Saturday, 6 February 2021

Croatia and USA Water Polo Teams Training in Zagreb ahead of Olympic Qualifiers

February 6, 2021 - The Croatia and USA water polo teams are currently in Zagreb as the 'Barracudas' prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rotterdam from February 14 to 21, 2021. 

HVS reports that the USA joined Croatia in Zagreb for their Olympic qualifying preparations before the team heads to Rotterdam next week. The USA national team led by Serbian expert Dejan Udovicic will play five training matches with Croatia, while two of them will be official matches. In other words, matches with referees, a scoreboard, and timekeeping.

"We couldn't have wished for a better sparring partner at this moment and for what awaits us. They are a phenomenally physically fit team, exceptional swimmers. They have a rough style of play that is on the verge of exclusion or personal fouls, and that is how I expect Russia and Germany to play against us in Rotterdam in the group. Both France and the Netherlands will probably try because they are technically inferior to us, but they can match our strength, wrestling, and swimming. Thus, the USA will be of great help to us before the tournament in Rotterdam," said Croatia coach Ivica Tucak before the first match on Saturday evening at 7 pm.

For the past few months, the USA first worked together with Greece in Athens, then won the tournament in Podgorica, defeating Montenegro and the B team of Serbia, and before arriving in Zagreb, trained with Serbia in Belgrade. After Zagreb, they plan to train with Italy in Recco. What is special about the current USA national team is that atypical for pre-Olympic years, many of their national team players are playing in Europe. Most of them, as many as 13 of them, are in Greece, and one member of Team USA is also in Croatia - Alex Obert at Jug Adriatic Osiguranje. The reason is quite clear, in the USA, there are mostly universities, while sports complexes and swimming pools are closed. Since there are no competitions, it is only logical that their national team members enjoy what Europe offers. 

Two of the Croatia-USA matches are friendly, though they should have a competitive zeal. Apart from the American way of approaching sports, it should be noted that Croatia will play with full force, especially after Tucak announced that these two games should dispel any minor doubts he has about the player list for Rotterdam.

"These few days with the Americans will surely come in handy. The staff will get an even clearer picture of the team to make the best use of it in Rotterdam," adds the captain of the national team Andro Bušlje.

Center Luka Lončar added:

"What we are doing here now is the final glaze, implementing the coach's tactical ideas, as if we were at the highest level in Rotterdam. The atmosphere is great, as if we have been working together, playing together, and have been friends for several years."

Croatia and the USA will also meet on Sunday, February 7 at 7 pm. Since spectators are not allowed at the Sava swimming pool, you can watch both matches live on Planet Sport 1 or stream them at the Croatian Water Polo Federation Facebook page (

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

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Want to Catch Bogdanovic & Co. in Split? Croatia's Olympic Qualifying Games Announced

February 20, 2020 - Croatia will open its first game of the Olympic Qualifying Basketball Tournament in Split against Brazil, and play its second game a day later against Tunisia.

FIBA has announced the schedule and times for the final basketball qualifiers for the Olympic Games, which will be played in Croatia, Canada, Lithuania and Serbia from June 23 to 28. 

Croatia will thus play its first game in Group B on June 24 at 8 pm against Brazil, and the second game on June 25 against Tunisia at 8 pm. Germany, Russia and Mexico will play in Group a. If Croatia makes it to the semifinals, they will play against the national teams in Group A on the weekend of June 27.

The qualifiers are played in four different tournaments, each with six participants, and only the winners of the tournament will qualify for the Olympics. Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Nigeria, Spain, the United States and Japan have already qualified for the 2020 Olympics.

In addition to Split, other cities hosting the qualifying tournament are Belgrade, Kaunas and Victoria. A total of 24 nations will compete in the tournaments, with only tournament winners going to the Olympics.

"The tournament in Split is one big event and promotion not only for basketball but for the whole of Croatia. We hope for a good atmosphere and once again thank the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Split and Split-Dalmatia County. We hope that the team will be complete and that everyone will be healthy and we can look forward to the Olympic Games. We are about to begin qualifying for the European Championships that await us in 2021. On Friday, we play against Sweden, after which we play with the Netherlands. These two games are extremely important for us. After that, we expect the HT Premier League championship finals, and then we are preparing for this tournament.”

All fans looking to cheer on Croatia in Split can purchase tickets from February 26 through

“The Split tournament is, in my opinion, the most important event in Croatian sport in 2020, and the importance and weight are in the opponents, system and organization. FIBA has risen to a higher level of quality since EuroBasket in 2015. We recognized this tournament as a top event that has the opportunity to be played in Croatia. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister and the Government of the Republic of Croatia for recognizing this. What awaits us in Split is the ultimate spectacle for all sports fans, especially basketball. Until the tournament, we will work on the animation and promotion of basketball and take this opportunity to raise basketball to another level,” said the Secretary-General of the Croatian Basketball Federation, Josip Vranković.

Qualifying for the Olympic Games and representing their country is a dream of all athletes, which guarantees that exciting basketball awaits us in Split. The Croatia national team will have a slight advantage as they will have support from the Split stands.

‘’I hope we can show a good game in front of our home crowd on Friday and win. We expect that the Drazen Petrovic hall will be packed to the last place and that together with our fans, we will have a positive atmosphere before this last Euro qualifier against the Netherlands and before the Olympic tournament in Split in June.

When we finish these games, we will start preparing for the Split tournament, talk to all the players to get ready for the summer,” said Croatian basketball team coach Veljko Mrsic.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 24 to August 9. The Croatia basketball team has qualified for the Olympic Games four times, with the highest success being the silver medal in 1992. At the last Rio Olympics, Croatia took 5th place. The tournament in Split is an opportunity for all basketball lovers and fans to accompany their national teams on the road to the Olympics, but also to enjoy top-notch basketball. In addition to Split, other host cities are Belgrade, Kaunas and Victoria. A total of 24 teams will compete in the tournaments, with only the tournament winners going to the Olympics.

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

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Croatian Basketball Team In Battle For Rio Olympics

Croatian basketball team plays Italy today in the first round of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin.

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