Thursday, 10 October 2019

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Hungary 3:0 at Poljud!

October 10, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary met at Poljud stadium in Split on Thursday for the first time since 2015. The stadium was nearly a sellout, and the national team was reunited with 32,110 of their Dalmatian fans.

The 2018 World Cup finalists and Hungary met in the 7th round of Group E in the 2020 Euro qualifications on Thursday in Split. Coach Zlatko Dalić was lucky to have his full squad, except for Andrej Kramarić, who is recovering from an injury. 

Thus, Croatia’s starting eleven included Dominik Livaković in goal, Tin Jedvaj, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, and Borna Barišić in the defense, Marcelo Brozović, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ante Rebić, and Ivan Perišić across the midfield, and Bruno Petković up top. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Recall, Croatia lost to Hungary 2:1 in their second Euro 2020 qualifier earlier this year. 

The game kicked off at 8:45 pm, and Croatia had their first chance two minutes in when Modrić’s volley went over the goal. Perišić shot at the keeper moments later, though it didn’t take long for them to score, after all. Captain Luka Modrić found himself one-on-one with the keeper to put Croatia in the lead five minutes into the game! 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia continued to press in the minutes that followed and maintained possession. Ivan Perišić had another chance in the 16th minute, though a deflection forced a corner for Croatia. A foul on Modrić resulted in a free-kick for Croatia just outside the penalty area, though Jedvaj couldn’t quite get to the ball. 

Hungary had its first corner in the 20th minute, which was followed by another in the 21st. Croatia’s defense cleared it out for yet another corner, though Hungary was unable to capitalize on their chances.

Croatia increased their lead in the 24th minute. Ante Rebić found himself on a counter-attack with Bruno Petković unmarked on the penalty spot. A Bruno back heel around the keeper made it 2:0 for Croatia. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had another dangerous attack in the 39th minute. Rebić once again carried the ball up the left-wing, with no Hungarian defender in sight. Rebić crossed into the box, though Petković was unable to get another goal. Though his second goal came just moments later - and Croatia was leading 3:0 at the half. 

Hungary came out hungry at the start of the second half and tried to push an attacking game, though the defense remained solid. Croatia was given a penalty in the 53rd minute, though Ivan Perišic shot at the keeper, which gave Croatia a corner in the end. Amidst the chaos, Hungary's Kleinheisler was given his second yellow card, and Croatia was up a player for the rest of the game. 

In the 59th minute, Dalić used his first substitution - young Brekalo went in for Perišić in the 60th minute. Luka Modrić was subbed out in the 66th minute for Mateo Kovačić. In the 67th minute, Hungary had a shot on goal, though it was an easy save for Dominik Livaković. 

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Slobodan Kadic

In the 73rd minute, Nikola Vlašić came on for Ivan Rakitić. 

With 10 minutes to go, Croatia continued their attacking game, and a goal by Vlašić was correctly called offside. Ante Rebić hit a rocket from the right in the 85th minute, which just missed the far post. Croatia was getting chances, though they couldn't get their fourth goal. 

After three minutes of injury time, the game ended 3:0 for Croatia, and the atmosphere at Poljud could not be matched.  

With this win, Croatia remains at the top of Group E. Their next match is against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, October 13. 

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

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Zlatko Dalic and Luka Modric Speak to Press at Poljud

October 9, 2019 - As most everyone in Croatia is already well aware, Croatia and Hungary will meet at Poljud stadium in Split on Thursday for a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier. This is the first time the national team has played in Split since 2015, and sold-out stadium awaits. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic and captain Luka Modric spoke to the media on Wednesday at Poljud ahead of the game. 

The Croatia national team moved to Split this week to prepare for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary. The team is staying at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel and trained in Omis before moving to Poljud for a night training on Wednesday evening. Before the team trained on Wednesday, coach Zlatko Dalic and captain Luka Modric met the press. 

The press conference started congratulating Luka for his goal against Granada. 

“Thank you. But the biggest thing is for us to win tomorrow in front of our fans.”

How does Luka feel about being back in Split?

“Everything is good so far haha. We are happy to be back at Poljud after such a long time. I expect a lot of support tomorrow and that the fans will carry us to a win. We can’t wait to be back here.”

What is the biggest factor in Croatia achieving a positive result on Thursday? 

“It’s most important how we enter the game. We must all play together on the same level. Hungary showed their quality already and that they’re dangerous. It’s a big game, and we must win to get through these qualifications and qualify for Euro peacefully.” 

How much psychological pressure is Luka feeling as captain, being back at Poljud, and playing in front of Dalmatia again?

“There is no pressure; we are only thinking positively. It’s been a long time since we have been here, and the atmosphere will be excellent.” 

It was Dalic’s turn to take the mic.

“We respect Hungary. It doesn’t matter that they’re missing a few players. We need to give everything we have tomorrow. We can't enter the game nervously. We must play with our heads and our hearts."

Kickoff is on Thursday at 8:45 pm. 

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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Ivan Rakitic in Split: My Heart Beats for Croatia

October 8, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary will meet at Poljud on Thursday at 8:45 pm in a crucial qualifier for the European Championship next summer. Ivan Rakitic spoke to the media on Tuesday from the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Split. 

Headlines in Croatian media this week will focus heavily on a critical meeting of our 2018 World Cup finalists - Croatia will meet Hungary on Thursday in Split. And while Croatia's fate in the 2020 Euro competition lay heavily on the result itself, the match also carries more significance - it is the first time the Croatia national team has played in Split since 2015. 

Ivan Rakitic re-joined the team after he was absent from the lineup for Croatia's qualifiers in September, naming his alarming situation at Barcelona at the time as the reason. On Tuesday, he faced the Croatian media at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Split, the home of the Croatia national team for the week. 

"I am very happy to play in Split. My best friends are here. I am happy to be with the team and staff again. The stadium sold out in a day; we await a full stadium of our fans."

Why did Rakitic opt out of the national team in September?

For me, the national team is always first, but the situation in my club wasn't right. I needed to come to the national team with a clear head to give my all, and at that time, I wasn't at my best. I thank everyone for understanding. Luka gave me his support. It was a tough decision for me." 

How was it to watch Croatia play so well against Slovakia?

"I was so happy to see how well we played. We were fantastic. The coach said it was the best game under his leadership. I think we can be even better.” 

Rakitic touched on the two big games ahead against Hungary and Wales. 

"We know the games ahead will be difficult. We lost to Hungary away. But I can't wait for the atmosphere, the fans, the full stadium. If we get 6 points, that is the best-case scenario. But we have to go step by step. First is Hungary."

What does Rakitic think about bringing the national team back to Split? 

"We will give our all. We know that Dalmatia wants the national team here. And we as a national team want to play everywhere.

We know that the people wanted the national team in Split. We could see that with how quickly the stadium sold out. Something extraordinary awaits us on Thursday. We are the World Cup finalists. We are going together for the win." 

What does Rakitic have to say about the media speculation that he didn't want to play for the national team?

"Everyone has their opinion and their right, but no one has a bigger love of playing for Croatia than me. Switzerland gave me everything, but my heart beats for Croatia. I’ve been with the team 12, 13 years. I felt that way yesterday, today, and will feel that way forever. Croatia is number one.”

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

 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Unprecedented Measures in Place for Croatia Qualifier at Poljud

October 8, 2019 - Unprecedented security measures are in place for the European qualifier between Croatia and Hungary at Poljud on Thursday. 

Slobodna Dalmacija announced that seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and all ministers - and it looks like Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will also be coming to Split. But that's not the only reason security is on high alert. 

HNS took over Poljud Stadium on Monday, and until Friday, Poljud is exclusively in the service of the national team, which requires a special regime and security.

Hajduk moved to Brac for the week. This includes not only the first team, but also the offices and services, the entire working community, while the younger teams have been moved to other locations around Dalmatia. 

Hajduk has refused to participate in the organization of the national team match, and according to Croatian media, neither the Hajduk president Marin Brbić nor the vice-president Luksa Jakobusic will attend on Thursday.

Except for one case where the police found 45 tickets purchased by a single person, other such incidents have not been recorded. The Split-Dalmatia County Police Department exclaimed: ”If you do not have a ticket in your name, don't even come to the stadium."

Two to three rings of security have been announced at the stadium, and it is well known that the information on the ticket and ID must match. HNS allowed ticketholders to change the name on their ticket up to 48 hours before the match, but only within their family. Those who are not allowed to enter the stadium have the right to go to the box office and transfer the ticket to their spouse, brother, sister, child, parents, etc. 

Just how meticulous the security will be, remains to be seen.

It has been announced that Victor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, will attend the match with his private arrangement. The police are still awaiting official confirmation as Orban must receive proper treatment - and as much as the PM loves football, the protocol must be respected, and he cannot enter the stadium as a mere spectator. 

The seats in the VIP lodge are reserved for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic, and all ministers.

Some claim that Split will witness the strongest security of a public event ever in the city. MUP will bring 500 police officers, and as of Wednesday, they will also monitor the city as two thousand Hungarian fans are expected. Police will also patrol all locations around the stadium. The caution has thus been raised to the highest level for this match, which is paid for by HNS. The final bill could reach up to three million kuna.

Police are already overseeing the Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana, where the national team is staying, and will also be monitoring the guests. Nothing will be left to chance.

The field will be monitored from the air, by drones and helicopters, from the sea by warships and from the checkpoints around it. There will also be 500 security guards in the stands and near the pitch. Sokol Maric will lead the security, but other companies have been hired as well. The stands and pitch are monitored with 'sleep’ cameras, which are put into action only when there is activity. 

Split-Dalmatia County police say that everything is going well and that this security is necessary, considering 33,000 spectators and thousands of Hungarian fans are expected. Recall, at the end of May, there were 200 police officers when Croatia visited NK Omis - 150 of them monitoring the city, the hills, and the sea, and only 50 in the stadium.

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

Monday, 7 October 2019

Zlatko Dalic and Croatia National Team Gather in Split

October 7, 2019 - Coach Zlatko Dalic announced the match between Croatia and Hungary at a press conference in Split on Monday. 

On Thursday at 8:45 pm, Croatia will welcome Hungary in their next Euro 2020 qualifying match at Poljud Stadium in Split.

The national team will prepare for the match in Omis, where they played a friendly against NK Omis earlier this year. Coach Zlatko Dalic will hold several press conferences this week at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel, the first of which was held on Monday.

“Not all players have arrived yet; some are late because they had games last night. I expect all the players to be available, and no one has problems so far. The most important thing is that we depend on ourselves; we need 5-6 points to be sure. The first step is Hungary, but no less important is the game against Wales. We had a defeat there, and I expect we will fix it. I think 15 points will be enough to move on, but let's go one step at a time. These three points would be critical to us, and most importantly, we depend on ourselves.” 

Everyone is interested in Dalic's biggest dilemma, whether he will play Rakitic, who just returned to the national team, or the young Vlasic, who is in great form?

“We'll see these next two days, I have a vision in my head, two games in three days await us, and we must divide our forces and use things differently. We will certainly use 15-16 players in these two games; we will see during these next two days and training.”

Will Rebic play?

“He's not been playing lately in Milan, and that's a problem, but when he comes, we'll see. When he's with the national team, he does his best.”

Does Dalic admit he made a mistake in the last game when he didn't change the lineup?

“I said and will repeat - it was my fault. The game against Slovakia took me back, it was probably the best match since I was a coach, but I didn't react in time.”

A big spectacle awaits us in Split on Thursday.

"I look forward to the match and what awaits us. If Poljud had a capacity of 100,000, it would be full. I expect a great match and a win. Tickets were sold in one day and that shows how much Dalmatia and Croatia love the national team. The things that are being emphasized, the problems between HNS and Hajduk, should be solved through meetings and the system, not through the national team. What do Vlasic, Modric, and Rebic have to do with it, what do we have to do with it? It is not good that Croatia does not often play in Split. Now that we are playing there, the question is, why are we playing in Split? So we're never clear, but I'm glad most are on our side. The Croatia national team is playing in Split. "

Are the players in good form?

“I said these were tricky situations, we get together on Monday and play on Thursday, but it's not an excuse. Some players are not at the top of their club, but when we get to the national team, we have to create a group that believes in itself. I think the national team is something special. When you come, you forget about your club, and you do your best.”

Source: Gol.hr

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

Monday, 30 September 2019

HNS Announces Extensive Security Measures for Croatia Match at Poljud: The Details

September 30, 2019 - HNS announces the security measures for fans ahead of Croatia's Euro 2020 qualifier at Poljud.

Before and during the 2020 European qualifier between the national teams of Croatia and Hungary, which will be played on 10 October at 8:45 pm at Poljud stadium in Split, a special security procedure and traffic regulations will be in place at the entrances to the stadium.

Stadium Opening 

Poljud stadium will be open to fans from 6:45 pm. Due to the extensive security measures that will be taken to prevent bringing in prohibited articles into the stadium area, fans are invited to come to the stadium as early as possible. 

Tickets

On the day of the match, there will be no sale or exchanging of tickets for the match between Croatia and Hungary. HNS reminds that the tickets are personalized and as a prerequisite for entering the stadium, a valid identity document (ID or passport) must be presented with the ticket.

Pursuant to the Conditions of Ticket Purchases, persons who do not match the personal data on the ticket during surveillance will be prohibited from entering the stadium and their ticket will be void without the right to a refund. As they are in violation of the law, please note that they can be detained and handed over to the police for competent misdemeanor proceedings.

Each person must have a ticket and use the seat marked on the ticket when entering the stadium until the end of the match. All persons without a valid ticket, as well as persons found in the sector/part of the stadium for which they do not have a valid ticket, will be removed and handed over to the police for competent misdemeanor proceedings.

Traffic info on match day

On match day, in the narrow area of Poljud Stadium at Ulica Mediteranskih igara 8, a temporary traffic regulation will be put in place, which will prohibit the movement of motor vehicles, except licensed vehicles, tenants and users of business premises.

Fans are invited to come to the immediate area of the stadium on foot or by public transport. Parking will be prohibited in the narrow area of Poljud stadium due to the limited number of parking spaces except for accredited vehicles.

Fair and correct behavior of fans

“We ask supporters to comply with the provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Disorder in Sports Competitions and the Law on Public Order and Peace, in particular regarding inappropriate chanting, alcohol consumption and the use of pyrotechnics.

Umbrellas, larger bags or backpacks, bottles, lighters, coins and other items suitable for injury or that can cause a fire will no be allowed into the stadium. Fags or banners larger than 2.00 m x 1.00 m or with inappropriate content will also be disallowed. Flags or banners will not be allowed on the fences or other areas of Poljud stadium to obscure the view from or to the stands.

We invite all fans, visitors, and citizens to be fair, correct, and show good sportsmanship without racist and discriminatory chanting before, during, and after the match.

At the same time, we take the opportunity to inform you that, following the Police Affairs and Powers Act, police will operate video and photo recordings of the narrower area and the stadium itself.

The use of pyrotechnics is not allowed and those who use them will be prosecuted per the Law on the Prevention of Disorder in Sporting Competitions, all aiming to ensure this event is a suitable sporting event,” concludes HNS. 

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

Saturday, 28 September 2019

HNS Executive Director in Split, Talks About Bringing Croatia to Sold Out Poljud

September 28, 2019-  Marijan Kustic was spotted in Split again. The HNS executive director leads the team in charge of organizing the highly anticipated Croatia-Hungary match at Poljud, and preparations are in full swing.

Slobodna Dalmacija caught Kustic ten days before the spectacle to see if everything was going according to plan. 

“Arrangements have entered the technical phase, related to security and ensuring all the preconditions for the great spectacle that awaits us. Nothing is out of the ordinary.”

Will security be especially emphasized?

“Everything is going at the usual pace, as is usually the case with big games like this. We conducted a series of interviews and agreements with representatives of the Police Department and the Police Directorate, as well as security companies. HNS always insists on the highest level of preparation regarding all aspects of the organization, including security.”

Rumor has it that Hungarian President Viktor Orban will also be in attendance?

“At this moment, we are not able to provide such information, but when these games are at stake, it is common and expected that political leaders come. Sandor Csanyi, president of OTP Bank, which has its bank in Split, and sponsors of Hajduk, should also attend.

Accordingly, we can also expect President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

I would not announce anything, and I would like to focus on the massive interest of our fans, who generally rule this game.”

Is Kustic surprised by the incredible interest of Split?

“Everyone at HNS and the people involved in the organization are genuinely delighted that Split and Dalmatia have embraced the arrival of our team at Poljud. Honestly, we all hoped for it together, but that the stadium would be sold out in a day or two, it still exceeded my optimistic expectations. And because of that, we look forward to this great game with even more impatience.”

How many tickets were actually sold?

“The capacity is about 33,000 tickets, but the interest was so high that we would sell twice as many tickets if we had the capacity. If tickets were only for sale online, they would be gone in three hours! It’s good that there were old-fashioned sales, too, so the people of Split had the opportunity to get these valuable tickets live. Poljud is sold out.”

How many tickets were set aside that didn’t go on sale to the public?

“It is logical that for the needs of the staff and football players, a small portion of the tickets was set aside. But it is a negligible figure. I tell you, we were pleasantly surprised by the interest, Dalmatia and Split want the Croatia national team. They can hardly wait! This gives everyone in and around HNS the right to be optimistic in the future. I must point out here that this is proof that the HNS Executive Board made the right decision when it decided that Croatia would come to Split. Dalmatia wants the Croatia national team at Poljud!”

Will there be a lot of security around and at the stadium?

“Tickets are personalized and we can announce today that it would be good to get to the stadium on time. Ticket holders will also need to show their ID and ensure that their last name matches the one on the ticket. I invite everyone to follow the instructions of the organizers and the police, so that everyone can enjoy the football and sports spectacle that awaits us together.”

What does Split Mayor Opara have to say?

“We are negotiating everything with the City and everything is flowing normally, without interruptions. On behalf of HNS, the national team and all of us, I would like to thank the Mayor and his associates who are available to us.”

No financial terms have been published?

“It is important to emphasize that HNS bears all costs of the organization. And we are happy that as a Federation we have the conditions to bear such costs. Finances are always important, but this is a match that is more than that and every kuna that is invested makes sense and will be well invested and will be returned not only financially but also intangibly.”

Supposedly, Split is receiving about half a million kuna from the Federation?

“The city will receive its financial part, but the city will receive much more. It will be the center of Croatia that day, gathering tens of thousands of people. The accommodation, the venues, the restaurants, they will all be full of work. One has to look at events like this much wider than the match itself.”

There was a lot of talk (or quarrel) about the arrival of the national team in Split, at Poljud, mostly because of the situation with Hajduk.

“The decision, you see, turned out to be good, a big hit. People want Croatia in Split. The choice of the HNS Executive Board, with which I share the view, is that the national team travels to Croatia and thus to Split. These are all our cities, they have played and will play in Osijek, Varazdin, Rijeka, Pula. Only one game in the qualifying cycle was played in Zagreb against Azerbaijan, and the rest throughout Croatia. So we came to Split. And we will again! This is just the first in a new series.

Have HNS and Hajduk turned a new page?

“All of us at HNS are genuinely trying to bring in a lot of energy to make things right and to start normalizing all relationships. Is it any more normal than having the national team play at least one official qualifying match in Split? I would also like to thank the HNS Executive Board for making this decision and supporting everything. The tickets are sold out and I am convinced of the spectacle!”

Is Hajduk still not involved in the organization of the match?

“They are not and we regret it. I'm sorry that Hajduk stayed out. The national team is sacred and I would not interfere with the Federation when it comes to the national team. But I'm optimistic by nature, so I'm always looking forward. We raised certain issues in our discussions with Hajduk. I believe that the normalization will continue when the match against Hungary is over. And some good things will remain for Hajduk after this game, even though they are not participating in the organization.”

Does Hajduk still have a chance to be involved in organizing the game against Hungary?

“They are always welcome, certainly. But I don't think that's realistic to expect now. It is their decision and I am sorry that they feel that way, which I have already mentioned. I emphasize that our doors will always be open for cooperation between Hajduk and all other clubs. At this point, the audience's interest in the match is what thrills me. The interest is such that we would sell out three Poljud stadiums!”

And what happens when the game against Hungary ends?

“Talks with Hajduk on all outstanding issues are continuing, the story remains, and the team will come to Split again. We want this to become the rule so I can say that we will see you in Split in the next qualification cycle. We will not stop now. We will continue to play all over Croatia, and we will be at Poljud again.”

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Poljud Sells Out in Day and a Half for Croatia's Euro Qualifier Against Hungary

September 25, 2019 - The Croatia national team will return to Split next month for the first time since 2015 - and based on the number of tickets sold in just over 24 hours, it's not hard to see just how eager Croatian football fans are to see the 2018 World Cup finalists in action at Poljud stadium. 

Croatia and Hungary will play one of the decisive matches for the 2020 European Championships on 10 October at Poljud stadium in Split, which will be played in front fo 34,000 fans.

Namely, more than 30,000 tickets were sold on Tuesday after they went on sale at noon, while the remaining 3,977 tickets were snagged by Wednesday afternoon. Index.hr reports that the famous Split stadium is now officially sold out. 

The first sections to sell out at Poljud were the East and West, and on the second day of ticket sales, the only section with tickets available was the North. 

The last time Croatia played a match at a Poljud stadium in front of fans was in a friendly against Switzerland in 2012.

After four and a half years and the infamous swastika incident against Italy, the Croatia national team finally returns to Poljud. Split will host Croatia and Hungary in one of the key European Championship qualifying matches of Group E.

Tickets were initially available for a lower presale price until October 6, costing 250 kuna for the West, 200 for the East, and 125 for the North. 

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

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Ticket Sales Begin for Croatia's Euro Qualifier Against Hungary at Poljud

September 24, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary will meet for their next Euro 2020 qualifier at Poljud stadium in Split.

24 Sata reports that ticket sales for Croatia's long-awaited match against Hungary at Poljud begin on Tuesday at the Spaladium Arena and online, and interest is high. Recall, the Croatia national team hasn’t played in Split since 2015. 

A few hours before tickets went on sale for the crucial Euro 2020 qualifier between the national teams of Croatia and Hungary on October 10,a line in front of the box office at Spaladium Arena was formed, which was monitored by police.

After four and a half years, the Croatia national team returns to Split after lengthy negotiations between the City of Split, Hajduk and the Croatian Football Federation (HNS). Hajduk tacitly approved the arrival of the national team, but withdrew from partaking in the organization of the match.

Ticket presales begin on Tuesday at 12 pm at the Spaladium Arena box office (weekdays 12 pm to 6 pm) and online. The presale runs until October 6.

Tickets for the north stands cost 100 kuna, while it is 150 kuna to sit in the east and 200 kuna for the west. After the presale ends, prices go up to 125, 200 and 250 kuna. Tickets for the game against Wales in Cardiff are also on sale for 260 kuna each.

The national team schedule for their week in Split is also known. Namely, the national team will gather on Monday, October 7, at the Le Meridien Lav Hotel. The team will hold their training before the match in Omis. The only activity at Poljud will be a training and press conference the day before the match.

The day after the game, the national team will hold their usual stretch at the hotel gym, and takeoff for Cardiff on a charter flight on Saturday, the day before the match against Wales.

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

Thursday, 19 September 2019

City of Split and HNS Meet: Details Revealed

September 19, 2019 - Croatia and Hungary will meet at Poljud Stadium next month for a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier. The City of Split and HNS sat down at Poljud on Wednesday to discuss the details. 

Slobodna Dalmacija and Gol.hr report that a five-hour marathon meeting was held on Wednesday at Poljud on the topic of the upcoming Croatia-Hungary match, which will be played on Thursday 10 October. The media learned at 3 pm on Wednesday that everything is going according to plan, and that they are moving to the City Administration where they will finalize the contract they had not yet signed.

Just after 10 am, executive chairman Marijan Kustic arrived at the head of a large HNS delegation, including Vlado Iveta, Niksa Martinac, Zoran Cvrk, and female representatives and match managers Helena Pushkar and Antonia Burazer, who runs the VIP.

“What are the points in the contract? The organization of the match, the items that HNS is taking over, that is what we spoke about. There is no controversy, but there are a lot of details, a lot of points, so everything took five hours,” Kustic said pleased after the meeting.

Is Hajduk still not participating in the organization of the match?

“I’d be the happiest if they chose to participate. But, we are negotiating with the City and signing a contract with them,” Kustic added.

Split Mayor of Andro Krustolovic Opara was only at the beginning of the meeting to welcome the HNS delegation to Poljud, before hurrying back to the City Administration. Thus, the details were agreed by Mate Omazic and Domagoj Maroevic, and Kustic was to join Opara at the City Administration later. 

"It is important that the people and services work and cooperate and look for the best model for this to be a win-win situation," said Split Mayor Andro Krstulovic Opara. Recall, Dalmatinski Portal reported that the message ‘Opara liar - choose a side' welcomed the Split Mayor in front of Poljud Stadium on Wednesday. 

 2019-09-18-14-01-4226-.jpg

While some might think the most important win would entail qualifying points, the victories the mayor speaks of is normalizing relationships in Croatian football - and with Hajduk specifically. 

"I want both Hajduk and HNS to come to the situation they announced two months ago, and I believe we are on the right track," Opara added.

"The items that HNS itself is taking over are in regards to the organization, and they are taking over some of the things that we have discussed. But in the end, we agreed on everything," he said.

Thus, the return of the Croatia national team and 2018 World Cup finalists to Poljud in Split goes its course. Tickets will be on sale from Monday and run between 100 to 250 kuna. In responding to media reports, Kustic does not believe that ticket prices are unusually high (up to 250 kuna on the day of the match). 

Recall, the match at Poljud on October 10 is the return of the national team to Split for the first time since 2015. The World Cup finalists last played at Poljud in 2015 against Italy behind closed doors. Before that, they met Georgia in 2011. Both matches were played as qualifiers for the European Championships, in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

Croatia is on the verge of qualifying for the Euro once again, and every four years the national team seems to arrive back in Split.

This will be the 13th ever match played in Split, at Poljud Stadium, since Croatia gained independence. 

The meeting on Wednesday was the second of such a gathering at Poljud.

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

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