Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Hajduk and HNS Meet About New Poljud Pitch

December 16, 2020 - Hajduk and HNS met on Tuesday in Split to discuss installing a new Poljud pitch, which should begin in May next year.

An operational meeting was held on Tuesday at Poljud between representatives of HNK Hajduk, led by the President of the Management Board Lukša Jakobušić, and the Croatian Football Federation, led by the Executive Director Marijan Kustić. The topic of the meeting, which lasted a little less than an hour, was installing a new lawn on the main pitch of Poljud Stadium.

The following conclusions were reached:

"The common conclusion is that it is not possible to carry out the complete works for laying down a new pitch until January 30. The reason is the upcoming holidays, i.e., the impossibility to acquire and begin the construction process, preparatory works, installation, and putting the lawn into full operation in such a short time. The option to start work in January was considered. Still, the completion would be only at the beginning of March, which would prevent Hajduk from playing at least four championship matches in the month of the Club's 110th birthday, which includes the biggest Croatian derby at its stadium.

- It was agreed that due to logistical, technical, and time constraints, the replacement of the lawn would start in May, which gives enough time to enter the next season with a new pitch.

- HNS and Hajduk will sign an agreement on the installation of a hybrid lawn at the beginning of 2021. The city will give consent to Hajduk to change the pitch.

- An additional reason for setting up the pitch in May is the possibility to donate our current field to one of the second division teams in Dalmatia. According to the previous request, it was agreed in principle that the field would be donated to the Dalmatian second league club Croatia Zmijavci, and this is possible only after the end of our and their season," stated Hajduk on its official website

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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Croatia will be Pride of People Again, Says Dalic Ahead of Portugal at Poljud

November 17, 2020 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic held a press conference before the final Nations League match this season when the 2018 World Cup finalists will host the 2016 European champions Portugal at Poljud in Split. 

Everyone must do their best

"In Portugal and in the first half in Sweden, we were not aggressive, combative, compact, we ran a little, and against such quality rivals you can't be at 80 percent, but everyone has to do their best. We were in trouble there. In Portugal, we didn't manage: they played their game, and we were weak. This game means a lot to us, we want to stay in League A, and I hope for an interesting and solid game."

We will be the pride of our people again

"I am aware that the results and our game are not good; no one has to tell me that. This is not the level of a year or two ago; this is our reality. This is the process of creating a new national team, and I stand behind it. I am sure that we will do everything to make it much better in March and at the Euros, to be competitive. I told the players that they must not stop believing in themselves and their quality and that one or two defeats cannot erase all the good from the past and that we will be at the level again, a national team that is the pride of our people. It doesn't look like that now, but it is the best that Croatia has now. We are fighting, we agree, and we are going to get a good result tomorrow to finish this year nicely."

A coach full of motivation and energy

"I am frustrated with the situation around me, but this is my job. I must not show dissatisfaction, and I have to get the most out of it because it was my dream to be the Croatia coach, and I am proud of it. I am full of motivation and energy to do something, and nothing will shake me. I'm a coach; I know the pressure is huge, but I'm not afraid of anything; I'm doing the best I can. I've done everything I imagined."

Let them show and prove themselves

"Pongračić dropped out today, we don't have seven or eight first-team players, and we have a lot of problems that we have to solve from hour to hour. I have an idea of ​​the lineup; Bradarić will go to the left flank; I want to give him a chance at his stadium because I think he is the future. Lovren is our only stopper so far, so we called Škorić, there is also Juranović. Everyone is in rhythm, everyone is playing, and they will get a chance, let them show and prove themselves. Neither Budimir nor Petković can last the whole game. We miss the last midfielder; without that, we have problems, and we will try to find a solution so that Modrić and Kovačić can be turned towards the attack. We always want to win."

Portugal is one of the best

"Portugal is a great team, it has quality players, and they want to win every game, just like us. We don't expect an easy job, Portugal is one of the best. They have young players like Felix and Jota, who fit in well with the older ones like Ronaldo and Pepe. They rightly hope for a great result again. We are second in the world, and we try to stay that way. We are going through a change of generations, so we are not at the level we were, but we will be there again, and we will be competitive with the best like Portugal, Spain, and France."

Cristiano Ronaldo

"The fact that Ronaldo came to play this game that is not the fight for first place spoke enough about his motivation and desire. He came to play against Croatia, he was not in previous matches, and he is a really great player. Like our Luka, he is doing his best at the age of 35."

Source: HNS

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Monday, 16 November 2020

Zlatko Dalic Calls Up Osijek Stopper for Portugal and More Croatia News Ahead of Poljud

November 16, 2020 - Croatia and Portugal meet in Split on Tuesday for their final Nations League match this season. A look at the latest Croatia news ahead of Poljud. 

After losing 2:1 to Sweden on Saturday evening in Solna, the Croatia national team traveled to Split, after which they held their first training in Omis on Sunday. The training included Dejan Lovren, who joined the Croatia squad in Stockholm after his yellow card suspension.

The Croatia players that recorded the most minutes against Sweden (Modrić, Vlašić, Perišić, Livaković, Kovačić, Brekalo, Barišić, Ćaleta-Car, Pongračić) took part in a regeneration training at the hotel. Uremović is currently out of the lineup after an injury he sustained during the Sweden match. 

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HNS

Although training in Omis was held without the presence of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, locals hung a large jersey with the last name of their fellow citizen, Ivan Perišić, and did their best to ensure that Croatia had everything they needed in the small coastal town.

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HNS

On Sunday evening, the Croatia national team medical service received the team's latest COVID-19 test results. Croatia was tested after arriving from Stockholm to Split, before the match against Portugal.

After a week of worrying results, we finally have some good news, as all members of the national team and members of the national team staff are negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Coach Zlatko Dalić can count on all remaining players in the national team.

Recall, Domagoj Vida tested positive in Istanbul on Wednesday, and Marcelo Brozović tested positive in Stockholm on Friday. In compliance with the epidemiological rules and UEFA's Return to Play protocol, the Turkish and Swedish epidemiological services decided that the isolation of other national team members was not necessary.

But even though everyone corona-free, Dalić still struggled to fill certain positions in the defense ahead of the crucial Portugal meeting on Tuesday. He has thus decided to call-up Osijek stopper Milo Škorić in the absence of Duja Ćaleta-Car (yellow cards) and Filip Uremović (injury).

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HNS

The Osijek captain will join Croatia during the day on Monday and is expected to play against Portugal in Split on Tuesday.

Škorić has three appearances for the Croatia national team, and interestingly, in all three Škorić appearances, Croatia won 2:1 (Mexico, Wales, and Georgia).

Source: HNS

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Monday, 9 November 2020

Nations League: Croatia and Portugal without Spectators in Split

November 9, 2020 - The national teams of Croatia and Portugal will meet at Poljud Stadium in Split on November 17 for their final Nations League match this season. 

Today, the National Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia extended the Decision on necessary epidemiological measures restricting assemblies and introducing other necessary measures and recommendations to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 through gatherings.

The decision of the headquarters includes the measure of holding sports competitions without the presence of spectators.

Following such a decision by the National Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Football Federation informs the public that the Nations League match between Croatia and Portugal, scheduled for November 17 in Split, will be played without spectators. Also, the match between the youth national teams of Croatia and Lithuania in Pula will be played without fans.

The mentioned measure also refers to other competitions under the jurisdiction of HNS, which will be held without spectators until further notice.

Due to similar measures in Turkey and Sweden, the matches of the Croatia national team against Turkey (November 11) in Istanbul and Sweden (November 14) in Solna will be played without spectators.

Source: HNS

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Monday, 26 October 2020

Coach Zlatko Dalic Announces the Croatia Player List for Nations League in November

October 26, 2020 - National team coach Zlatko Dalic announces the Croatia player list for the upcoming Nations League matches in November, when the 2018 World Cup finalists will again have a tight schedule.

As in October, the national team will play three games during the upcoming gathering in November. Namely, Croatia will play a friendly match against Turkey on November 11 in Istanbul, followed by their two final matches in the Nations League - on November 14, they will play against Sweden (Solna / Stockholm), and three days later, they will host Portugal in Split.

Croatia currently sits in 3rd place in Nations League Group 3 with 3 points. Portugal and France are in first and second place with 10 points each. Croatia has only won one game in this Nations League campaign against Sweden earlier this month in Zagreb. 

Coach Dalic invited 23 players and eight call-ups, among which is Bordeaux midfielder Toma Basic for the first time.

"We will monitor the condition of all players in the next two weeks and react on time, depending on the situation. I wish all invited players to be healthy so that we can welcome the last matches of this year and finish the competition in the Nations League in a satisfactory position," said Dalic.

The national team will gather on November 9 in Istanbul, and the day after the match against Turkey, they will travel to Stockholm. Croatia will travel to Split immediately after the match against Sweden.

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Simon Sluga, Ivo Grbić

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Dario Melnjak, Filip Uremović, Domagoj Bradarić

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Milan Badelj, Marko Rog, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić

Attackers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir

Callups: Ante Rebić, Tin Jedvaj, Lovre Kalinić, Mile Škorić, Josip Juranović, Toma Bašić, Antonio Mirko Čolak, Marin Pongračić

Source: HNS

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

Monday, 28 September 2020

HNL Round 6 Recap: Hajduk Topped Varazdin at Stormy Poljud

September 28, 2020 - The 6th round of the Croatian First League was held on September 26 and 27, 2020. In this round, Hajduk topped Varazdin at a very stormy Poljud, while Osijek was better than Gorica. The games between Dinamo and Rijeka, and Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo were postponed due to obligations in the Europa League.

Istra 1961 v. Sibenik (1:0)

Istra and Sibenik opened the 6th round on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Pula. 

The only goal of the match came in the 39th minute when Ivancic scored for 1:0 at the half. Grzan missed a penalty in the 70th minute and failed to increase Istra's lead. The game ended 1:0.

Istra is currently in 9th place with 4 points, while Sibenik is in 8th with 4 points. 

Osijek v. Gorica (2:1)

Osijek and Gorica met on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at City Garden Stadium. 

Mierez scored a penalty for Osijek in the 3rd minute of the ref's added time, just before the half. A Doka double-yellow saw Gorica play with a man down from the 72nd minute. Gorica, however, was able to equalize in the 84th minute thanks to a Lovric goal. Grgic put Osijek back in the lead in the 7th minute of added time for a final score of 2:1.

Osijek is currently in 4th place with 10 points, while Gorica is in 2nd place with 13 points. 

Hajduk v. Varazdin (2:0)

Hajduk and Varazdin closed out the 6th round on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at Poljud Stadium. 

Gyursco scored an early goal for Hajduk in the 5th minute to put them ahead 1:0. A Pellumbi red card for Varazdin in the 15th minute did not help them equal the score. 

A penalty was awarded to Hajduk in the 50th minute, which Caktas scored for 2:0. A vicious storm erupted in the game's final minutes, which you can see in the video below. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 10 points, while Varazdin is in 5th with 7. 

Dinamo and Rijeka, and Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo, will play their 6th round matches in the first free term.

You can see the full HNL table here

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Monday, 14 September 2020

HNL Round 4 Recap: Dinamo Tops Hajduk in Eternal Derby at Poljud

September 14, 2020 - The 4th round of HNL was played from September 11 to 13, 2020. This round featured the Eternal Derby at Poljud, where Dinamo was better than Hajduk, while Osijek crushed Rijeka 3:0. 

Slaven Belupo v. Sibenik (0:0)

Slaven Belupo and Sibenik opened the 4th round in Koprivnica on Friday, September 11, 2020. 

Krstanovic missed a penalty just before the half, and the game went without goals.

Belupo is currently in 8th place with 3 points, while Sibenik is in 9th with one point. 

Osijek v. Rijeka (3:0)

Osijek and Rijeka met on Saturday, September 12, 2020, for their 4th round match at City Garden Stadium. 

An early goal by Jugovic had Osijek in the lead in the 5th minute. Rijeka's Arsenic saw a red card in the 37th minute, which drastically changed the game. Osijek scored their second goal one minute later for 2:0 at the half.

Osijek secured their victory with a goal by Mierez in the 75th minute, which was the final score of the game. 

Osijek is currently in 6th place with 4 points, while Rijeka is in 5th with 4 points. 

Hajduk v. Dinamo (1:2)

Hajduk and Dinamo met for the season's first Eternal Derby at Poljud on Saturday, September 12, 2020. 

Kastrati gave Dinamo the lead just three minutes before the half for 0:1. Five minutes into the second half, Orsic scored a stunner for 0:2 

Hajduk's Juric was able to get a header in the back of the net in the 88th minute for 1:2, which was the final score of the game. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 7 points, while Dinamo is in first place with 12.

Istra 1961 v. Varazdin (0:1)

Istra and Varazdin met in Pula at the Aldo Drosini Stadium on Sunday, September 13, 2020. 

The game's only goal was scored by Senic in the 37th minute, which gave Varazdin the 0:1 victory. 

Istra is currently in the last place with 0 points, while Varazdin is in 4th with 7 points. 

Lokomotiva v. Gorica (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Gorica closed out the 4th round in Zagreb on Sunday, September 13, 2020. 

Lovric scored for Gorica in the 32nd minute for 0:1 at the half. Lovric increased Gorica's lead in the 85th minute to 0:2, though Karacic was able to get one in for Lokomotiva for a final result of 1:2. 

Lokomotiva is currently in 7th place with 4 points, while Gorica is in 2nd place with 12 points. 

All games were played without the presence of spectators. You can see the full HNL table here

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Sunday, 6 September 2020

Poljud Celebrates 41 Years, 100 Million Kuna Renovation Project in Works

September 6, 2020 - Poljud celebrates 41 years. Retired professor Ante Mihanovic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy in Split spoke about the condition of the stadium after so many years, how it could look in a new guise, and how long the renovation works could last.

Slobodna Dalmacija writes Poljud stadium, the work of architect Boris Magas, is celebrating its 41st birthday. 

Even as a young engineer and associate of the chief constructor, engineer Bozenko Jelic, Mihanovic participated in the design of the stadium until the main project stage. Then, after construction, he led the monitoring of that demanding construction for more than two decades. A few years ago, also as part of the team of the Faculty in Split, he was one of the reviewers of the stadium renovation project developed by the IGH Institute.

To begin with, he spoke about the reasons why the Faculty carefully monitored the construction of Poljud for more than 20 years:

"A year after its construction, vibrations were noticed in high parts of the auditorium. We found that these are millimeter shifts on the large console, which are insignificant. But they created an uncomfortable feeling, because people are used to vertical vibrations, and not really to horizontal ones.

Also, it was the first time that the company "Mero" had produced a structure that is curved over 200 meters.

"That construction was something new in Europe. As an architectural work, it was met with a lot of praise in the world and it is the only building structure from the former Yugoslavia that has entered the literature of universities in Western Europe. The only!" points out the interlocutor, who is an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, a regular member of the Croatian Academy of Technical Sciences, was the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Split for 12 years and is still active at the age of 71.

Mihanovic continues that there was a 10-year warranty period for the quality of performance.

"Initially, we removed the cracks on the main supports that were expected and the contractor agreed to repair them. So, the stadium was monitored, but not maintained," he notes.

"There are norms in the profession that the City, as the owner of the sports facility, did not respect. Namely, the stadium was supposed to be maintained after the age of 10, considering the steel construction, which means that it is protected against corrosion, dust is removed from it, and to see how the installations, screws and everything else work. Upstairs you also have KIC cabins and trails. Steel structures are generally inspected in detail every five years, and I would say that renovation should be done every 10 years. This has not been done so far."

A few years ago, an initiative was launched from the City to start the renovation, which would replace everything that has not been done for these 40 years.

"It has been warned countless times that a renovation is needed, because the more difficult it is, the more expensive the intervention will be. It has now reached the amount of 100 million kuna, which is a considerable amount. The recent decision to declare the stadium a cultural monument, because it is - a top architectural and construction work, allows you to apply for European funds for rehabilitation."

The IGH Institute won the tender for the preparation of the rehabilitation project, and professors Bernardin Peros and Ante Mihanovic from the Faculty of Split were reviewers.

"We reviewed the entire project on which about 30 experts from the Institute and their associates worked. It has been accepted and is located in the City and in Hajduk, and is on its way to being applied for EU funds. With the realization of this complete project, the stadium will be brought to a state that would be very close to the state after construction."

With one hundred million kuna...

"We will change the lexan cover and metal substructures, use anticorrosive to protect all metal roof structures and remove defects, restore and finally repaint all concrete structures, which will be refreshed in appearance. Then there are interventions on electrical and mechanical installations, and on the fire protection system. The stated estimated amount does not include the interior design of landscaping and lawns."

At one time, the installation of solar panels was mentioned as an idea.

"Solar panels are out of the question because this would change the shape of the roof, and it should be in the same shape as the original. The Belgian factory, which produces lexan boards, has informed those working on the renovation project that they have preserved the molds and are likely to make more favorable offers to make new boards. To this factory, as well as to the company "Mero" from Germany, Poljud stadium was a reference for future business, and they follow everything that happens around," said Mihanovic, who adds:

"The steel substructure is in the worst condition, to which the cover is attached with screws. Due to the substructure, the entire cover must be removed.

It seems that in the construction itself, the substructure was perfectly solved. However, there was a hurry with the construction, the stadium was built in less than two years, so it was not possible to wait for someone else to deliver it.

Also, the structures were partially damaged in the shooting during the war, as JNA soldiers from Lore practiced shooting in some parts of the stadium. There is also damage by the nature of things - zinc and anti-corrosion protection is not preserved everywhere and will have to be partially restored and of course, there will be painting."

Of that 100 million kuna, 40 million kuna are for metal parts - the roof and everything next to it, and 60 million for the concrete structure.

"You have damage and patches on the concrete structure. All damage should be removed, compensated for where the reinforcement is missing, restored and repainted. So all the spectator supporter beams will be renewed. Then you have bridges, tunnels, retaining walls - they all need to be inspected and rebuilt. The bridge on the promenade above Hajduk's premises is in the worst condition because the drainage was not good there and water was retained on it."

The renovation project is complete, says Mihanovic, and, in his opinion, very well made.

The city of Split must act within a certain deadline.

"In my opinion, the renovation should be carried out within 10 years, because after that there will be low reliability of the elements that are overhead, and there will be a risk of someone getting hurt. Also, the longer you wait, the more you will have to invest in renovation. So the sooner you start, the cheaper it will be."

The rehabilitation, he adds, will take several years.

"Objectively, you will not have a hundred teams to attack at once. For example, if you started painting 12,000 rods of steel construction with a group of a dozen people, you would do so for so long that when they get to the other end, you would have to start all over again, provided you renew the paint every five years."

He continues that the stadium will not need to be closed for renovation works.

"Removing the cover and substructure can be done in the period when no matches are held at the stadium. When the renovation of the stands is done, work will be done on one part, and the other part will be used. Therefore, playing matches and partially filling the audience will always be allowed."

Mihanovic says that the stadium is still secure as it stands now.

"But it is simply a thing that ages, weakens day by day, and one day it must be repaired. You can leave it like that for another 20 years, but then it's not certain that some of those lexans won't fly from above."

The documentation is prepared to apply for European funds. 

"The application for funds will last at least from a year to a year and a half, followed by a public procurement for the selection of contractors. So, the renovation could start in two years at the earliest. The Poljud beauty will return to its original state, perhaps even better. The value of the stadium is 150 million euro. That is how much it would cost to make a new one. The renovation will cost only 10 percent of that amount. According to that, the building is in relatively good condition.

The designers were obliged to give it a shelf life of 50 years. It is without intervention in the structural parts, but with earlier maintenance. You can't let the construction go, you have to start maintaining it at some point."

The immediate work is numerical modeling, calculations and design of building structures.

"We worked on the calculation and design of the Poljud structure, partly on our own program, and something on the American STRESS, which was installed on "Srca" - University Computing Center in Zagreb," said Mihanovic.

So, what does Hajduk say?

"Project documentation has been prepared, and the City and Hajduk will apply for funding from EU funds from 2021 to 2027. We’re sending out funding applications in September, and we’ll know the results early next year, and maybe sooner. The roof renovation project is worth 102 million kuna, and the museum 44 million," said Marin Brbic, president of Hajduk.

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Friday, 28 August 2020

City of Split and HNS to Discuss Organization of Croatia v. Portugal Match at Poljud

August 28, 2020 - After the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) expressed interest in bringing the Croatia national team back to Split, City of Split has agreed to discuss hosting the national team of Portugal on November 17 at Poljud. 

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that following the example of last year's model and the sellout match between Croatia and Hungary, HNS is looking to bring the Croatia national team back to Split. 

On Thursday, the mayor of Split, Andro Krstulovic Opara, responded to the urgency sent by the executive director Marijan Kustic on behalf of HNS, asking for an answer by noon on Thursday.

Kustic received an answer:

"The City of Split accepts your initiative to hold a meeting to discuss the possible organization of the Croatia - Portugal match on November 17, 2020, in Split at Poljud Stadium, in the presence of spectators," responded Opara.

Recall, UEFA announced its intention to return spectators to stadiums by September 24, although not at full capacity. Nevertheless, it would be a step towards normalization.

If all goes to plan, Cristiano Ronaldo's national team, which is still the current European champion, will come to Split in the last round of Group 3 as part of the A-League of this UEFA competition. Apart from Croatia and Portugal, Sweden and France are also in that group.

The famous Hajduk stadium would thus host the Croatia national team for the 14th time. However, just like last year, Hajduk should not participate in the organization of the match, as HNS has yet to meet the club's demands. 

Croatia kicks off their Nations League campaign on September 5 in Porto against Portugal.  Three days later, they will play in St. Denis against France. The first home game in this competition will be played on October 11 against Sweden, which should, for now, be played at Maksimir.

Three days later, France should play at the same stadium, and before the potential spectacle at Poljud, Dalic's team will visit Sweden. That match will be played on November 14, three days before Croatia meets Portugal.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

HNS Planning Croatia v. Portugal Spectacle at Poljud

August 25, 2020 - Numerous Croatian media outlets revealed on Tuesday that sources close to HNS have said Croatia and Portugal will meet at Poljud this November. Here's what we know so far.

As 24 Sata and Index.hr reported on Tuesday, the Croatian Football Federation is in talks to hold the Nations League match between Croatia and Portugal on November 17, 2020, at Poljud stadium in Split.  

If all goes to plan, the famous Hajduk stadium will host the Croatia national team for the 14th time. After the match against Hungary passed without incident last year, and after absolutely everyone praised the organization, HNS allegedly decided that Modric and company would play at Poljud once they had the next big opportunity. We'd say bringing Cristiano Ronaldo to Poljud warrants just that. 

24 Sata reported that UEFA might allow a certain number of spectators for the November match. However, UEFA initially reported that the upcoming Nations League games would be played without the presence of spectators. We will have to wait and see what the umbrella organization decides given the current epidemiological situation.

Cristiano Ronaldo's national team, which is still the current European champion, should come to Split in the last round of Group 3 as part of the A League of this UEFA competition. Apart from Croatia and Portugal, Sweden and France are in that group.

Croatia kicks off their Nations League campaign on September 5 in Porto against Portugal, and three days later, they will play in Paris against France. The first home game in this competition will be played on October 11 against Sweden, and that game should, for now, be played at Maksimir.

Three days later, France should play at the same stadium, and before the spectacle at Poljud, Dalic's team will visit Sweden. That match will be played on November 14, three days before Portugal's visit to Split.

24 Sata concludes that the Croatian Football Federation has sent a letter to Split, in line with what they said after Hungary - and that is that the national team will play at Poljud very soon. Now, we await an answer from Split, though we foresee no issues. After all, who wouldn’t want to host Ronaldo?

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