Wednesday, 23 November 2022

New York Times Writes About Dedicated Croatian Women in Football

November the 23rd, 2022 - The New York Times has written about two Croatian women heavily involved in a sport dominated by men as the 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while the fans are eagerly awaiting the first game of the Croatian national team at this year's World Cup in Qatar against Morocco, the New York Times has presented two important Croatian women in this country's national team with a longer service than many of the male members. Iva Olivari and Ivancica Sudac served in the Croatian Football Association even before joining FIFA. For them, it's a bigger-than-life job.

Olivari, according to the publication by The New York Times, followed Luka Modric from the very beginning. He was a mere seven years old when Olivari joined the nascent Croatian Football Association.

"You watch him grow, you watch him become a man. That's the journey we've been through," she said.

She has known Modric (who is now 37) since he was just a teenager, just a few years after the war forced him out of his hometown and made him a refugee. She remembers how he made his way through the Croatian youth teams, how he left Croatia to make a name for himself in the biggest European leagues, how he led Croatia in an incredible performance to the World Cup final and helped the mighty Real Madrid win trophy after trophy.

She didn't follow only Luka Modric on his way to the top of the top. She was also present when legendary players like Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki were at the very beginning of their careers.

However, Olivari isn't the one with the longest tenure in HNS, or even the woman with the longest tenure in the Association: that title is held by her colleague Ivancica Sudac, who is also one of the Croatian women with the longest tenure spent in European football. Sudac joined the Alliance way back in 1991, a few months earlier than Olivari, when the two were barely in their 20s.

"The two of us are like two dinosaurs," 51-year-old Olivari said with a laugh, reports tportal.

Ivancica Sudac, on the other hand, was a law student who had very little interest in football when she received an invitation to join the Federation a year before it was officially recognised by FIFA. While campaigning for membership in the midst of the Croatian War of Independence and the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia, she managed because she was fluent in several languages, including French and English. She is currently the head of international affairs and licensing within the federation.

Olivari came shortly after her. She had just returned home to Croatia from the USA after giving up her dream of a tennis career, answering an ad in a newspaper. She and Sudac were actually the founders of the international department of the Croatian Football Association.

These two Croatian women worked together for a long time, first translating thousands of pages of international sports regulations into Croatian, and then writing letters to foreign federations to convey the demands of the highest officials. For the first few years, the pair even worked on a typewriter before being introduced to a primitive word processor that they would share by turning the screen around to each other every few hours.

By 2012, Sudac had become one of the highest-ranking women in European football's governing body, UEFA. For Olivari, who assumed the role of more direct work with the Croatian national team back in 2002, a major development took place when former striker Davor Suker became president of the Association.

In 2016, Suker made, as Olivari says, a "brave decision" after consulting with former captain Dario Srna and Anto Cacic, the coach of the national team at the time, and assigned her a place on the bench as team leader, the first in the women's competition.

Neither Olivari nor Sudac, even after more than 30 years within the Association, have any intention of resigning anytime soon. Sudac, who is now a senior member of football's governing body FIFA, says there is no other job she could imagine ever doing. Olivari says she still feels the same rush of adrenaline every time she steps out and sits on the bench. Both of these dedicated Croatian women say their roles still bring them the same sense of mission now as they did as sports representatives of the then-new and independent nation of Croatia.

For more, check out our news section. Keep up with our sport section as Croatia gears up to face its opponents in Qatar.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Where to Watch Croatia’s Upcoming World Cup Games in London

May 7, 2022 - With the 2022 FIFA World Cup coming up in Qatar during the months of November and December, anticipation and excitement is high for Croatia football fans. 

To recap, the World Cup starts on 21 November with the final to be played on 18 December. Croatia will play against the following teams:

  • Morocco - Wednesday, 23 November
  • Canada - Sunday, 27 November
  • Belgium - Thursday, 1 December

Many fans are now starting to plan their locations and venues to view the games at, particularly if they choose to view the games in Qatar. Croatia has football fans located all around the world, from the United States and Canada to the United Kingdom - particularly due to the growing Croatian communities in those countries. For those based in London, UK, here's a short list of different pubs and bars that are showing the World Cup this year, and that are in general a great place to hang out, eat and drink, and celebrate Croatia making it to the World Cup for the 6th time.

Bar Kick

​​The “Home Of Live Sport in Shoreditch”, this basement venue regularly shows every World Cup match in honour of their international clientele, meaning the Croatia games should attract a number of fellow supporters and Croatian viewers alike. Watch the games on their 60- and 80-inch TVs, enjoy their sports menu and daily Happy Hour, and get into the football spirit by playing your own competitive games on their Bonzini table football.

Sports Bar and Grill

As the name suggests, this chain venue is dedicated to showing live sport from every major world football league to rugby, in addition to preparing top quality food such as their legendary burgers and grills. Showing every World Cup match live at the bar, make sure to book a table in advance in order to view Croatia’s game on one of their massive HD screens, with a few friends and a refreshing pint in hand - there is even the option to order your own 5l keg of BrewDog beer for £42.50. 

There are six Sports Bars in London, including Victoria, Farringdon, Marylebone, Old Street, Clapham Junction, and Canary Wharf. So no matter where you're located, there should be at least one venue close by or easy to reach.

The Albion

As their website proudly states, live sport is in their DNA. So it’s safe to say that this pub, bar and restaurant is a good pick for watching the World Cup. Located right in the City (a few minutes away from the Blackfriars station), their 5 big screens showing Sky Sports and BT Sports over two floors cover live footage of every international sports tournament from the World Cup to Formula 1 to Tour de France. Book your table in advance to ensure you get the best view when you come to watch Croatia play.