Thursday, 9 December 2021

Dinamo Beats West Ham 1:0 in London for Spot in Europa League Playoffs

December 9, 2021 - Dinamo beats West Ham 1:0 in London in the last round of Group H, thus securing second place of the group and the Europa League playoff round in the spring. 

Mislav Oršić secured the victory for the Blues with a fantastic goal in the 4th minute. The Croatian champion had many more opportunities to increase the score against West Ham, which played with a rather mixed squad, and only two permanent and two other occasional first-team players, among them former Hajduk Split star Nikola Vlašić.

Rapid's away victory against Genk (0:1) also helped Dinamo, but this result would only matter if Dinamo drew or lost. 

Dinamo secured either the Europa League or Conference League even before the match against West Ham. West Ham had secured first place before the match against Dinamo, and the Blues needed at least one point in London or for Genk to lose at home to confirm second place. 

The Europa League playoff matches are on February 17 next year, and the return matches are played seven days later.

In the end, West Ham won the group with 13 points, Dinamo is second with 10, Rapid is third with six and goes and will play in the Conference League in the spring, while Genk is at the back with five points.

West Ham as the winner of the group goes directly to the round of 16, Dinamo will play in the Europa League playoffs against one of the third-placed clubs in the Champions League, while Rapid moves to the Conference League playoffs. 

The Europa League playoff draw is on December 13 in Nyon at 1 pm. The Zagreb club could face RB Leipzig, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff, Barcelona, ​​Atalanta, Sevilla and Zenit St. Petersburg.

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

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Europa League: West Ham Beats Dinamo in Group Stage Opener at Maksimir

September 16, 2021 -  In the first round of the Europa League group stage, West Ham beats Dinamo 2:0 at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. 

Dinamo and West Ham met in the first round of the Europa League group stage on Thursday at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. Although the Croatian champion has much more experience in European competitions, West Ham's status as a solid Premier League club made them the favorite going into this match. 

Croatia national team player (and former Hajduk star) Nikola Vlašić was in West Ham's starting 11, while Bruno Petković and Mislav Oršić led Dinamo's attack. There were 12,344 spectators at the stadium, of which 859 were West Ham supporters. 


Dinamo: Livaković - Šutalo, Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine - Ristovski, Ademi, Mišić, Franjić - Ivanušec - Petković, Oršić

West Ham: Fabianski - Fredericks, Zouma, Diop, Cresswell - Rice, Souček - Vlašić, Lanzini, Fornals - Antonio

The first half was one to forget for the Croatian club and perhaps one of the worst halves they've played in Europe in the last few years. An unrecognizable Dinamo succumbed to West Ham's pressure and gave up two corners in the first 3 minutes of play. 

Dinamo's first attack didn't come until the 11th minute, and Petković and Ademi could not get past Fabianski. An Oršić shot from 30 meters out in the 20th minute almost gave Dinamo the lead, though a catastrophic mistake by Theophile-Catherine put West Ham in the lead instead. Theophile-Catherine weakly passed back to Livaković without realizing Antonio was there to score for 0:1. Livaković had to save Dinamo from another close encounter 3 minutes later. 

Dinamo struggled to find their game, and Vlašić nearly had a few chances for West Ham in the remainder of the half, but the match luckily ended 0:1 for West Ham at halftime. 

Dinamo picked up their pace at the start of the second half with an attacking play immediately in the first minute. But West Ham was quicker to increase their lead, and Declan Rice scored for 0:2 in the 51st minute.

Dinamo had a good chance 3 minutes later when Ivanušec's shot went out for a corner, and another chance again in the 60th, which just missed the goal. 

West Ham subbed out Vlašić for Bowen in the 69th minute.

Dinamo was lucky not to concede another goal in the 79th minute. Tolić pulled a counter-attack with Jurić in the 87th minute, though it was no tough task for Fabianski. 

Three minutes of injury time were added to the end of the match, which was not enough for Dinamo to get back a goal. The match ended 0:2 for West Ham. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Dinamo Prepares for West Ham at Maksimir: "We Can Repeat Tottenham"

September 14, 2021 - Dinamo Zagreb is preparing to welcome West Ham at Maksimir Stadium on Thursday to open the Europa League group stage. 

West Ham United is playing in Europe for the first time in five years. The English club played in the competition last when they were led by Slaven Bilić and were shockingly knocked out in the play-offs by Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, reports 24 Sata.

West Ham is in the group stage of the competition for the first time thanks to finishing sixth place in the Premier League last season.

And their first stop? Croatia.

Dinamo, their first group stage opponent, plays in the Europa League group stage for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons.

Nikola Vlašić (23) will once again play against Dinamo in the Europa League group stage. Recall, Vlašić met Dinamo when playing with CSKA Moscow last season and lost at Maksimir. He made his West Ham debut in the draw against Southampton last weekend (0-0).

Spaniard Pablo Fornals (25) knows it won’t be easy, even though the Hammers are favorites for bookmakers (odds 2.25 at West Ham and 3.10 at Dinamo).

"We are playing away. It will be a new experience for all of us, and I hope that we will make all West Ham fans proud," Fornals said for the official West Ham website.

Coach David Moyes has hinted that striker Michail Antonio, who is excluded from the league game and has no right to play against Manchester United at the weekend, will play in Zagreb.

"Will I try other options? He can’t play against United, and you can look at it in several ways. I don't want Mic to be without a game for a few weeks, he played a little for the national team, but I will think about it," said Moyes.

Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi (30), the club's record holder with 87 appearances in UEFA competitions, does not believe that it will be a one-way street.

"With a full stadium, with our fans, with their great support, we can repeat Tottenham. Clearly, I am an optimist; what an athlete I would be if I were not an optimist. We believed then that we could get past the Spurs, and that faith brought us that result," said the captain and continued:

"I appeal to our fans to give us the support they know against West Ham. It means a lot to us on the field; fan support is a big motivator. The louder our fans are, the higher our percentage for success. So I hope they will fill Maksimir."

The match starts at 18.45 on Thursday and will be refereed by Frenchman Ruddy Buquet (44), who refereed Dinamo in their victory against Ferencvaros in Budapest in 2019 (4-0) and was the fourth referee against Neftči in Zagreb in 2011 (3-0). He also refereed the Croatia national team in a draw against Azerbaijan in 2015 (0-0) and victory in Finland in 2016 (1-0).

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Nikola Vlašić Joins West Ham United, 4th Largest Transfer in Croatian Football History!

August 31, 2021 - It's official - Nikola Vlašić joins West Ham United in a transfer that is the 4th largest in Croatian football history! 

Nikola Vlašić is the new player of Premier League club West Ham United. The Croatian footballer has signed a six-year contract, and his current club, CSKA Moscow, should receive 30 million euros in fixed compensation.

"West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of Croatia international attacker Nikola Vlašić.

The talented 23-year-old arrives on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Russian Premier League club CSKA Moscow.

A teenage prodigy with Hajduk Split, Vlašić has already played more than 250 senior matches, scored 33 goals, and assisted 21 more for CSKA over the previous three seasons, and was named Russian Premier League Footballer of the Year in 2020.

A regular for Croatia, he has 26 senior caps and featured four times at the recent UEFA Euro 2020 finals, and will now continue his career at London Stadium after representing his country during the current international break.

The player has been extensively scouted, and the creative attacker will add top-class quality and experience to David Moyes’ squad.

“I am delighted to welcome Nikola to West Ham United,” said the manager. "I have been watching Nikola improve over recent seasons – he has got a good goals and assists record during that time. He is also a Croatia international with experience, and still being only 23, I feel there is more to come from him. 

“I was really impressed with how determined Nikola was to become a West Ham player. It’s that hunger and ambition that fits with what we are trying to build here at the Club,” reads the club's website


"Born in Split in October 1997, Vlašić started his career with Omladinac Vranjic at the age of eight before moving to the city’s leading club, Hajduk, at 12 in 2010.

A teenage sensation, he scored on his first-team debut in a UEFA Europa League qualifying tie with Irish side Dundalk in July 2014, aged just 16 years and nine months. By the season’s end, he had made 37 appearances and scored four goals, still well short of his 18th birthday.

Vlašić made his senior Croatia debut at 19 in May 2017, before establishing himself as a regular squad member the following year. He has since played 26 times in total, scoring six goals, including the opener in the Euro 2020 win over Scotland in June this year.

And he was still a teenager when he moved to the English Premier League side Everton in August 2017, having impressed Blues manager Ronald Koeman in a Europa League tie earlier that month. 

After a single season at Goodison Park, where he featured 19 times, Vlašić signed for CSKA Moscow, initially on loan, and has been a major success in Russia.

In 108 games for CSKA in all competitions, he has been directly involved in 54 goals, won three Russian Player of the Month trophies and the 2020 Russian Footballer of the Year award.

Now, he will bring his considerable attacking talents to London Stadium.

Everyone at West Ham United would like to wish Nikola every success for his career in Claret and Blue," the club continued. 

Nikola also confirmed the news on his Instagram profile today. 

"I am delighted with the signing for this great club and I can’t wait to wear the jersey and give my best in every training and every game."

Vlašić has already played in England. In the summer of 2017, he left Hajduk for Everton in the most expensive transfer in the club's history, for 11 million euros. However, he only played 19 games there, mostly from the bench, and thus moved to the most trophy-winning Russian club. There he profiled himself as one of the key levers of the team. He confirmed his status as one of the best players in the league and established himself in the starting lineup.

He is expected to earn 4 million euros a year in London. With a fixed compensation of 30 million euros, Vlašić is the fourth largest transfer in history when it comes to Croatian footballers. The first two places are held by Mateo Kovačić, who was sold to Chelsea for 45 million, and Real Madrid for 38 million euros. Modrić is third when Real Madrid paid 35 million euros for him from Tottenham.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić also commented on the transfer before the national team gathering on Monday.

"Vlašić is on his way from London to Moscow. It seems it is final. I hope he solved the transfer. Nikola knows best what is good for him. I think he deserved an even better club than West Ham. He got that transfer and can expect big things. He will make bigger transfers in a couple of years," Dalić said. 


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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Europa League Draw: Dinamo in Group H against West Ham

August 27, 2021 - The Europa League draw was held today in Istanbul, with Dinamo in Group H against Genk, West Ham, and Rapid Wien. 

After being relegated from the Champions League playoffs by Moldovan club Sheriff (0-3, 0-0), Dinamo was placed in the first strong group of the Europa League draw and today learned the rivals that stand in their way to a new European spring.

The draw in Istanbul on Friday decided that Dinamo will play in Group H of the Europa League. The Zagreb club has thus drawn Group H with Genk, West Ham, and Rapid Wien. The first match of the group stage is scheduled for September 16.

Dinamo could have had a much worse draw, and a clash against Crvena Zvezda has been avoided. Rapid will threaten Damir Krznar's team from the fourth strong group of the team, West Ham from the third, while Genk, which knocked out Osijek and Lokomotiva from European competitions in previous years, come from the second.


Group A
Sparta Prague

Group B
PSV Eindhoven
Real Sociedad
Sturm Graz

Group C
Leicester City
Spartak Moscow
Legia Warsaw

Group D
Eintracht Frankfurt
Royal Antwerp

Group E
Lokomotiv Moscow

Group F
Red Star Belgrade

Group G
Bayer Leverkusen
Real Betis

Group H
Dinamo Zagreb
West Ham
Rapid Vienna

Match dates: September 16 and 30, October 21, November 4 and 25, December 9

The knockout round playoffs are held on February 17 and 24 before the last 16 draw on February 25. The round of 16 is played on March 10 and 17, the quarter-finals on April 7 and 14, and the semis on April 28 and May 5. The Europa League final is on May 18 in Seville. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Croatia's Greatest Coach, Slaven Bilić, Back in UK Premier League

July 23, 2020 – Croatia's greatest football coach, Slaven Bilić, secures a return to the UK Premier League for West Bromwich Albion after only one season in charge

Slaven Bilić has secured promotion for West Bromwich Albion from the UK Championship back into the Premier League. From next season, Bilić's side will compete in the world's most competitive national football league and play against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

The former Hajduk Split, West Ham United and Everton player is widely regarded as the current best football coach from Croatia and has previously managed the Croatian National Football team and West Ham United. It is no small feat to have returned West Bromwich Albion to the Premier League during his first season with the club.

The 'Baggies' have enjoyed a terrific run of form under Slaven Bilić's guidance and he was recognised as Manager of the Month in the English Championship League in March 2020, having taken over at the club in only summer 2019. That appointment was the Croat's first return to English football since being sacked by West Ham United in 2017.

Slaven Bilić's first season at West Ham in 2016 was their most successful in living memory. Slaven guided them to their first win over Liverpool in 52 years and earning their second-highest ever finish in the Premier League (7th). They also broke several club records of the Premier League era, including highest number of points in a season (62), highest number of goals in a season (65), the fewest number of games lost in a season (8) and the lowest number of away defeats.

Slaven Bilić pictured during his time as manager of West Ham United © joshjdss

His departure from West Ham can partially be attributed to the club selling star players against the manager's wishes, with a failure to adequately replace them. Since Slaven Bilić left West Ham, they have appointed new managers no less than three times. They were able to narrowly secure their place in the Premier League next season by scoring one point against Manchester United yesterday, but have dwindled at the bottom end of the league all season.

After eight continuous seasons in the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2017–18 season. Bilić has returned them to form in a surprisingly short time and it would come as no surprise to see his contract as manager extended within the next few weeks (he was taken on for an initial two years).

In 1888, West Bromwich Albion were one of the founding members of the English Football League. They have played at their home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. The club itself is some 22 years older still. Based in the area of England known as the Midlands, their greatest rivals are local clubs Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City. West Bromwich return to the Premier League alongside Leeds United.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Slaven Bilić to USA? West Ham's Leading Man in Rumor Mill

Ahead of Slaven Bilić are two vital matches that will determine his fate as the coach of West Ham.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Pressure on Bilić: Under Threat of Dismissal

Unless West Ham reaches positive results in the next three matches, coach Slaven Bilić may be fired, as Daily Mail reported

Monday, 20 March 2017

Bilić Loses Three Standard Starting Players

Besides losing important points against Leicester on Saturday (2-3), West Ham coach Slaven Bilić also cannot count on three standard starting players due to injuries, British media have reported on Monday

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Slaven Bilić on West Ham’s Handicap and Rooney’s Predicament

West Ham coach Slaven Bilić held a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match against Watford

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