is 75 percent. They believe this is the result of "the excellent professional and generic competences of their graduates".

"We're convinced at the Faculty of Philosophy that the study programs need to be further improved, so we have just started the study reform process and I'm sure the future employability of our students will be even better," says the university's dean.

The rector of the University of Rijeka, Snježana Prijić Samaržija, doesn't want to run away from the fact that Croatia's universities do hold a share of the responsibility for this issue but, again, she's convinced that Croatia's higher education institutions are't the key cause of the problem, but the underdeveloped labour market definitely is.

Rijeka University has eleven faculties and four departments. On their official page, they point out that they are a modern European university and a centre of excellence within the region and beyond, and that they are responsible for the social and economic development of the community. Samardžija claims that she doesn't want to relate the worrying data on the high rate of unemployed with higher education, but that "it should be borne in mind that higher education is a better job-finding guarantee, such as landing a permanent position,"

"Of course, it's possible to say that the employment rate would be higher if universities, by some automation, increased their quotas for the job-type deficit and reduced those profiles for which the employment bureaus take care of. In that sense, people often say Croatia's institutions and their enrollment policies aren't adapted to the labour market. However, the situation isn't quite that simple.

For example, the market seeks shipbuilding engineers, we have shipbuilding studies and a corresponding quota at the University of Rijeka, but there's a fall in interest for those studies. We can understand the students' fears about the situation with Croatia's shipyards, but the fact is that the need for this profession is still growing. Similarly, despite the lack of mathematics and physics teachers and the excellent studies we have, the interest doesn't match the employment opportunities,'' she explained.

The University of Rijeka decided to put seven studies ''into retirement'' this year, and isn't accepting students for them. Those are acting and media, dental hygiene, computer science in combination with professional studies of medical-lab diagnostics, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, and electrical engineering.

On the other hand, there's a considerable level of interest in studies that don't guarantee quick and permanent employment at all, such as the arts, cultural studies, and psychology.

''Young people choose studies according to their personal interests, not just employment opportunities. They don't necessarily just want a permanent job, many of them are accustomed to gaining work experience in different institutions, at different places of work, and in different countries. More and more, they prefer to individually define the curriculum through courses and practical competences beyond their study program(s), which will make their expertise comparatively more special and desirable. In the midst of a sluggish and non-ethnological labour market, more and more students enjoy prolonged youthful relationships with their parents or rent apartments,'' says Snježana Prijić Samaržija.

"I don't want to run away from the responsibility of the university, we're constantly thinking about the jobs of the future, we're working on increasing the quota for the deficit professions and improving our students' competences to reduce the unemployment rate. However, time is needed to see the results of these measures because the higher education cycle lasts for at least five years. It should be understood that universities can't just simply increase quotas for occupations for which there's a labour market need because new employment is frozen,'' noted the Rector of the University of Rijeka.

As Croatia's paradoxical situation of having no work but plenty of jobseekers, yet plenty of work and no staff, it's hard to predict the outcome of education system reforms as the market and its needs can alter so rapidly. Will Croatian students simply continue to trickle away on the stream of a proverbial leaking tap out into Western Europe, leaving Croatia with the rather unenviable title of a country that educates its citizens for work abroad? It's likely such a scenario will continue at least for the foreseeable future. Whether or not Croatia will manage to make the necessary alterations to fix that aforementioned ''leaky tap'' in time remains to be seen.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle, politics and business pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Mirela Lilek for Novac/Jutarnji

Monday, 1 April 2019

Film about Vis Takes Home Main Award at Florence Film Festival

The stunning Croatian island of Vis takes to the screens as a film which showcases its sheer beauty rightfully wins big in Florence.

As Morski writes on the 1st of April, 2019, the film by Italian director Nicola Bongiorna "The Lions of Vis" won over both the public and panel in Florence, Italy, with a warm story about the Croatian island of Vis, its inhabitants, history, maritime heritage, fishermen, divers, and, above all, its story of love and respect for the sea.

"The Lions of Vis" (I Leoni di Lissa) won the main prize at the Florence Archeofilm Festival. Nicola Bongiorna's film describes the step by step process of a huge search under the sea for the wreck of a sunken Italian vessel - the Re d 'Italia ship from 1866, which sank with its 400 crew members.

The words of an Italian journalist, "The film isn't a historical story of the battle, but a story told through the astonishing beauty of the archipelago that speaks to the soul of the viewer, a film about the transparency of the sea that connects, and doesn't separate the people".

Some sequences of films from as far back as the 1930s and a film from the 1960s from the island of Vis were introduced, which the director used to reconstruct life on the island. Bongiorna also co-operated with prof. Josip Bozanić, who specialises in linguistics, and the film goes on to reveal many similar and even identical linguistic expressions used by people on both sides of the Adriatic coast.

Recalling the success of the film, the Italian media write that "the beauty of Dalmatia is borderless, and the islands are magical".

Nicola dedicated the film to no less than his own father, Mike, a renowned Italian TV quiz host, who taught him what it meant to fall in love with the sea.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Click here for the original articles by Pokret otoka (Island movement) and Slobodna Dalmacija

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Italian Who Fell in Love With Šibenik Rates City, Dalmatian Girls and Pizza

As Slobodna Dalmacija/Marija Loncar writes on the 13th of March, 2019, when he first came to Šibenik at the end of 2017 to volunteer at the Youth in the EU, 30-year-old Francesco Lombardi from a town near Naples had no idea he'd experience love at first sight upon arrival.

He had never been to Šibenik before and as he says himself, if someone had told him that after completing his eight-month volunteer job he'd want to stay here and get a job - he wouldn't have believed them.

Such is life, and that's exactly what happened, as Francesco said though a smile, he ''clicked'' with Šibenik at first sight. In addition, Dalmatian, therefore local Sibenik girls, he adds, are the most beautiful girls in Europe.

"Maybe I liked the city because of the sea, because my hometown is near the sea. The nature is beautiful, the old part of town is one of the most beautiful in Dalmatia. Moreover, with its beauty, Šibenik can easily stand alongside many cities in the world. Šibenik is a real little paradise!'' says the young Italian.

Francesco completed his studies in political science in Naples. After graduating, he volunteered, wrote music reviews, visited festivals and did interviews with musicians for local newspapers. He's interested in civic initiatives, and at one time formed an association with friends, wanting to further activate the citizens of Naples in solving their problems.

In Šibenik, Francesco, together with a fellow Romanian volunteer, first worked on the "Development in society" project, which was later selected by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programs as one of the examples of good practice of youth work and for young people, he'll travel to Brussels to present the project should he receive a positive decision on it from Zagreb in the coming days.

After completing that volunteer work, he remained in Šibenik and got hired by the Youth in the EU association and now, with a group of young people from Italy, Poland and Portugal, he's dealing with the issues of the future of the European Union and the importance of voting in the elections, ie the question - do we want to be citizens of the EU or just citizens in the EU - explains Francesco.

The project will be presented to all participants on the April the 16th in Šibenik, and Francesco's paid internship will be completed along with the project at the end of May. When that's done, will he seek a new job and stay in Šibenik? He still isn't sure.

''I feel very good here. Will I be here for amother five months or until the end of my life? I don't know. At the moment, I'm enjoying it as much as I can, because here, I do what I love and what I've been educated to do,'' he says.

In his leisure time, he loves to listen to music, he also loves sport. He used to play football, basketball, tennis, water skiing, but in Šibenik his hobbies are mainly music and movies.

''I miss having a cinema in town. If we want to watch movies, we need to go to Dalmare, and not all young people here have cars, so it's not really that easy for everyone. In the city I watched some movies organised by Kinoklub Šibenik. It's an interesting initiative,'' he says.

Although he's been living in Šibenik for almost a year and a half, Francesco admits that he doesn't understand Croatian as well as he'd like to, and part of the guilt for that he says, is shared by Šibenik's locals themselves.

''First if all Croatian is really difficult, and part of the guilt lies with me because I haven't been trying hard enough, but part of the guilt is in the hands of Šibenik's locals because they all speak good English. Not just young people but older people as well. They also speak Italian, but when I go to small shops and bakeries I always speak Croatian.

When I go out or to some cafe and when I meet up with people, it's always in Croatian. People tell me I speak well. Here young people speak great English. In all the countries of former Yugoslavia, in Albania... I travelled a lot of Europe and saw that people in all Slavic countries speak English well, but in Croatia it really stands out.

Although, as Francesco states, Šibenik locals are rather temperamental, just like his compatriots, they are slightly distant when it comes to making contact with new people. It's not easy to knock down this wall, but when it comes down to it, their friendship is deep and guaranteed.

''The coffee is very good here. But in Italy, when you order coffee, they know what you mean, and here there's a list of all different types: short, long, large, small macchiato, coffee with milk... In Italy coffee is a quick drink, and here if you order a coffee you know it will take you two hours... Drinking and talking... Pomalo (taking it easy),''

Somehow Francesco also managed to get used to some local pizzas, though, as he himself says, they have nothing on Italian pizzas. First of all because of the mozzarella, a cheese that his hometown is known for and without which there can be no real pizza.

''It's like going to Naples for a burek,'' laughs the Italian, who appears to have no plans to leave this stunning Dalmatian city any time soon.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.


Click here for the original article by Marija Loncar for Slobodna Dalmacija

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Ending: Croatian and Slovenian Surfers Found Safe

What could have very easily been a potentially devastating story of two Croatian and Slovenian surfers who decided to take to the extremely rough and dangerous waves on the Adriatic sea a few days ago have miraculously been found safe and well. While one of the surfers, a Croatian citizen, managed to somehow reach the shore in Croatia, his Slovenian counterpart went missing, only to have managed, rather incredulously, to have survived the high seas and end up on the shore not too far from Trieste, Italy.

As we reported yesterday, the waves recorded in certain parts of the Adriatic, more specifically around Palagruža, Croatia's most remote lighthouse island, were the highest they have been since back in 2004, reaching over seven metres in height, and when the news broke that a search for the missing surfer had begun, nobody could have imagined a happy ending. Incredibly, a happy ending came.

As Index writes on the 31st of October, 2018, the alarming story of the two missing people, Croatian and Slovenian surfers, broke yesterday. As stated, things looked far from promising that afternoon, when the two surfers disappeared in the stormy sea near Umag in Istria. Almost immediately,  the search began, which was largely limited due to dangerous weather conditions wreaking havoc on both the Croatian and the Italian sides of the Adriatic sea.

Despite the fact that the situation looked dire, that very same day, after several hours of searching, the Croatian surfer was found. He managed to battle the waves, and swim to the shore, saving himself.

The search for the Slovenian surfer, 47-year-old Goran Jablanov, had to be cut short due to darkness and terrible weather conditions out at sea. The search continued yesterday morning, but ended with no results, leaving everyone naturally expecting the worst. In the afternoon, however, some truly incredible news arrived from Italy. The Slovenian surfer, after more than 24 hours stuck in the stormy sea, managed to get to the shore not far from Trieste.

During these incomprehensible 24 hours spent in a stormy sea, he managed to cover about forty kilometres, according to a report from the Italian portal Il Piccolo, which brings about some new details about the rescue of this amazingly lucky Slovenian surfer.

As the Slovenian media also writes, the surfer came out of the sea himself, arriving on the beach of Costa dei Barbari, which is located about twenty kilometres from Trieste. He simply went into a nearby cafe and called for help there. He was quickly hospitalised, but was given the okay and released that same night.

''Lucky'' doesn't quite do this situation justice!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Šibenik Sailor Gives Up Mission to Brazil, Conditions on Atlantic Too Dangerous

Despite intense preparations and dogged determination, the dangers of the open Atlantic Ocean are too intimidating.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ophthalmologist Sailing from Šibenik to Brazil Conquers Italian Coast!

The journey so far hasn't been without its problems, but the sailor goes on!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Viktor Lenac Shipyard Gets New Owner

A new majority owner for Rijeka's Viktor Lenac shipyard.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Grants Available for Croatian Students in Trieste

All foreign students studying in Trieste, and there are very many of them, have the right to access grants.

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