Category: Sport

Kids Vote Luka Modrić as Croatia’s Best Sportsperson

LukaThe kids have spoken. Luka Modrić is Croatia’s best sportsperson…

Modrić was at Zagreb’s Hotel Esplanade on Monday to pick up his award presented by the Youth Sport Games. Modrić, who received more than 40,000 votes, was proud to be named the best Croatian sportsperson by the nation’s kids.

“Every award is satisfying to win because it means that you are doing something good. We have all been kids and they speak honestly and their emotions are from the heart so this award is special. I have two beautiful kids and I will try that one day they take part in the Youth Sport Games,” said the Real Madrid midfielder.

The kids had a chance also to have a Q&A with their hero during the presentation on Monday.

“Making my debut for Croatia against Argentina and winning the Champions League with Real,” Modrić said when asked what his favourite moment of his career was.

Modrić was then asked which club he has played for was the best.

“In every club there are special emotions, in every club I made friends. I think that I am enjoying the most now at Real,” he said, before adding that he would most likely be a waiter if he had not made it in football.



Kovač Critical Despite Croatia Putting 5 Past Norway

nikoCroatia’s head coach Niko Kovač still found room for criticism after his side’s 5-1 thrashing of Norway in their Euro 2016 qualifier in Zagreb on Saturday night…

Marcelo Brozović, Ivan Perišić, Ivica Olić, Gordon Schildenfeld and Danijel Pranjić all scored to send Croatia to the top of Group H last night, but Kovač was still not a happy man.

“We can be satisfied with victory and points gained, but I can not be satisfied with the first half, especially the first half an hour. Norway created too many problems for us, and we were not aggressive enough, not strong enough in duels, and we played too individually”, said Kovač, before adding.

“OK, I am satisfied with the 5-1 result, but we can lose to stronger opponents than Norway at the very beginning of a match. We are not in France yet and we have to put in a better performance against Italy in June in Zagreb,” he said.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović takes her seat ahead of kick-off

Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović takes her seat ahead of kick-off

Kovač will have to reorganise his back four for that match after experienced defender Vedran Ćorluka was sent off in yesterday’s match.

Ćorluka is a key member of our defence, but Schildenfeld replaced him perfectly. Danijel Subašić was also one of the best. It is worrying when your goal keeper is one of your best players because it means he had a lot of work”, concluded Kovač.



What Could they be Doing Today? Modrić and Ćorluka Waiters, Olić TV Repair Man

Croatia32Croatia’s highly-paid superstars will run out onto Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium tomorrow night when they take on Norway in an important Euro 2016 qualifier. But, what would they be doing today had their football careers not gone quiet to plan? Goal reveals what they are qualified to do….

Luka Modrić and Vedran Ćorluka – Waiters in a cafe (both competed hospitality school)
Dejan Lovren – Electrician
Ivica Olić - TV repair man
Mario Mandžukić – Finished ceramics school
Darijo Srna – Technical electrician
Ivan Rakitić – Signed up for construction school
Danijel Pranjić - Finished economics in Osijek
Ivan Tomečak – Hairdresser
Milan Badelj / Gordan Schildenfeld - Finished sports college



Croatian Football Team Have Audience with the President

ccffNew Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has hosted the Croatian football team and management ahead of their qualifier against Norway in Zagreb on Saturday…

Croatian Football Federation President Davor Šuker and head coach Niko Kovač both gifted Grabar-Kitarović bouquets of flowers before official speeches were conducted.

“I congratulate you and thank you as players, individuals, as the best ambassadors in promoting our country. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all fans and call on them to continue supporting. Those (fans) overseas are also ambassadors and they must act that way and avoid situations that damage Croatian football and Croatia,” said Grabar-Kitarović during her 30 minute speech.

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“The promotion of sport creates a new generation of talent, but also a healthy society. Our kids are increasingly staying in their rooms with their computers, and they should be back on the playing field. Sport plays an important role in the development of society and every individual, especially through the respect of everyone around themselves ,” she added.

“We will be always with you, when you’re playing well and even when the results are not what we expect. You are always ours and I’m proud of you, as well as all other Croatian national teams in all sports. I will always strive to promote sport and I believe in you I will have skilled associates and allies. I look forward to the upcoming matches,” she concluded. (photos / Drago Sopta / HNS)



Ivica Olić Awarded as he Joins Elite 100 Club

ccfCroatian striker Ivica Olić has been presented with an award on Wednesday by the Croatian Football Federation for joining the exclusive 100 club…

Last November against Italy at the San Siro stadium in Milan the workhorse striker made his 100th appearance for Croatia, joining just 4 other players who have represented Croatia 100 times – Stipe Pletikosa, Darijo Srna, Dario Šimić and Josip Šimunić.

Olić, who made his debut for Croatia in 2002 and made his mark scoring against Italy in the 2002 World Cup in Japan, was officially recognised on Wednesday in Zagreb with an award.

“When you play either 10 or 50 matches in the Croatia shirt then its something that makes the family happy. But, when you play your 100th match at the San Siro, then that is a big thing. I wish that Olić continues to play and that his goals take us to the Euros in France,” Croatian FA President Davor Šuker, who was Olić’s teammate in Japan at the 2002 World Cup, said.

“After the World Cup (in Brazil) I wanted to finish this story. If I remember right I had 96 appearances then, but I was not concerned with statistics too much. I then talked with the coach and he wanted me to stay, and then with Srna and Šimunić, two players who had reached that magical number. Then I said to myself that whilst I am playing club football and if they need me then why not,” said Olic on receiving the award.

Olić said that his favourite goal out of the 19 he has scored for Croatia was the one he scored against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also he will never forget his goal against Italy because of its importance. The loss against Turkey at the Euro 2008 was his most disappointing moment of his career he said.

“I have lost two Champions League finals, and I needed a few days to get over those losses, but that loss against Turkey hurt for a long time,” said the 100-cap veteran.

Olić hopes to make it 101 this Saturday in Zagreb when Croatia take on Norway in a Euro 2016 qualifier. (photo / Drago Sopta  HNS )



Davor Šuker Becomes First Croat Elected onto UEFA’s Top Table

CA3VvsHUcAA67_pCroatian Football Federation President Davor Šuker has become the first Croat to win a place on UEFA’s Executive Committee…

The former Real Madrid and Arsenal striker has been elected onto UEFA’s Executive Committee on Tuesday at UEFA’s Congress in Vienna. The UEFA Executive Committee is UEFA’s supreme executive body and comprises the UEFA President and 15 other members.

“I believe that it is in everyones interest to have someone from this part of Europe on UEFA’s supreme committee,” said Šuker before Tuesday’s elections, adding that his position on European football’s top table will be of great benefit to Croatia.

UEFA President Michel Platini was also awarded another mandate at the Congress. 0000009718_720_380_cut Voted onto UEFA’s Executive Committee on Tuesday:

Fernando Gomes (Portugal) 48 votes

Peter Gillieron (Switzerland) 42 votes

Angel Maria Villar Lona (Sain) 42 votes

Sandor Csanyi (Hungary) 42 votes

Grigorij Surkis (Ukraine) 41 votes

Davor Šuker (Croatia) 34 votes

Šuker will continue in his function as Croatian Football Federation President. (photo / HNS)



Niko Kovač: ‘I Demand Victory Against Norway’

nkCroatia head coach Niko Kovač told a press conference in Zagreb on Monday that he will demand victory from his players in this Saturday’s European Qualifier against Norway…

Croatia’s squad began gathering in the capital Zagreb today to commence preparations for their EURO 2016 qualifying match against Norway on Saturday 28 March at Maksimir Stadium (18;00).

“We have analyzed Norway and we are considered favourites at home, but we have to confirm that on the field. Norway is a big challenge and a respectable opponent. Croatia can gain a lot from this match and I demand victory from my players. We have shown our group rivals our quality and good form, and we have to continue on that path. We will not slow down, not even one percent”, said Croatia head coach Kovač.

“With the right approach and our fans’ support, I hope we will win”, he added.

However, Kovač believes Norway won’t be easy to break down.

“Norway is a tough, young, hungry and a very organized team. Their backward runs are fantastic, and so is their pressure. Against stronger opposition, they know how to pull back with 11 men, and then they become difficult to break down. Croatia has always had problems with firm defence, so we have to find a solution, and we already have a couple of ideas”, said Kovač. (photo / Drago Sopta HNS)



Croatian Girls Win Gold and Create History at European Karate Championships in Turkey

croatiaComplete dominance. That is how the Croatian Women’s team performance at the 2015 European Karate Championships held this weekend in Turkey has been described after they created history…

Croatia won gold, but what made their win extraordinary was that they went through the championships without losing one single point. Something that has been unseen in the sport. Croatia beat Russia in the final 2-0, after earlier disposing of England (2-0), Macedonia (2-0), and Turkey (1-0) in the semi-final. Also during the weekend Croatia’s Maša Martinović had some individual success when she became the European Champion in the Over 68kg category. Well done girls! (photo / HKS)



[VIDEO] ‘Stop Racism at Croatian Football Stadiums’ Marks International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

srThe International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March and to mark the occasion today the Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) and ‘White Angels’ Zagreb supporters club have presented a video inviting football fans in Croatia to stamp out racial, religious or ethnic abuse of players…

Jean Evrard Kouassi (NK Hajduk’s former Ivory Coast striker), Nigerian Goodness Ohiremen Ajayi (NK Rijeka), Brazilian Edson Henrique da Silva (NK Slaven Belupo) and Badara Badji from Senegal (GNK Dinamo) took part in the 35-second video encouraging fans to stop racism at stadiums around the country.

“The video is part of the campaign ‘all colours are nice’ which started before the football World Cup in Brazil which was aimed at raising awareness about the negative effects racism has on society and to reduce the social gap towards people of different skin color, especially refugees in Croatia,” said Julija Kranjec from CMS.



Modrić v Mandžukić as UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Draw Made in Nyon

uefaThe four Croatian footballers still involved in the UEFA Champions League found out who they will face in the quarter-finals of the competition on Friday after the draw was made in Nyon…

Luka Modrić will face his international teammate Mario Mandžukić as Real Madrid draw Atletico Madrid, whilst Ivan Rakitić’s Barcelona will have to do what Chelsea failed to do and get past Paris St Germain. Croatian goal keeper Danijel Subašić and his Monaco side will face Italian giants Juventues. Porto will face Bayern Munich in the remaining quarter-final.

The first quarter-final will be played on 14 & 15 April, with the return legs one week later. The final of the UEFA Champions League this year will be played at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. (image / UEFA)