Thursday, 15 September 2022

TCN Split Winter Tourist Roundtable: KLM from Amsterdam 12 Months a Year!

September 14, 2022 - A massive boost for Split winter tourism, as KLM announces 12-month flights between Amsterdam and Split. And there's more... 

It is 9 months almost to the day since the first TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable, hosted by Chops Grill, which brought together the key tourism stakeholders in Dalmatia from the public and private sector. You can read more about that initial meetting (and excellent lunch) here.

There was a lot of scepticism going into the meeting, with few participants expecting concrete results, but that initial meeting - expertly moderated by Michael Freer - was one of the most positive business experiences I have had in my time in Croatia.

And the results - direct and indirect - are starting to show. How about this for some excellent news for those looking for connectivity to Dalmatia in winter? I heard the news a few days ago, but this has now been officially confirmed by the excellent Croatian Aviation

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will continue to operate between Amsterdam and Split in the upcoming winter flight schedule! Namely, since the beginning of the global pandemic, the company operated to Split exclusively around Christmas and New Year (6-12 rotations per year), but the airline has now announced regular flights between the two mentioned cities from the beginning to the end of the winter flight schedule (end of October - end March).

In the summer season, KLM flies up to 3 times a day between the two cities, which is not surprising when there is extremely high demand for the second largest Croatian city in the peak of the summer tourist season.

The company is extremely satisfied with the results achieved on the Croatian market, several winter flights in recent years have recorded excellent occupancy, so this winter the airline will convert its route from seasonal to year-round. This is important news for the Split airport, which in the winter flight schedule has only a few airlines and a smaller number of international lines, which will enable passengers to and from Split to significantly increase the possibility of travel and connectivity via Amsterdam to numerous other destinations in Europe and the world.

In addition to local passengers from Split, the line is also important for winter tourism in the city and its surroundings, as well as for business people traveling to and from Split throughout the year.

Winter flights between Split and Amsterdam will be operated by KLM's daughter company, KLM Cityhopper, and E295 aircraft with a capacity of 132 passengers have been announced on the route. It is to be expected that the airline will, if necessary, adjust the type of aircraft on the route in accordance with demand, so smaller E90 and E70 type Embraers are also possible in Split this winter.

Regular flights between the two cities will take place from the end of October to the end of March next year as many as seven times a week, that is, daily, which will allow passengers complete flexibility in planning their trips.

This is KLM's second destination in Croatia, to which the Dutch airline will also operate in the winter flight schedule. In addition to Split, KLM operates to Zagreb International Airport in the winter, twice a day in both the winter and summer flight schedules.

Without giving too much away, talks are also ongoing with a major budget airline to bring in up to 80 flights over the winter 2023 season from thee European capitals. The price is reasonable, the hotels are happy to contribute, and I for one am quietly optimistic that there could be some even more good news to announce in the coming months. 

TCN will bring you more news on this as we get it.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Monday, 12 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Toni Bakovic, from Derby UK to Split

September 12, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring, and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. We start with Toni Bakovic, who moved from Derby to Split.

My name is Toni Bakovic, I'm 24, born and raised in Split, Croatia; previously living for 5 years in Buxton/Manchester/Derby in England, I have decided to voluntarily take "the short end of the stick," as many would see it, and move back to Croatia from the UK. Since then I shifted from the Tourism Industry and odd jobs in England, into Entrepreneurship in Croatia and currently am at the cusp of my first webshop launch Textor.hr

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane?

I think this was the most difficult part, to start, after finishing my BA in Tourism Management at the University of Derby, I continued right after for my Master's degree in Business Management (2020) while working odd jobs, and by doing so, I was getting a couple of interesting job offers from abroad to build on and jump-start my career. This path felt correct, just finished Uni, got a job waiting in my field, and everyone else is following those steps, but... something was missing, I can't put my finger on it, maybe it was the Corona crisis, maybe I didn't like the process being logical and straight-forward, maybe I was bad at decision making, but I decided to go back and see what was waiting for me business-wise back home. After I booked it, I did have second thoughts, especially financial thoughts, every price of every item around me is blowing up (due to Covid), and I am moving back to a country where I will be earning a lot less than I would be somewhere else, but as I said, I had a pull back home and wanted to try it, so I didn't linger on my thoughts that much.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

I'm glad this wasn't a pressure point since it would have been a lot more difficult on me if I had serious concerns from my family and friends back home. They fully supported my decision but they knew it could be thought of as "controversial" and most of our talks before I first left to study and work were about how I am planning to stay for a bit longer to see how I'd do and to explore my job opportunities much better than I could back home. 

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

Well, I've kept up with the news, but you never fully understand until you feel it on your own skin, I've heard stories from family and friends about the good and the bad, but my own experience has taught me most of all. 

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and how was the reality of what you found?

My biggest fear was being stuck, both psychologically, career-wise, and financially. The last thing you want to do as a 20-year-old is to get stuck in a job, city, or debt you really don't want to be in, so I guess running away from that kept me working harder. Reality is often more boring than you think, the fun lies in how you deal with it. Yes, the money is bad, yes I can't buy a house in Split, yes I probably am more limited in traveling, but at least I am home, I can work with that. I fought more than I thought I would for my car, for my hobbies, and for my future, money is a struggle, but it isn't a priority anymore. I wish I knew this before, but people always fully live with however much they are given, I've learned of families living on 1000 Euro (8000kn) a month who are happier than I am. Living in England provided a perspective of people who had more money than they needed and were extremely unhappy. This has helped my mentality a lot. The fear of my career failing is unfortunately still with me, but more on that in the next chapters.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, a cheesy line, but it did do wonders for me. I just expected I will have no car, no good job, and no opportunity to move out and work from there. That pretty much happened in the beginning, I was refused in loads of hotels I wanted to start, and due to my lack of experience, I worked as an assistant manager (the guy who does everything other people don't want to do) in Svpetrvs Resort Village to start and everything was as I expected, I drove my grandma's old car, my wage was around Net 6000kn + overtime, and was staying in a worker's accommodation. Following that summer I decided that try to use my book knowledge (while I still had it) and to work on some projects of my own, my father was a director of a Textile company that I didn't really care for much... but it did give me something to work off, I knew what I liked, which was design and marketing, everything colorful, so I started to work on a webshop and modernization project to make something I liked out of something I had no interest in. I have been working on this for the past two years while helping out my father "in return". Croatia definitely didn't help with my decision, I don't have any good courses to attend for my development, little to no financial help for new entrepreneurs, the competition is behind and selling usually with traditional marketing, and huge companies with millions in marketing budget are running rampant. So I feel it's kind of me against the world, but, lucky for me, this is exactly how I already felt moving to a different country with no one I knew, so I guess in a weird way, I was experienced in this situation.

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6. You are still here, so obviously the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

The people and the beauty of the country versus everything else, the medical, public transportation, political, and education departments are horrid, almost laughably so. As a recent student myself, I feel that no student should feel this lost after finishing University as much as they do here, the path of a young person in Croatia from the beginning of their education to the end leaves a lot to desire. And especially in Split, starting a family is so financially damning that I am surprised so many decided to go for it anyways, a square meter in Split is getting up to 4000 Euro average in the next 5 years, not even mentioning the lack of support from Croatia for young families. I have worked on obtaining an APN  Loan for "young families" and honestly I had more trouble with that than with actually getting enough money for it. The only thing I can say to young people is good luck and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Still, it always helps to put things in perspective; I still think it is one of the greatest countries to live in, people do fight for it, and I am not the first one to bring out these statements, which makes me happy, the people do have a big heart but it will take more than that to fix the state, it does give hope though.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making the move from the diaspora?

I think they know as much as I do, especially people who worked a lot in multiple countries, it's all about balance. What makes you happy? What is your goal in life? I know these are difficult questions, but living in certain countries pushes you towards different goals. I've met people who live their hobbies and moved to countries where that hobby is highly developed, I know people who are very attached to their family, so they go where they go, who are workaholics and moved to huge cities with great opportunities. I think those differences are beautiful. If Croatia can offer you a solution to your goals/happiness try it out, you people in the diaspora are more flexible by nature so use that flexibility to try more than one country if you already didn't do so, more points of view often point to a more precise answer. Croatia isn't a wonderland and so aren't the countries you live in, but trying more than 2-3 countries is the best advice I can give you for your long-term living decisions.

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8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

I think safety nets are a very important missing part of Croatia, you don't have a safety net if your business starts failing, if you need medical help, if you have special needs, if you end up homeless, if you failed the schooling system, there are no structured and developed ways to have people bounce back from situations that can happen to most. For the people moving back, I'd say the laws around Croatian entrepreneurs from abroad wanting to move their HQ back home should be highly supported (even fully funded), or on the other hand, if you can prove to be an asset to the country (highly performing worker) you should be rewarded for staying by being offered bonuses from a government level. But none of this can happen while the top of the state is ready to exploit these opportunities as quickly as they can. So I'd say this has to be done very transparently and maybe even from a government-funded private organization to help with that.

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Thanks Toni, and good luck with the launch of Textor.hr

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Croatia Takes Gold at European Water Polo Championships in Split!

September 10, 2022 - Croatia is the new European water polo champion!!! Croatia beat Hungary in the final of the European Water Polo Championships in Split on Saturday. 

At the sold-out Spaladium Arena in Split on Saturday, Ivica Tucak and his Croatia team sought their second gold medal in their fourth final at the European Championships. The 'Barakudas' won their only European title in 2010 in Zagreb when the team was led by Ratko Rudić.

"What we will have to do perfectly if we want to win, and we clearly want to, will be an aggressive defensive block. At the cost of, I don't know how many exclusions, I don't want us to leave them bombarding Marko Bijač without interruption from five or six meters away. Hungary's strongest weapon is shooting, they have perfect shooters, and they are not shooters, they are bombers. We have to prevent that," said coach Tucak before the match. 

Recall, that Croatia beat Italy in the semi-final match on Thursday after beating Georgia in the quarter-final on Tuesday. 

Croatia beat Malta and France and drew against Greece in the group stage, which was enough to win first place in Group B with seven points.

Match Report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match, which the Hungary keeper saved. Hungary shanked their first chance at goal. Croatia's second attack at goal was blocked by the Hungary defense. Kharkov scored Croatia's first goal for 1:0 with 5:28 left in the quarter! Hungary equalized for 1:1 with 4:59 on the clock. Hungary increased their lead to 2:1 with 4:11 left. Bijac saved Hungary's next attack to keep them only one goal ahead. Buric nailed the back of the net for 2:2 with 3:08 left. Croatia retook the lead for 3:2 thanks to Ivan Krapic with 1:20 to go. Hungary equalized in the next attack - 3:3. The first quarter ended at 3:3. 

2nd Quarter

Hungary won the swim-off for the first attack of the second quarter, but Bukic intercepted their attack. Croatia could not find the back of the next in their first attack. Hungary hit the post in the next play, and Kharkov put Croatia back ahead for 4:3 with 4:19 left in the quarter. Bijac with the save of the match so far put the ball back in Croatia's hands. And another two saves after that! Fatovic hit the post in Croatia's next attack. The match went into halftime 4:3 for Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off for the first attack. Buric scored his second goal of the match for 5:3 Croatia! Hungary scored for 5:4. Hungary called a time-out with 7:04 to go. Croatia defended Hungary's next attack and called for a time-out with 6:22 left. Basic lost the ball in the 5th minute and Hungary went to attack the goal again. Hungary was given a penalty with 4:30 left and scored for 5:5. Basic hit the post in the next play. Bijac saved Hungary from taking the lead. Buric was on fire tonight and scored for the Croatia lead at 6:5 with 3:10 to go in the quarter! Hungary equalized in the next play for 6:6. Kharkov nailed the back of the net with just under 2 minutes to go for 7:6! Hungary made it 7:7 with 53 seconds left. Basic made it 8:7 with 18 seconds left, which is how the match went into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia got the first attack of the final quarter and couldn't get a shot off. Hungary equalized for 8:8 with 6:55 left in the game. Bijac saved Hungary's next attempt at goal and a lob went just over Croatia's goal. Hungary's next attempt hit the post. Fatovic's next shot did the same. Kragic hit the side post, too. Croatia was lucky again as Hungary missed the goal in their next two attacks. A penalty was called for Croatia with 2:47 to go. Kragic scored for the Croatia lead - 9:8! A penalty was called for Hungary in the next play - Hungary hit the post! Croatia was given another penalty - Kragic scored for 10:8 with 2:07 on the clock! Bijac kept Croatia ahead with yet another save. Hungary was given a penalty with 32 seconds left and scored for 10:9. A time-out was called with 20 seconds on the clock. And Croatia won it 10:9! 

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

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Slomadism Split: Join the Laidback Mediterranean Lifestyle

September 10, 2022 - Split in September just got better; a chance to network on the beach and enjoy the laidback Mediterranean lifestyle. Meet Slomadism.  

I have been writing about the digital nomad opportunity in Croatia for over 3 years now, and I am learning certain truths about the scene here. 

One is that if Saltwater Nomads is organising the event, there will be no compromise on quality, innovation, or a stellar lineup of speakers and activities. 

Full disclosure, I have very good knowledge about the work of Tanja Polegubic and Saltwater Nomads, as TCN partnered with Saltwater Nomads (and the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board) for the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, as well as the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence and Zagreb Digital Nomad Week (the latter with the Zagreb Tourist Board - stay tuned for the 2022 edition next month), and this year's Dubrovnik Work. Place. Culture. conference. 

A gap in the diary brought the excellent Zadar Digital Nomad Week in June. 

And now, finally, Saltwater Nomads is hosting its first multi-day event in the city where its co-working career was launched - Split. Meet Slomadism. From the Slomadism website:

About Slomadism

What is Slomadism?
If you’ve traded the daily commute for location independence and asynch flexibility, you’re probably already livin’ it. Your office might be steps away from your bedroom. In another country. And next month, who knows?

Or you might just be curious…

Slomadism is a movement. The pace, implied.

And it’s up for defining.

Join us in Split – a laidback Mediterranean location, to explore themes around

finding the sweet spot when blending work and travel.

Why Slomadism Split?

It’s about time. And, it’s about time.

Every point on the planet is now on the path of the digital nomad. The interactions we see now will shape places, people and cultures for years to come. What might this look like?

Slomadism serves as a stage to discuss and define timetravel, life and work – and optimal ways they can intersect. We will share – and challenge, norms of expected outputs and relentless distractions. Look at the key areas affecting – and affected by, this lifestyle. And some of the expected trends and changes coming.

 

Saltwater has been very active in the city for years, with one of its signature events being the weekly Nomad Table at Zinfandel, a chance for nomads to connect over great food and company. It is an event which is growing in popularity, with Mayor Ivica Puljak attending one Nomad Table last year - check out the CROMADS video above. 

Mayor Puljak will be continuing his strong support for this great new potential for Split by attending the Slomadism festival for a Q&A session for digital nomads over coffee. The event also has the support of the Split Tourist Board.

The full provisional programme is below, but check the official website for the latest. 

See you on a bean bag on the beach. 

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Mid-Week Morning Sessions

Join us for a Coffee Crawl!

Tuesday 20 September: 10am
4Coffee Soul Food / Djardin Park
Miro Bandalo
Straighten Up! Perfect Posture.
Grab a coffee at 4Coffee Soul Food and join us on picnic blankets in the Djardin Park.

Later… join a cooking demonstration of a Mediterranean staple, squid ink risotto courtesy of The Works coworking.

Wednesday 21 September: 10am
Central Kavana Cafe (Hotel St Lucia)
Lucijana Jerkovic, Global PR, Croatian National Tourist Board.
Learn the latest Data & Trends in Croatian Tourism with Q&A. Learn about the shift to longer stays – and let it inspire you for how and where you go next!

Thursday 21 September: 10am
Brasserie on 7
Ivica Puljak, Mayor of Split
Join our renowned physicist-turned-mayor, for a session on how Digital Nomads fit in Split. With Q&A … and Special Guests.

Brunch option available for purchase Thursday. All beverages paid for individually at venue.

Networking Sessions - Wednesday & Thursday

18:00 Wednesday 21 September.
Marjan Hill
Get your walking shoes on and meet others on the digital nomad path, with a walk up Marjan Hill for the sunset. A moderate fitness level will be required, but we will have 2x groups.  Meeting point: Info Centar Marjan Park (base of stairs), near Bokamora pizza.

16:00 Thursday 22 September. Walking Tour with local guide Gytha. Spots limited.

Meeting and end point: Gregory of Nin Statue, Djardin Park.

17:30 Thursday 22 September.
Diocletian’s Dream
Step back in time – and into the future, with a Virtual Reality screening of the Palace as it was during Emperor Diocletian’s era. There will be small group screenings lasting 15 minutes, with networking drinks as you wait.

18:30 Thursday 22 September.
Venue TBC
Networking drinks – venue TBC. Meeting point will be at Diocletian’s Dream from 18:00.

Beach Day - Saturday

Saturday 24 September – Bačvice Beach (various areas – see sessions for exact locations)

8:00 SUP! Start Standing Up – with a morning SUP session, courtesy of 45 Degrees Sailing.

9:00 Picigin (watersport) beginners class with Master Picigin Player, “Julio”. Meet on sand in front of Zbirac Cafe for the class.

10:00 Keynotes Over Coffee (includes refreshments). Žbirac Cafe.

  • Steve Tsentserensky: Content and the Slow Road
  • Mariska Kosteloo: Shaping and Creating a New Life as a Widow, Entrepreneur and Digital Nomad
  • Orest Zub: Life as Digital Nomads from Ukraine – Learn about their ongoing Volunteer and Awareness Raising Efforts.

11:00 Slomadism Beach Talks on Bean Bags @ Kavala Beach Bar (western end of the bay).

A chilled out “open fishbowl” format, open to anyone and everyone to have their say. The conversation will flow across themes touching on the hyperlocal, through to the planet at large.. from Split’s sands to Starlink.

Who’s coming?

  • Nick Hathaway: Sailing the Adriatic
  • Michael Freer: Social Impact and Entrepreneurship In The Mediterranean
  • Tanja Polegubic: Heritage Connections and Place
  • Erin Maxwell: Unexpected Expat Life in Croatia
  • Dr Diane Erceg: Volunteering as a Way to Meet New People
  • Paul Bradbury: Lessons from 20 years in Croatia
  • Maria Mustapic: Split’s Hospitality Sector and Digital Nomads
    + Local Digital Nomads living in Split… and passing through.

Local Card Workshop: Learn Trešete and Briškula

Some thoughts from event organiser and Saltwater Nomads CEO Tanja Polegubic:

"Split is a popular base for remote workers coming to Croatia. A large part of that is the laidback lifestyle here. With Slomadism, I see it as akin to the slow food movement - taking more time to immerse, engage and appreciate a destination. There's ways to do this, so this event highlights them.

"I'm grateful to all the supporting local businesses who've been part of this journey, so it's also a tribute to their continued support - and a chance for a knowledge exchange between locals and nomads, and ideally- an opportunity to co-create and shape how the remote lifestyle experience in Split (and nearby) can be optimal for nomads and locals alike.Come along and enjoy everything from cooking, splashing around playing picigin or cards - and not from afar, getting right in the mix. See you at Slomadism in September 20-25 September."

13:00 – FREE TIME & BEACH PARTY WITH DJ – KAVALA BEACH BAR

19:00 Slomad Table Group Dinner (prepaid). This session must be booked.
The walk-in rate is higher and pending availability.

Sunday Winery Tour

Visit the home of the original Zinfandel. A half-hour drive from Split’s centre takes you to Vina Kairos, a 13 hectare vineyard overlooking Split and Trogir and the islands. Head up in time for sunset, with a BYO picnic. Wine tasting included. Van transfers available on request.

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And don't miss a couple of VERY cool and authentic workshops, both of which will help you get accepted as a local.

I think I might go and treat myself to a tight pair fo speedos and sign up for the picigin masterclass.

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And you can't call yourself a real Dalmatian until you have mastered the local card games. 

For the latest information, and to reserve your spot, check out the official Slomadism website.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Croatia Crush Georgia for Spot in European Championship Semifinals!

September 6, 2022 - The Croatia men's water polo team has secured a spot in the European Championship semifinals! 

The Croatia men's water polo team met Georgia in the quarter-final match of the European Championships in Split on Tuesday. 

The winner of the match will play in the semi-finals against Italy, who beat France 16:8 in the quarter-finals.

Croatia did not reach the quarterfinals easily. They lost the first half to both France and Greece in the group stage and failed to score against Greece in the first 16 minutes of the match. However, a draw against Greece was enough for Croatia to win first place in their group with seven points.

Georgia beat the Netherlands 12:8 (2:3, 5:1, 2:2, 3:2) in the round of 16. Croatia last played Georgia a little over two months ago at the World Championships in Budapest and won 13:7 in the round of 16. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match but lost the ball to Georgia. Georgia hit the post in their first attack. Croatia won a penalty with 6:09 on the clock. Kharkov scored for 1:0 Croatia. Bijac saved Georgia's next attack. Croatia's next attack resulted in another penalty which Kharkov scored again for 2:0! Bijac kept the goal clean in Georgia's next attack, and Fatovic scored for 3:0 with 3:39 left. Zuvela made it 4:0 with 6 seconds on the clock, which is how the first quarter ended. 

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off but didn't score in their first attack. Georgia scored for 4:1 with 7:09 on the clock. Georgia hit the post in the next attack but scored for 4:2 with 5:22 to go. Buric scored for 5:2 with 4:48 left. Bijac was solid in goal to deny Georgia’s next attacks. Kharkov made it 6:2 with 1:19 to go. Georgia won a penalty with 52 seconds but hit the post. Croatia hit the post in their next attack. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off again and the first attack of the 3rd quarter. Basic nailed the back of the net for 7:2 with 7:30 on the clock. Georgia answered back in their next attack for 7:3 with 7:02 to go. Bukic made it 8:3 for Croatia with 6:32 left. Fatovic scored a penalty for 9:3 with 5:49 left. Bijac saved a Georgia penalty with 5:20 on the clock. Nothing was getting past Bijac in this match. Fatovic had a one-on-one and faked the Georgia keeper for 10:3 with 3 minutes left! Bukic made it 11:3 with 1:29 to go in the third quarter - and 12:3 with 42 seconds left. 

4th Quarter

Popadic replaced Bijac in goal for the final quarter. Georgia got the swim-off in the final quarter of the match. Georgia made it 12:4 with 7:17 to go in the match. Buric answered back with a goal for 13:4. Croatia called a time-out with 4:21 to go. Bukic scored for 14:4 with 2:24 left. Georgia scored for 14:5 with 1:45 on the clock. Kragic made it 15:5 with 42 seconds left. Croatia had the final attack and ran out the clock. The match ended 15:5! 

Croatia and Italy will meet in the semi-final on Thursday in Split!

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

 

Friday, 2 September 2022

Croatia Tops Greece for Spot in European Championship Quarterfinals!

September 2, 2022 - Croatia and Greece draw 5:5 in Split on Friday, a result that brought Croatia first place in Group B and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! 

The Croatia men's water polo team played their last match in Group B at the European Championships in Split on Friday. Croatia and Greece met in the final group game, which was also the game for first place - the spot leading directly to the quarterfinals. 

The Croatia women's team already secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after the men's side's opening win against Malta, they defeated France 13:7 on Wednesday. 

The Croatia men's side entered tonight's match with great optimism as a draw was enough for them to win the group. 

Losing, however, would give Croatia second place in Group B, which meant playing in the round of 16 on Sunday against the third-placed team from Group D.

Recall that Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. Biljaka hit the post. Bijac saved Greece's first attack. Vrlic tried backhanding into the goal in the next attack, but the Greece keeper punched it out for Croatia's ball. Kharkov's attempt was saved in the same play. But Greece couldn't store either with Bijac in goal. The first four minutes of the match didn't see a goal. Greece was the first to score with 3:40 on the clock for 1:0. Fatovic hit over the post with just over 3 minutes to go. Bijac kept Greece from increasing their lead. With 32 seconds to go in the first quarter - Greece made it 2:0, which is how the first quarter ended.

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the second quarter as well. Kragic hit the post in Croatia's first attack. Another chance for Croatia also just missed the goal. Bijac continued to be brilliant in goal with save after save, but Greece's keeper also denied Croatia from seeing the back of the net. Kragic hit the post again with 4 and a half minutes left. Bijac was unstoppable, but Greece's defense was the same to protect theirs. Another shot for Croatia - another miss. With 1:58 to go, Croatia had a corner without any luck. Another great defensive play with a minute to go kept Greece ahead by only two goals. The match was 2:0 for Greece going into halftime. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter but could not get a shot off. Croatia denied Greece's first attack, too. Zuvela finally scored Croatia's first goal with 6:28 on the clock - it was 2:1.  And Josip. Vrlic scored a screamer for the equalizer - it was 2:2 with 5:22 left! Bijac brilliantly defended before Greece found a way back ahead for 3:2 with 3:15 left. Kharkov equalized with 2:35 left for 3:3! Greece hit the post in the next play with just over a minute on the clock. Kragic tried shooting from far out, which was played for a corner. Greece called for a time-out with the attack and 15 seconds to go in the quarter. Croatia called for a time-out after a Greece goal was called back. It was 3:3 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia won the final swim-off of the match, and Kragic nailed the back of the net for the Croatia lead! It was 3:4 or Croatia. Bijac, yet again, saved the day in Greece's first three attacks to keep Croatia ahead. Greece hit the post with 4:52 on the clock and Bijac defended again. Greece equalized at 4:4 with 4:29 to go. Greece score for 5:4 and the lead again with 3:36 left. Rino Buric answered back for 5:5 with 2:52 on the clock. Bijac saved Greece's attack and Croatia missed in their next attack. Greece had the ball with a minute to go. But Bijac, being Bijac, let nothing go past him. The match ended at 5:5 for Croatia! 

This result means that Croatia takes first place in Group B and secures a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! Croatia plays the winner of the ranking game 4 on Tuesday at 16:30.  

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Impresses against France for Second Win at Water Polo Euros in Split!

August 31, 2022 - Another win for Croatia at the European Water Polo Championships in Split! After beating Malta on Monday, Croatia secured a victory against France on Wednesday at Spaladium Arena (13:7). 

The European Water Polo Championships continued in Split on Wednesday. The Croatia women's team secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after their opening win against Malta, the Croatia men's team faced France in the second round of Group B. 

"It is important that we be good. France is not as strong as, say, Hungary, but they showed quality. They drew against Greece, which is enough of a warning," said Croatia coach Ivica Tucak.

Beating France definitely separates Croatia from the worst or third place in the group - and is even better going into their final Group B match against Greece on Friday. Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. France hit the crossbar in their first attack. Bukic shot at the keeper in Croatia's next attack. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal with 5:39 on the clock for 1:0! France equalized for 1:1 with 5:20 to go. The next two minutes went without goals. France scored with 2:08 left in the quarter for 1:2. Kragic nailed the net with 1:30 left for 2:2! France went back ahead for 2:3 with 1:09 left. The first quarter ended 2:3 for France. 

2nd Quarter

France won the swim-off this time and the first attack but could not find the goal. Lazic's shot skipped over Croatia's goal in their first attack of the quarter. France was awarded a penalty with 6:53 to go. Croussillat scored or 2:4. Loren Fatvovic made it 3:4 with 6:11 on the clock. No goals for the next two minutes and a few questionable missed calls by the ref resulted in a timeout for France with just over 4 minutes to go. Bijac made two super saves in France's next attack. Kragic hit the post in the next play. Bijac kept a clean net in the next France attack, but Croatia was unable to score either. With less than a minute to go, it was still 3:4 for France. Andrija Basic equalized with 32 seconds on the clock. The second quarter ended at 4:4. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter. Croatia's first attack was saved by the France keeper, though France was unlucky in their first attack as well. Kharkov put Croatia back in the lead at 5:4 with 5:42 to go in the quarter. France hit the post and then won a penalty. Lazic was also given his third exclusion. Bijac brilliantly saved the penalty to keep Croatia ahead! And in the next attack - Zuvela scored for 6:4 with just over 4 minutes on the clock. France scored for 6:5 with 2:51 left. Basic nailed the net with 2:23 left for 7:5! And another rocket by Zuvela for 8:5! Croatia had the last attack of the 3rd quarter, which Kragic scored for 9:5 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the final quarter, and Bukic scored immediately in the first attack for 10:5. A quick counter for Croatia aw Kharkov one-on-one with the France keeper to score for 11:5! Croatia called a time-out with 5:48 left in the match. Bukic scored for 12:5 with 5:28 left. Bijac continued to keep Croatia's net clean with a save in France's next attack. France scored for 12:6 with 3:53 left. Rino Buric scored for 13:6 with 3:27 left! Croatia called a time-out with 1:26 left in the game. France scored for 13:7 with 37 seconds to go in the game. And Croatia won it 13:7! 

Croatia and Greece play in the final Group B on Friday at 20:30. 

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Women's Water Polo Write History at European Championships in Split

August 31, 2022 - The Croatia women's water polo team defeated Romania 15:6 in the 3rd round of the European Championships in Split and secured a historic quarterfinal spot at the tournament! 

After beating Germany 15-8, Croatia claimed another huge win, netting 15 goals again, this time against Romania. This result likely sends them to the quarterfinals for the first time in history.

Head coach Aljosa Kunac called for a time-out after just 3:03 minutes – with 0-0 on the scoreboard. Then, in just 2:40 minutes, Croatia led 4-0, scoring from four straight possessions. Another 4-1 quarter followed the first, and Croatia led 8-2 at halftime.

The second half continued on the same path. With this second win, Croatia secured their spot in the quarterfinals – a historical result for the hosts as they couldn't achieve the same in their previous three appearances.

“We needed him to achieve this historical result (holding his baby boy on his arm). Seriously, I had to call that time-out as the players started taking shots from everywhere without setting up anything; they thought it was just about shooting and once they’d score. I told them to stop this; we have a plan, stick to that, and play according to it as a team. It turned out that it was worth listening to me, the plan worked, so we are really happy now," said Croatia coach Aljosa Kunac. 

In the 4th round, Croatia will play against Hungary, and they still have Greece.

"We have done our job, but we do not intend to stop there. There will be more games in the battle for 5th to 8th place where we can look for another victory. The first task before us is preparing for Hungary, our next opponent. We will prepare as best as possible, try not to make a big difference, and for the girls to play it without stress."

“First, I would like to congratulate the whole team as this victory truly was a team effort. Today was my day; I scored 4/5, but five players plus the goalkeeper worked hard so the sixth player could score, and today that was me. I am proud of everything we have done so far. We did everything we said we would before coming here. Only the first match with the Netherlands didn’t go as planned, but that was normal. It was our first official game together, and the pressure of playing at home in this great arena made an impact. We will now try and prepare for Hungary and give our best again," said player Matea Skelin.

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

Monday, 29 August 2022

Brilliant Start for Croatia at LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split

August 29, 2022 - An easy win for the Croatia men's water polo team in their first match at the 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split. Croatia crushed Malta 19:5 at Spaladium Arena on Monday night. 

The third day of the 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships at Spaladium Arena in Split was held on Monday, which finally featured the men's competition and, of course, Croatia's Barracudas!

After the Croatia women's water polo team defeated Germany on Sunday, the men took the stage after the official opening ceremony. 

The opening ceremony also welcomed the highest state, county, and city officials, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Split Mayor Ivica Puljak, and Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blazenko Boban. 

"We are expecting a lot of guests, from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, ministers, representatives of the city government, heads of the boards of many Croatian companies and our partners, and most importantly, the people of Split and everyone who loves water polo to come and support both our national teams. I am convinced of a good game against Malta in a spectacular atmosphere, as well as I hope that we will reach the fight for a medal with the intimate desire to reach the final," said Perica Bukić, vice-president and executive director of the Croatian Water Polo Federation, before the opening ceremony. 

The opening ceremony also featured Croatian music greats Zorica Kondža, Goran Karan, Tedi Spalato, Lidija Bačić, and Ante Gelo, among others. 

Croatia and Malta met in the 1st round of Group B from 21:00. 

"We are looking forward to the start of the European Championship, which is the end of long preparations, a tiring summer in which we also played the World Championships. We have done everything necessary, the national team is ready for the start of the competition, and we are starting to achieve the biggest and best result possible," said coach Ivica Tucak before the match. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Kharkov won the sprint for Croatia to kick off the first quarter, but the attack went without a goal. Malta's first attack was also unlucky. Loren Fatovic scored Croatia first goal with 6:53 on the clock for 1:0. Malta's next attack also went without a goal. Krzic made it 2:0 for Croatia with 6:19 left.  A brilliant save by Bijac kept Croatia ahead with 3 minutes to go. The first quarter ended 2:0 for Croatia. 

2nd Quarter

Malta won the swim-off for the first attack of the 2nd quarter but failed to score. Croatia did not score in their first or second attack. Malta hit the post with just over 5 minutes to go but still couldn't find the back of the net. Ivan Krapic made it 3:0 for Croatia with 5:15 left. Zuvela intercepted Malta's next attack though Kragic's shot was blocked. Croatia's defense blocked Malta's next attack, and Rino Buric had a quick counter. Buric passed to Kragic, who scored for 4:0. Buric found the back of the net with less than 2 minutes to go until the half - 5:0 Croatia! Malta's first goal of the match came with 1:09 left. A brilliant interception and one-on-one for Loren Fatovic was ultimately called for a Malta ball, and the match went into halftime 5:1 Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Malta won the swim-off of the third quarter and scored for 5:2 in their first attack. Croatia was unable to score in the next play. Kharkov's shot hit the post, which found Fatovic, who scored for 6:2 Croatia with just over 6 minutes on the clock. Luka Bukic made it 7:2 for Croatia in the next play. Kragic scored a rocket for 8:2 with 5:10 left. Kragic scored for 9:2 with less than 4 minutes to go in the quarter. Rino Buric scored for 10:2 Croatian with 2 minutes left. Fatovic scored for 11:2 with just over a minute to go before the final quarter. Fatovic scored for 12:2 with 44 seconds on the clock. Malta scored for 12:3 to end the third quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Zuvela won the swim-off for Croatia's first attack of the final quarter. Zuvela scored for 13:3. A penalty was called for Croatia with 6:05 on the clock, which Kragic scored for 14:3. Zuvela impressed with a backhanded move around the Malta defender and lob over the keeper for 15:3 with 5:34 left in the match. Fatovic scored for 16:3 with just over 3 minutes in the match. And it was 16:4 after a Malta goal seconds later. A brilliant play in the Croatia attack found Buric alone in front of the Malta goal to score for 17:4. Malta found the back of the net again with 2 minutes to go in the match - 17:5. Krapic scored with 39 seconds left for 18:5. And Kharkov scored the final goal of the match for 19:5 Croatia! 

Croatia plays France next on Wednesday at 20:30. 

Upcoming schedule of concerts at Spaladium Arena's Jana - Water City

Tuesday, August 30

21:00 – Matija Cvek

Wednesday, August 31

22:00 – Mladen Grdović

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

Friday, 26 August 2022

Stage Set for 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split!

August 26, 2022 - The 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships will be held in Split at the Spaladium Arena from August 27 to September 10, 2022. 

Head of the organizers, Renato Zivkovic, said at the opening press conference on Friday morning that since Split had earned the right to host the event in 2018, they had to overcome the impacts of the pandemic and now the ongoing war – but with the support of the Government, the city and their partners, they were able to deliver everything they had planned.

“Despite all these difficulties, we remained calm and solved the problems in the best possible way over the last six months, though this was very demanding. But now what matters is that we have 28 teams here, 92 matches to play in 15 days – two pools were constructed, the arena is decorated, and
everything is ready for the great show. I hope that everyone will enjoy the next two weeks.”

“I’ve been here for many events, handball championships, concerts, but for me, the Arena looks the most beautiful now, and it would be nice if the pool could stay forever,” said Milos Mracevic, speaking on behalf of LEN as Bureau Member and water polo liaison.

“We can’t wait for the start of the competition and pass the floor to the main stars of the event. On behalf of LEN President Antonio Silva and First
Vice-President Josip Varvodic, we are all grateful to the Croatian Water Polo Federation for what they have done in the last year and the enormous efforts they’ve put in to have a successful event in Split. I’m sure that in the end, everyone will leave with the most positive impressions.”

LEN Operational Manager Marco Birri highlighted that 34 broadcasters would have live coverage of the championships, and LEN also offers a free live stream of each game with on-site commentary.

“On our new platform, which is available through our website, we’ll feature even more content, while you may relive each and every goal scored in Split by visiting our livescoring site, where the goal clips will be featured almost immediately as the game progresses.”

The championships begin with the first two rounds of the women’s tournament on Saturday and Sunday, while the men’s tournament starts on Monday.

Ivica Tucak, coach of the Croatia men’s team, spoke at the press conference as well: 

“We had the privilege to play a practice game with Serbia in this beautiful venue – congratulations to Renato and the entire organizing team who worked on this wonderful project. I’m sure we’ll have a fantastic championship here in Split. As for the team, everybody will give his absolute top to represent the country in the best possible way. We have ambitions, but we have a completely new team compared to Tokyo. Going through all the changes and forming a new team is never easy, and we also had to deal with injuries and sickness, so we’ll miss a couple of players. Still, we proved our strength at the World Championships and the warm-up tournaments, we have a lot to offer, and we have the same goal as always – that is, reaching the semis and playing in the medal round. It’s difficult to predict anything, but we are ready to play in this beautiful city, in front of our fans, show our best and go as far as we can.”

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

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