Monday, 23 July 2018
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Luka Modric’s stunning goal against Argentina has been shortlisted by FIFA as one of the goals of the 2018 World Cup. And you the opportunity to help Modric win as the best goal of the tournament is decided by an online poll.

Croatian captain, Luka Modric, has already picked up one individual award for the World Cup in Russia, the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament. And now he has the chance to pick up another with the best goal of the tournament.

In total 18 goals have been shortlisted and voting is open until Monday the 23rd of July.

Vote HERE to help Luka win the goal of the tournament

After her World Cup adventure the Croatian President is back to work with an official visit to Albanian tomorrow as part of a three-day visit. On Wednesday she will meet with her host, President Ilir Meta, when it is believed the pair will discuss co-operation and the future path of Albania towards joining the European Union.

On Thursday, the president will meet with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and Parliament Speaker Granit Ruci. Grabar-Kitarovic will also address the Albanian national parliament. And on Thursday she will also visit one of the most important ports for Albania, the Adriatic port of Durres. On this occasion she will present a project, which will include Croatia, Albania and Montenegro, on the problem of waste management.

The Croatian coastline has a particular problem with plastic waste originating in Albania being carried on currents and then choking beaches and ports. Grabar-Kitarovic brought up the issue of pollution in the Adriatic Sea when she met President Meta in Zagreb this January. Expanded details of how this trilateral agreement will function have yet to be released.

The 2018 World Cup brought not only a successful campaign for the Croatian national team but also a much needed boost for the economy. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce have reported that on the eve of matches and on match days the retail sales in the country jumped by between 11 and 15 percent.

“Large sporting events, especially European and world football championships, which are watched by nearly half of the world's population, give significant boost to the economy through increased spending,” the HGK said in a statement.

Much of the spending in Croatia, somewhat unsurprisingly, went on beer, snacks, supporter’s equipment, television sets and travel deals.

"Retail spending increased by between 11 and 15 percent on average compared with the same period last year, especially on the days before matches and on match days," HGK said.

"Turnover in the restaurant industry on match days increased by an average of 10 percent and more. A record was made on the day of the semi-final match against England when turnover increased by 17 percent, while on the day of the final it rose by 13 percent," the HGK said.

The Croatian team has come home to an incredible welcome! The streets and main square of the capital Zagreb were completely packed as the team bus made its way from the airport to the centre to celebrate with the fans.

According to official estimates from the police there were over 450,000 supporters waiting along the streets and when the plane landed the whole country went absolutely crazy. “I haven’t seen scenes like this since Croatia was declared an independent country,” commented one joyous fan. Red and white squares, flags, fireworks and deafening songs awaited the heroes from Russia as they made their way in an open-top bus.

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People had arrived from all four corners of Croatia! They had come by bus, taxi, train and many had walked miles and miles just to get a glimpse of the silver medal winners from the 2018 World Cup.

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As the Croatia Airlines flight carrying the players entered Croatian airspace it was immediately greeted with a warm message of thanks and congratulations from the air traffic controllers. And as it approached Zagreb Airport three Croatia Air force MIG fighters flew alongside the plane. Upon landing the country went wild. The plane was drenched by two firefighting trucks in a shower of water to show their appreciation.

Absolutely incredible scenes and the official coach still hasn’t made it to the centre of Zagreb…more to come later. So far the coach has been driving for more than four hours and is yet to make the normal 20 minutes drive from the airport to the centre of Zagreb. 

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One of the Croatian stars that has been flying high in the World Cup isn’t even playing on the pitch. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the President of Croatia, has been backing the team all the way and she has certainly caught the attention of the world’s media.

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Wearing the iconic Croatian football shirt and cheering loudly from the VIP lounge of the stadiums Kolinda has continued and enhanced the positive spirit for her homeland. With a population of only a little over 4 million it seemed that the whole world was backing Croatia in the World Cup Final. And Kolinda’s photos and videos have gone absolutely viral all over the world.

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Even here at The Dubrovnik Times we have received numerous invitations for interviews and information and the latest one from the BBC is all about the Croatian President. Kolinda has gone viral and promoted the country in the best possible light to the world.

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Dubrovnik has made it onto another world travel list, this time the aptly named “The World's Best Once-in-a-lifetime Journeys for 2018.” This recognition is particularly important as it was judged by 515 of the world’s leading travel professionals. A massive 2,500 world journeys were evaluated and Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coastal road came in at a lofty tenth position.

“Sapphire seas, almighty mountains, and historic villages are just a few of the sites to explore during a drive along the scenic Dalmatian Coast of Croatia,” opens the article on Croatia.

Adding that “Croatia is an Eastern European country embraced by a striking coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Made up of more than a thousand islands, its pristine coastline is met with some of the most stunning, deep-blue waters in the world.”

Check out the full article here

Even the most popular search engine in the world is celebrating Croatia’s World Cup success. Google have added a Croatian fan inspired design on the homepage of their website today in honour of the silver medal the team won at the finals in Moscow.

Featuring the iconic red and white squared shirts and fan scenes the image is a great advert and publicity for Croatia, and proof that football has the biggest reach of any team sport. Clicking on the image brings readers through to info about the final and the Croatian team.

Croatia’s captain and inspiration Luka Modric has been awarded with the Golden Ball for being the player of the 2018 World Cup. Modric, who truly was the dominate force in Croatia’s midfield, becomes the first Croatian to win the Golden Ball. In 1998 Davor Suker won the Silver Ball as well as the Golden Boot for his six goals.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic commented that "He played a terrific tournament which is another commendation for the team which helped to bring about Luka's success. He made the lion’s share of our play and he was a deserved winner of the Golden Ball."

The Silver Ball went to Eden Hazard of Belgium, with the Bronze Ball going to Antoine Griezmann of France.

In other awards the England captain, Harry Kane, won the Golden Boot after finishing the top scorer of the World Cup with six goals. Whilst Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois picked up the Golden Glove for being the leading goalkeeper. The best Young Player Award went to the impressive Kylian Mbappe (19) from France.

 

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