Monday, 16 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

Croatia’s best result, until Russia 2018, at a World Cup came in 1998 when they reached the semi-finals only to lose 2 -1 to France in Paris.

The current coach, Zlatko Dalic, watched the 1998 semi-final in France from the stands as a supporter.

Croatia have become the smallest country to reach a World Cup Final since 1950 when Uruguay beat Brazil.

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Croatia started the World Cup at 33/1 outsiders.

No team has ever made it to the World Cup final after going to extra-time in all three prior knockout rounds.

The 2018 World Cup marks only the fifth time that Croatia has competed in the globe's premier soccer tournament.

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Dalic was only appointed as Croatia coach towards the end of their qualifying campaign, leading them to Russia via a play-off win against Greece.

Croatia have never beaten France in five previous meetings, although the last two encounters have ended in a draw.

Croatia qualified for Russia 2018 via the play-offs, after a tough group campaign and were then drawn against Greece in the play-offs. Croatia won comfortably 4-1 on aggregate, and secured their place at Russia 2018.

Only two players in the Croatia 2018 World Cup squad of 23 actually play in the Croatian league.

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The perfect location to watch the historic World Cup Finals between France and Croatia this Sunday is in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

Once again the City of Dubrovnik have organised a huge LED display to watch the action on. Located in front of the St. Blaise Church and with various stands around for spectators to enjoy the walled city will be the place to cheer on Croatia. The broadcast will begin at 4.30 on Sunday and a DJ will warm up the crowds.

And the Mayor of Dubrovnik has brought a special regulation that all the cafes and bars in the Old City will be able to join in the celebrations and play music and serve drinks until 2.00am.

What better way to match the World Cup Final from Moscow.

The attention of the world’s media is fully turned towards Croatia as the finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia come to a climax.

Croatia will take on France in the final on Sunday and the country is still riding on a wave of optimism after dramatically defeating England in extra time in the semi-finals. The hashtag #croatia is leading most social media channels and international newspapers, websites and television companies are grabbing any chance to find some titbits of information ahead of kick off.

The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, spoke directly to one of the largest news networks in the world CNN on Croatia’s progress so far and the hopes for the finals, of course wearing the iconic Croatian football shirt.

“the Croatian team has been playing very well throughout the tournament, they have demonstrated that it is not by chance that our main players are actually currently playing in the top European football clubs in the best leagues,” commented the Prime Minster.

Check out the full CNN video featuring the Croatian Prime Minister

The whole country is decked out in flags and red and white squares and the guys from the Dubrovnik travel agency Elite Travel Croatia have certainly gone that extra mile to get behind the team for Sunday’s World Cup final.

This video on the Facebook page of Elite Travel caught our eye, filed with a drone and featuring the staff of the travel agency hanging flags from the office windows.

Well done Elite Travel Croatia!

Will Smith created a real buzz in the Moscow Stadium today when presenting the official program of the World Cup finals in Russia. Smith, with fellow artists Nicky Jam and Era Isrefi, recorded the World Cup hymn Live It Up that will be performed before the final on Sunday between France and Croatia.

And Smith revealed that the Croatian team have delighted him this tournament and commented “I was delighted with the Croatian national team goalkeeper in the match against Russia, I watched this match and when he was injured, I thought that Croatia did not have a chance to win, but he was miraculously defending, at that moment I thought it was not normal. It was the most powerful image and moment of the championship," said Smith.

When asked by reporters - Will Croatia win in the final round then? – Smith answered - "No, in the final I'll be neutral," he added with a smile.

He admitted that he discovered football a decade ago when he watched matches from the World Cup in South Africa.

A lost envelope with almost 1,000 Euros was returned to the owner at the Dubrovnik Port this morning. A little after 10.00 am, at the Port parking, an employee of the Port of Dubrovnik found an envelope with 960 euros inside. On the envelope there was a painting of a church, so the employee assumed that it has been lost by someone from the regular liner for Italy who had just boarded at the ship after returning from Medjugorje.

After the police were informed of the envelope, a contact was established with the leader on board. After the check, the money was returned to the owner who was extremely surprised with this gesture, according to the Dubrovnik Port. - Although such events are not rare in the port area, because there is a large number of tourists circulating around here, we rarely have the opportunity to hear and read about such bright examples of humanity and fairness - they said at the Port of Dubrovnik.

Although this is really kind gesture, the finder of the envelope wanted to remain anonymous - which is another example of modesty.

If you are visiting Dubrovnik this weekend, there is one important information that you need to know! Due to the historic World Cup final where Croatia meets France at 5 pm, Dubrovnik City Walls and the Walls of Ston will be closed earlier.

They will work from 8 am until 3:30 pm, it was stated from the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiques. Also, Sokol Grad in Konavle will work from 10 am to 3:30 pm, while the Rector's Palace in Slano will work from 9 am to 3:30 pm

It wasn’t only the 4.2 million people in Croatia that celebrated the monumental achievement of reaching the 2018 World Cup Finals after defeating England in extra time. Croatians all over the world, from Australia to the US, joined in the special night.

The dust is still settling after a historic semi-final win over England in Moscow. After last night’s wild celebrations Croatia was calmer today. One of the best teams in the competition await Croatia in the final on Sunday, however the upbeat mood and overwhelming confidence that the nation now has in their team has given a belief that France are the next “victims.”

Check out these video from around the world as Croatians joined as one to rejoice

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