Category: Sport

‘Historical’ UEFA Europa League Victory for Rijeka

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It was a mixed night for the two Croatian sides involved in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night…

NK Rijeka continued their dream run in Europe with a resounding 3-1 victory over Dutch side Feyenoord. All of Rijeka’s goals came courtesy of a hat-trick from Croatian international Andrej Kramarić.

“I am over the moon. Feyenoord were dominant the first half an hour, but the goal in the second half turned it around. I will remember this night for the rest of my career. This was a historic victory,” said the hat-trick hero.

Meanwhile Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg, losing 4-2 after being down 4-0 after 52 minutes. (pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

Former Croatian International Lands Technical Director Role in Slovakia

AsanovicFormer Croatian football international Aljoša Asanović was presented to the media yesterday as the new Technical Director of Slovakian First Division club FC DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda…

Asanović (48), who was capped 62 times by Croatia and was assistant coach under Slaven Bilić of the national team from 2006 – 2012, will be charged with helping the club achieve some ambitious goals.

“The ambition of the new owner of the club is to build a new stadium with a capacity of 12,500, a training centre and academy for young footballers, to qualify for European competitions in the next two season, and long-term to compete for titles,” said FC DAC’s Jan Van Daele from the club.

“At our first meeting back in May the new owner impressed me as he outlined his project for the club, and when his people took over I decided to roll up my sleeves and accept his offer,” said Asanović.

DAC are currently sitting in 7th place out of 12 after 14 rounds of the championship.

Croatia Jumps 5 Places on FIFA Rankings

CroatiaCroatia’s excellent start to their EURO 2016 qualifying campaign has seen them jump 5 places in the latest FIFA Rankings…

Croatia now sit in 14th place on the list with 1,002 points, up from 19th spot last month. Niko Kovač’s side now jump past Costa Rica, Greece, England, Mexico and the USA. Germany are still number one with 1,669 points, followed by Croatia’s next opponents Argentina (1,565) and Columbia (1,420).

FIFA Rankings:
1. Germany 1669
2. Argentina 1565
3. Columbia 1420
4. Belgium 1388
5. Holland 1375
6. Brazil 1307
7. France 1191
8. Uruguay 1184
9. Portugal 1175
10. Spain 1119

14. Croatia 1002

(pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

FIFA Give Bosnian-Born Defender Clearance to Play for Croatia

CroatiaFootball’s governing body FIFA have given Bosnia-Herzegovina native Marin Leovac clearance to play for Croatia…

Diplomatic negotiations between the Croatian Football Federation and FIFA on subject of defender Marin Leovac’s status were successfully concluded, with the NK Rijeka defender now eligible for selection for Niko Kovač’s side. The Croatian FA submitted to FIFA written confirmations from both the Austrian and Bosnian-Herzegovinan Football Federations, confirming that Marin Leovac had not appeared for either nation in official youth category matches. FIFA agreed that there is no impediment to him now representing Croatia.

“I am happy that this subject had a happy-end for us and that Marin Leovac is now a candidate for the national team selection. It is up to him to continue with high-level performances in Rijeka, and we will follow him as we follow all the other candidates”, said Croatia head coach Niko Kovač.

Leovac (26) is a native of Jajce (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and began his career in Austria, representing Sportunion Aschbach, USV Oed/Zeillern and Austria Vienna before moving to Rijeka in 2014. He has not been capped yet.

Luka Modrić Wins La Liga Midfielder of the Year Award

Croatia127Croatia international Luka Modrić has won the ‘Best Liga BBVA Midfielder for 2013-2014′ award…

Modrić, Atlético de Madrid’s Gabi, and Sergio Busquets from Barcelona were the contenders for the best Spanish La Liga midfielder for last season award, with Modrić winning the most number of votes (60.2%) from readers of leading Spanish sports daily Marca. Gabi received 30.7% of votes, with Busquets picking up 9.1%.

Luka was a key figure in Real Madrid’s midfield last season, playing 34 games during the La Liga campaign.

[VIDEO] Croatian Boxer in Hot Water After Knocking Out Ref

CroatiaCroatian boxer Vido Lončar faces a life ban from the sport after knocking out the referee during his bout at the European Junior Boxing Championships in Zagreb this week…

Lončar lost his cool after the referee ruled that he had lost his bout by technical knock-out to Lithuanian Algirdas Baniulis. The referee called the fight off in the second round after giving Lončar the count for the third time. The Croatian boxer did not agree with the decision and decided to take his anger out on the ref, knocking him out with a right hook, before laying in to him with a barrage of blows before eventually he was dragged away.

Croatia to Face Argentina not USA in London Next Month

WORLD CUP ARG HRV SOC The Croatian Football Federation has announced on Tuesday that Argentina will replace USA as Croatia’s opponents in a friendly match next month in London…

Croatia were set to play USA at Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground on 12 November, but today it was confirmed that the World Vice-Champions Argentina would take their place. No reason was given for the change. It will be the fourth time the two sides have met, with the first match played in 1994 when Diego Maradona’s side could only manage a 0-0 draw in Zagreb. The two then met again in France at the 1998 World Cup, with Argentina winning 1-0. In 2006 Croatia got their revenge, beating Argentina 3-2 in a friendly in Basel.

Marin Čilić Wins 4th ATP Title of the Year in Moscow

CroatiaCroatia’s number one tennis player Marin Čilić has won his 13th ATP title on Sunday when he beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow…

Čilić, who only last month won the US Open, was too good for the World number 16, winning in straight sets 6:4, 6:4 in just over 1 hour and 20 minutes. The victory was the Croatians 4th title this year, and puts him second only behind Roger Federer for ATP tour wins in 2014. Čilić, who fired 10 aces in the match, become the second Croat to win in Moscow after his coach Goran Ivanišević won the title in 1996.

Marin had another reason to celebrate, he also has qualified for the season finale event at The O2 in London which is contested by the top 8 players in the world.

On This Day 24 Years Ago…

croatiausa19902On this day 24 years ago the Croatian football team played its first match under its own flag…

The first modern-day Croatia team met the USA at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium on 17 October 1990 in front of over 30,000 fans, and since that day 24 years ago have played 240 competitive matches. Since 1990 Croatia has appeared at 4 World Cups and has been ranked as high as 3rd in the world.

The first match under the modern-day Croatian flag ended in a 2-1 victory, thanks to goals from Aljoša Asanović and Ivan Cvjetković. Croatian legends Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Alen Bokšić, and Robert Jarni were unable to play in the fixture as they were playing with the Yugoslavia U-21 side against USSR. Croatia will face USA again next month in London in a friendly.

Croatia’s side in that match was:

Dražen Ladić (71′ Tonči Gabrić) – Zoran Vulić, Saša Peršon (70′ Gregor Židan), Vlado Kasalo, Drago Čelić, Darko Dražić – Marko Mlinarić, Aljoša Asanović (58′ Mladen Mladenović), Zlatko Kranjčar (C) – Ivan Cvjetković, Kujtim Shalla

Who Turned up to Niko Kovač’s Birthday?

Croatia11Croatia manager Niko Kovač turned 43 yesterday, and after his side gifted him a present on Monday with a 6-0 thumping of Azerbaijan, it was the turn of his close friends and family to help him celebrate on Wednesday night…

Kovač celebrated with an intimate dinner with family and friends at Vallis restaurant in the Zagreb suburb of Sesvete , which just happens to be owned by his brother and assistant coach Robert. Along with his brother, Kovač was joined by former internationals Mario Stanić and Boško Balaban, as well as Dinamo Zagreb’s manager Zoran Mamić, and his brother Zdravko. (pic: Instagram)

 

Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamić with Robert's wife Anica

Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamić with Robert’s wife Anica