Thursday, 29 July 2021

Gold Medal Match Between Croatian Players for the First Time Ever!

July 29, 2021 - Historic! An unthinkable and spectacular event has happened today not only in Croatian sports history but also in the Olympic Games. Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić have won today and there will be a Gold Medal Match between Croatian players in Tokyo 2020!

The morning got off to a great start for Croatia at the Olympics, after the couple Marin Cilić and Ivan Dodig beat their New Zealand rivals in the semi-final, thus securing at least one medal for their country. But in recent days, everyone was closely following the fact that two pairs of Croatian tennis players reached the semifinals, as the brand-new champions of the doubles category at Wimbledon, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, had also managed to reach those instances.

With the four Croatian tennis players in the semifinals, a bronze medal was already confirmed for the Croatian delegation. But with today's victory for Cilić and Dodig (6-2, 6-2) over their New Zealand counterparts Daniell and Venus, Croatia had already secured at least one silver medal. Even before it happened, everyone was wondering, "What if there was a final between Croats?".

And that's how it went from imagination to reality. Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defeated their American rivals Krajicek and Sandgren (6-4, 6-4), and Croatia thus secured a gold and silver medal in tennis in the doubles category, in what will be an unprecedented and exciting Croatian Gold Medal match in a tennis final.

To reach the grand final, Mektić and Pavić had to beat Brazilians Demoliner and Merlo in a close match (7-6, 6-4) in the first round. They then beat the Italians Musetti and Sonego in the second round, also in a difficult match (7-5, 6-7, 10-7). This earned them qualification for the quarterfinals, where they beat the locals McLachlan and Nishikori (6-3, 6-3). At this point, the dream of the Olympic medal was already approaching, with the Croatian tennis players in the semifinals. Today they beat Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 6-4 in both sets, in a match that lasted 1 hour and 21 minutes.

Mektić and Pavić, the best tennis pair of today, have 51 victories and only five defeats this year. They both arrived in Tokyo as the recent champions of the Wimbledon doubles tournament this month.

Croatian sport reaches a historic moment with the first tennis doubles final between Croatian players, something that, although it is not the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, happened only in 1904 between American players and for the last time four years later, in 1908 between British players. So it has been 113 years since this incredible gold medal match feat was not attested.

The game is scheduled for tomorrow, and although the exact time is not yet confirmed, it is believed that it will be played around 8, after the bronze match between New Zealanders and Americans.

It is true that, although four Croatian tennis players will compete for first place, only two of them will be able to win the long-awaited gold medal. However, it can be said from now on that, regardless of the result, it is a historic moment and a great joy for Croatian tennis and sport in general. Congratulations to Mate Pavić, Marin Cilić, Nikola Mektić, and Ivan Dodig for the success!

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

To learn more about the history of sport in Croatia and everything about its most famous athletes, be sure to check Total Croatia's guide.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

First Boxer for Croatia at 2020 Olympic Games: Luka Plantić is Going to Tokyo!

June 6, 2021 - Luka Plantić is the first Croatian boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo!  

Luka Plantić (24) won a spot in the quarterfinals of the Olympic qualifiers in the light heavyweight category (81 kg) against Irishman Emmat Brennan and became the first Croatian boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, reports T.portal

Plantić started the match aggressively against the powerful Brennan, and in the first minute, the referee counted on the Irish boxer. The Sesvete fighter kept his advantage until the end, and all five referees gave him their vote and unanimously declared him the winner.

At the beginning of the qualifications in London in 2020, Plantić defeated Austrian seed Umar Dzambekov, and on Friday, broke the Armenian Gora Nersesyan in the first round.

"We worked for this moment for a year and were preparing for the qualifiers. I came fully ready, made great progress, and knew that no one could stop me. The quarterfinals against the Irish boxer was like a World Cup final to me, a lot of pressure, and as I announced - I knew I was a bigger fighter than him and than anyone and that I would prove it. It wasn’t easy; he’s excellent, he didn’t give up all three rounds. I had the strength for a few more rounds, but after the first two, it was clear that I had a big advantage and that I could also save a little for the semi-finals. The fight with Whittaker will be much more relaxed, without pressure, now I will enjoy boxing, and we will celebrate the success upon our return to Croatia," said Luka.

Earlier, Croatian boxer Marko Milun (24) failed to qualify for the Olympic qualifiers quarterfinals in Paris in the super heavyweight category (+91 kg). In the round of 16, Milun lost by unanimous decision of the refs (5-0) to the favorite of the category, Briton Fraser Clarke. The more experienced Clarke managed to impose his style of fighting and used more weight. From such a static, dirty fight with a lot of pushing and wrestling, pulling and holding Milun, Clarke managed to place two strong shots in the first and second rounds, forcing the ref to count Milun twice. On his Facebook profile, the modest athlete from Dicmo, a member of Leonard from Zagreb, realistically assessed the long-awaited fight with the powerful Briton:

"Today marks the end of a major chapter in my life. Everything I did, I did precisely because of this opportunity that I unfortunately missed. As for the fight, I never got away with it, so that I won't do it this time either. We both did our best, and in the heat of the fight, I lost consciousness at the very beginning. I suspect a punctured eardrum, but whatever it is, I was not fully aware of the fight," said Milun.

He is left hoping that he can go to Tokyo through the World Boxing Federation ranking list because only four super heavyweights will qualify directly from Paris, i.e., only the semifinalists.

Nikolina Ćaćić, in the 57 kg category, will fight in the quarterfinals for Tokyo on Sunday, June 6, in the afternoon program.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Monday, 15 March 2021

No Olympic Games for Croatia Handball for First Time in 21 Years

March 15, 2021 - There will be no Olympic Games for Croatia handball in Tokyo this summer for the first time since 2000. With Portugal's win against France on Sunday, Croatia failed to qualify for the Games. 

Croatia was left without the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo after the qualifying tournament in Montpellier came to an end. This means that Croatia will not participate in 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.

Croatia, unfortunately, did not only rely on themselves to qualify for the Games. Even after beating Tunisia on Sunday, they had to wait for the result between France and Portugal.

The one scenario that would keep Croatia out of the Games unraveled and Portugal celebrated in a dramatic match against France with a score of 29:28. With this victory, France and Portugal qualify for the Olympic Games. 

Croatia would have secured a spot in Tokyo with France's victory against Portugal and a draw. If France lost by up to seven points, Portugal and Croatia would have gone to the Games.

France will advance from qualifying group 2, Norway and Brazil from group 1, and Sweden and Germany from group 3.

Japan as the host, Denmark as the 2019 world champion, Spain as the current European champion, Egypt as the African champions, Argentina as the Pan-American champions, and Bahrain as the winner of the Asian qualifiers have already secured their place in Tokyo this summer. 

The handball tournament groups at the Olympic Games in Tokyo are also known.

The four best national teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games.

Olympic Groups
Group 1: Denmark, Spain, Argentina, France, Sweden, Brazil

Group 2: Egypt, Bahrain, Japan, Portugal, Germany, Norway


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