Footballer In Trouble For Killing Chicken On Pitch

 

A Croatian animal rights group said Wednesday it would file charges against a local footballer who kicked a chicken to death during a semi-professional match over the weekend.

The incident took place on Sunday when a brood of chickens ran onto a pitch in eastern Croatia.

One of the players, Ivan Gazdek from the home team NK Jelengrad, ran after the birds, kicked one with his foot and then chucked it over the fence in a flurry of feathers.

The 23-year-old was red-carded for unsporting behaviour.

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The NGO Animal Friends also strongly condemned the “shameful act and cowardly behaviour of the player against an innocent animal who died with crushed bones and in pain”.

The group said it would file charges against the player for the “criminal act of animal killing or torture”.

If formally charged and found guilty, the player could face up to one year in prison.

Gazdek, who claims to be an animal lover that owns several pets, argued to local media that the killing “was not intentional”.

“I ran towards the chickens to chase them away, swung my foot and accidentally killed one,” he said.

“Chickens are constantly entering the pitch interrupting the match. The pitch is full of faeces, these are unhygienic conditions,” he added in comments to the local 24sata paper.

Bosnia Boss, Prosinecki Resigns After Euro 2020 ‘Failure’

 

Former Croatia international Robert Prosinecki resigned as Bosnia and Herzegovina coach on Sunday after “failing” to reach Euro 2020 following a 4-2 defeat by Armenia.

Prosinecki, who featured for his country as they finished third at the 1998 World Cup, had been in the post since January last year but his side sit fourth in their group on seven points from six games, eight behind leaders Italy.

“I discussed with everyone and I resign. Since I began the position, I thought we would qualify. We failed,” the 50-year-old said after the match in Yerevan.

As a coach he worked as an assistant with Croatia before being appointed as Azerbaijan boss after a playing career which included spells at Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.

Bosnia’s only appearance at a major tournament was the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where they finished third in their group behind Nigeria and eventual runners-up Argentina.

Man Commits Suicide After Shooting Six Dead

Police officers stand guard at a checkpoint near the place where six people were shot dead in Zagreb on August 1, 2019. PHOTO: Denis LOVROVIC / AFP

 

A man suspected of shooting six people dead in Zagreb took his own life on Friday after police tried to arrest him, Croatian authorities said.  

Local media reported the suspect was the former spouse of one of the victims, who was killed along with her partner and four members of her family, including a child.

“The man linked to the crime was located and committed suicide during the arrest operation,” police said in a brief statement Friday.

Neighbours raised the alarm late Thursday night, police said, after hearing gunshots from the house in the Kajzerica area in the south of the capital.

The neighbourhood was sealed off and a manhunt launched.

The victims included “two men, three women, and a child”, Zagreb police chief Marko Rasic told reporters.

Another child found at the same house was unharmed, he added.

AFP

EURO 2020 Qualifier: Croatia Slump To Hungary Defeat

Croatia’s forward Ante Rebic (L) vies with Hungary’s defender Tamas Kadar during the UEFA Euro 2020 football 1st round Groupe E qualification match between Hungary and Croatia on March 24, 2019 in Budapest.
ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

 

World Cup finalists Croatia slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Hungary in a Euro 2020 Group E qualifier on Sunday when Mate Patkai notched a 76th minute winner in Budapest.

Croatia had struggled against Azerbaijan in their opening qualifier last Thursday before escaping with a 2-1 win, but they made the perfect start in the Hungarian capital when Ante Rebic put them ahead on 13 minutes.

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But Hungary pulled level through Adam Szalai’s fifth goal in as many games and with a quarter of an hour left, 31-year-old Patkai scored his first international goal to pull off a famous victory.

AFP

Croatia Court Clears Lovren Of Perjury Charges

Croatia’s defender Dejan Lovren celebrates after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.
Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

A Croatian court said on Monday it had dropped perjury charges against Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, who was accused of giving false testimony in a major football-related corruption trial.

Lovren, 29, was charged in September with committing perjury over his testimony at the 2017 trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic, who is accused of multi-million-euro graft.

The player had provided details about his 2010 transfer from Dinamo to French side Lyon.

But the Zagreb municipal court “on January 25 rejected the indictment … against Lovren,” a tribunal statement said without elaborating.

The ruling can be appealed, it added.

In December the court dropped similar charges against Real Madrid’s Croatian superstar Luka Modric.

Mamic, considered the kingpin of the Balkan state’s football scene, was sentenced in June to six-and-a-half years in prison over multi-million-euro corruption.

He fled the country and is hiding in neighbouring Bosnia.

Mamic was accused of embezzling cash through fictitious deals related to player transfers, notably those of Lovren and Croatia’s captain Modric to Tottenham.

Like Modric, who won the 2018 Golden Ball, Lovren was part of the Croatian national team that finished runners-up in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Croatia lost to France in the finals but the small nation was overjoyed by its historic run, which temporarily quieted anguish over corruption and other problems plaguing the sport.

AFP

One Killed, Six Injured In Croatia Power Plant Fire

 

One worker was killed, six were injured and two went missing in a fire that broke out Thursday at a hydropower plant near the Croatian port Dubrovnik, police said.

The fire at the Dubrovnik power plant in Plat, some 15 kilometers (nine miles) south of the Adriatic resort, was brought under control, the national firefighting association said.

“A firefighting unit divers found the body (of the killed worker) in a drain ditch connecting the plant with the sea,” local police chief Ivan Pavlicevic told reporters.

They were still looking for two other missing workers, he said. According to him, it is believed that the three had failed to leave the plant when the fire broke out and entered the ditch trying to escape.

The cause of the fire that broke out at a facility’s tunnel was still not known.

Of the six injured employees, three were hospitalized in Dubrovnik and their lives were not endangered, a hospital official said.

The 252-megawatt plant is run by the state-run power firm HEP.

AFP

Croatia’s Cilic Pulls Out Of Maharashtra Open

Croatia’s Marin/ AFP

 

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia on Friday pulled out of next week’s Maharashtra ATP tournament to recuperate from a knee injury in time for the Australian Open.

The 30-year-old world number seven led Croatia to a Davis Cup final victory over France last month and was to be a key crowd puller at the season-opening ATP event in the west Indian city of Pune starting Monday.

“I am sad to announce I have had to pull out of the Tata Open Maharashtra. My sincerest apologies to the fans and organizers,” Cilic posted on his Facebook page.

“I was looking forward to returning, however, my knee pains that began toward the end of the season have escalated.”

He added: “I cannot go into this tournament knowing I am not currently able to give 100 percent.”

Cilic won the title in 2009 and 2010 when it was played in Chennai.

The Maharashtra tournament is a key warm-up event for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, which starts on January 14.

Defending champion Gilles Simon of France and world number six Kevin Anderson of South Africa will take part in the Indian event.

AFP

Croatia Court Drops Modric Perjury Charges

Croatia’s midfielder Luka Modric speaks during a press conference at the Maksimir football stadium in Zagreb on November 14, 2018 on the eve of the UEFA Nations League match against Spain.
AFP

 

A Zagreb court has dropped charges that Croatia football captain and Real Madrid star Luka Modric gave false testimony in a corruption trial, a court spokesman said on Monday.

“There is not enough evidence that he (Modric) committed the criminal offence of perjury,” Kresimir Devcic told AFP.

The ruling, which closes the case, comes as Modric is hoping to be awarded the 2018 Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday for taking his team to the 2018 World Cup finals in Moscow.

Croatia lost to France in the final but the small nation was overjoyed by its historic run, which temporarily quieted anguish over corruption and other problems plaguing the sport.

In March, Croatian prosecutors had charged Modric, 33, with committing perjury during evidence he gave in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic.

Modric testified in June last year over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

He went on to join Real Madrid in 2012.

Mamic and three other defendants were found guilty of charges of abuse of power and corruption that cost Dinamo, the current Croatian champions, more than 15 million euros ($17.3 million), and the state 1.5 million euros.

Mamic, who is currently in hiding in neighbouring Bosnia, was sentenced in June to six and a half years in jail.

Prosecutors allege cash was embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers.

AFP

England Beat Croatia To Reach Nations League Final Four

England’s striker Harry Kane (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores their second goal during the international UEFA Nations League football match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium in London on November 18, 2018.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Harry Kane fired England into the Nations League semi-finals as Gareth Southgate’s side scored twice in the last 12 minutes to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over Croatia on Sunday.

England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the second half at Wembley.

But Southgate’s vibrant young side pulled off a stirring escape act in the closing stages to gain a measure of revenge for their World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia earlier this year.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to poach England’s equaliser and captain Kane was on hand to turn in the winner with five minutes left.

England’s fightback took them to the top of Group A4, above Spain and relegated Croatia, and they can look forward to playing in the last four in June next year.

It was a cathartic moment for England, who have made a habit of suffering painful defeats against Croatia, with this year’s World Cup woe following the 2007 loss that cost them a place at Euro 2008.

More importantly, the performance provided further tangible proof that Southgate is building a team capable of challenging for the major prizes after years of under-achievement.

England’s appearance in the semi-finals of the Nations League, which are set to be held in Portugal next June, offers another chance to reach their first major final since 1966.

Following the 3-2 Nations League win over Spain in Seville last month, this tournament has been a serious statement of intent from Southgate’s team and they will go into 2019 with great expectations.

Dominant England

From start to finish, England were the dominant force, although they were fortunate to escape when Ante Rebic shot over after Jordan Pickford fumbled Fabian Delph’s backpass.

Kane slipped a perfectly-weighted pass through to Raheem Sterling and the Manchester City winger’s blistering pace sent him clear of the Croatia defence.

With only Lovre Kalinic to beat, Sterling let Croatia off the hook as he directed a hesitant shot straight at the keeper.

England kept probing intelligently, with the speed of Sterling and Marcus Rashford providing their main threat.

Delph’s pass sparked a frantic sequence, forcing Kalinic to dash out of his area to head away from Sterling.

When Kalinic’s clearance fell to Kane, the England captain’s effort was headed off the line by Tin Jedvaj.

The rebound fell to Kane, but Kalinic, by now back in his goal, used his legs to foil the Tottenham striker with a last-ditch save.

It was more of the same at the start of the second half, but once again England couldn’t find the killer touch.

That profligacy looked as though it would prove fatal when Croatia snatched the lead after 56 minutes.

Kramaric was allowed time and space to turn in the area and the Hoffenheim forward took full advantage, clipping a shot that deflected off Eric Dier and looped over Pickford’s despairing dive.

Southgate responded by sending on Lingard and the change reaped an instant reward as England equalised in the 78th minute.

Joe Gomez’s long throw was flicked on by John Stones and Kane prodded past Kalinic, leaving Lingard with the simple task of tapping in from virtually on the goal-line.

England’s deserved winner arrived in the 85th minute.

Ben Chilwell curled over a teasing low free-kick and Kane timed his run to perfection, guiding his shot past Kalinic from close-range.

Kane’s first goal in eight games for England sparked a wild celebration from Southgate, who leapt into the air as he punched the air on the touchline.

Kane had joked with his fiancee this week that he would cry if England ever win a trophy, but he couldn’t guarantee he would weep when they get married.

Thanks to their thrilling comeback, England could bring a tear to Kane’s eyes in the Finals next year.

Croatia Lose Rakitic For England Clash

Barcelona’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic runs during the Spanish League “Clasico”. Photo: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has returned to Barcelona with a hamstring strain and will miss the Nations League match against England on Sunday, the club said.

Rakitic suffered the injury in the World Cup finalists’ 3-2 win against Spain on Thursday.

Barcelona said he had suffered “a strained hamstring in his right leg”.

The club gave no timescale for his recovery but Spanish press reports said he could be out for up to three weeks which could mean he misses the Liga clash with Atletico Madrid on November 24 and a Champions League match against PSV Eindhoven four days later.

A win for Croatia over the side they beat to reach the World Cup final would take Zlatko Dalic’s men to the semi-finals of the Nations League and send England down to League B.

If England win, they will win the group and progress to the finals of the new competition — which offers the chance of qualification for Euro 2020 — and relegate Croatia.

A draw would hand Spain first place in the group. If its goalless, Croatia would be relegated but a score draw would leave England in last place.

AFP

Croatia World Cup Keeper Subasic Retires

Croatia’s goalkeeper Danijel Subasic fails to save the ball for the opening goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic announced his international retirement on Wednesday one month after starring in the World Cup final. 

“The time has come after 10 years on the national team to say goodbye my favourite jersey,” Subasic wrote in a letter published by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), a day after striker Mario Mandzukic retired.

“I made my decision long before the World Cup because my dream was to end my career with the national team at a World Cup,” Subasic added.

“The one in Russia was the most emotional moment of my career… thank you all,” added the Monaco goalkeeper.

The native of Zadar made his debut for the “Vatreni” (Fiery Ones) in 2009.

At the World Cup in Russia, he was the hero in the last 16 against Denmark, making three penalty saves in a nail-biting shootout.

In the quarter-finals, he stopped two goalbound shots to help eliminate hosts Russia, before seeing off England and then falling to France in the final.

His international retirement comes after Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic and defender Vedran Corluka also announced their international retirements.

AFP

Dalic To Stay With Croatia, After Taking Team To World Cup Final

Croatian Players Will Sacrifice World Cup Final Places If Unfit - Dalic
Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalic (L) and Croatia’s midfielder Luka Modric hold a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

Zlatko Dalic, who led Croatia to the World Cup final last month, signalled on Thursday that he would stay on as coach, smoothing away doubts that emerged after his return from Russia.

Dalic had complained that he lacked the full support of the Croatia’s Football Federation (HNS), saying he had to “think carefully” about his future.

But a meeting with HNS president Davor Suker appeared to clear the air.

“I consider that we solved all of the issues and I’m looking forward to new challenges,” Dalic was quoted as saying in an HNS statement on Thursday after the meeting.

Suker added: “I am glad that we talked openly about things that could be better in the future and that we will go together toward new victories.”

A formal signing of Dalic’s contract is expected at the next meeting of HNS executive committee, the statement said.

Croatian press celebrated the announcement, with Sportske Novosti, a web portal, proclaiming:  “The most important deal of Croatian football has been reached, Dalic to stay as coach.”

Croatia’s captain Luka Modric, the star midfielder who helped power the team to its first ever appearance in a World Cup final, had earlier urged Dalic to stay on to lead the team to Euro 2020.

Although Croatia lost 4-2 to France in the World Cup final, their progress was celebrated with euphoria in a small country fiercely proud of its football team.

Hundreds of thousands of people swarmed Zagreb’s streets to welcome the players home on July 16.

Dalic took over in October, three matches before the end of qualifications for the World Cup 2018. He had only seven matches with the team before the start of the tournament in Russia.

In recent days Dalic’s name had appeared among possible successors of Shin Tae-yong to lead the South Korean side.

AFP