Friday, 20 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

What a mad night in Dubrovnik. The streets, squares and bars of the city erupted last night as Ivan Rakitic slotted home the winning penalty and for only the second time in their short history they entered the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Dubrovnik erupted, fireworks lit the night sky, songs and cheers echoed around the historic facades…the city was in for a long night of celebrations. A huge video wall was installed inside the ancient walls and thousands turned out to watch Croatia take on the hosts Russia in Sochi.

It was a nail-biting game, that finished 1 -1 after 90 minutes, 2- 2 after extra time and 4- 3 to Croatia after penalties. Did anyone slep last night...probably not! 

Check out the atmosphere last night in the Old City of Dubrovnik

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Croatia will face England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after squeaking past the hosts in an anxious match in the Sochi heat after a tense penalty shoot-out.

The country exploded as the centre back Domagoj Vida scored a header from a corner in the 100th minute of extra-time and Croatia thought they had done enough in the energy-sapping conditions but the hosts never gave up and equalized in the 115 minute through a Mario Fernandes header.

Croatia win it in an intense penalty shoot-out, after a tense match in the summer humidity of Sochi, Croatia celebrate in wild scenes. Ivan Rakitic fired home the winning penalty to put Croatia through 4 – 3 on penalties, what a night in Sochi, what drama in Russia. Danijel Subasic pulled off a magnificent save and once again, as he did against Denmark, pulled Croatia back from the brink of elimination.

Russia opened the scoring with a wonder strike from Denis Cheryshev after 31 minutes. Even though Croatia had dominated the early possession, with around 65 percent, they struggled to find a way through the tough and uncompromising Russian defence.

On 39 minutes they managed to find a chink in the hosts armour and Andrej Kramaric headed in the level the game 1 -1. The rest of the first half was stalemate with the Russians looking to counter-attack with Croatian, through the captain Luka Modric, held a stronghold in the midfield.

croatia into semis win goal

With a deafening roar from the home fans in the Fisht Olympic Stadium where clearly the vast majority were Russians the second half began at the continuation of Croatian dominance and Russian counter-attacking. The nail-biting continued as the match went into extra time. And as the Croatia President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, looked on the national team summed up one more atom of energy to crack the tough Russian nut.

After winning their group, with three wins out of three, Croatia had a dramatic win in the first round of the knock-out stages over Denmark on penalties. The swagger and confidence of the group games have been replaced with hard-work and determination in the later stages, but their luck in the roulette of penalties continues.

ruscro near miss

Croatia is awash with red and white, fireworks and song fill the night sky as their heroes move onto to another World Cup adventure, this time a semi-final against England for a place in the final on Wednesday the 11th of July in Moscow.

Well done Croatia!!

Due to the construction of the new border crossing between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at Gornji Brgat the road will be closed this coming Tuesday for one hour.

The construction of a larger border crossing has been in process for the past few weeks and this Tuesday the 10th of July between 2.00pm and 3.00pm the road will be closed for all traffic whilst dynamiting work is carried out.

The world renowned financial ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, have upgraded Croatia’s economic situation as BB+ and expect a “healthy GDP growth.”

According to Fitch Croatia’s long-term financial position is no longer just stable but has improved significantly and can now be described as positive, a move that is sure to attract even more foreign investment into the country. They base their decision on the budget surplus, steady economic growth and low interest rates.

"The HDZ-led government coalition has proved resilient since July 2017, despite a slim majority with 77 out of 151 seats in parliament, but structural reforms may be challenging and a change in its composition cannot be ruled out,” stated the agency in a press statement.

They are mention the ever falling public debt. In 2017 the debt amounted to 77.5 percent of GDP, however that figure has fallen and Fitch predict that by the end of 2019 it will be down to around 71 percent.

Fitch forecasts Croatia's GDP growth of 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.5 percent in 2019, on the back of "strong tourist arrivals, rising real earnings, tax cuts, accommodative monetary policy and a pick-up in EU project execution."

The historic Old City of Dubrovnik is certainly in its summer mode. Thousands of tourists filled the cobbled streets of the city yesterday as a combination of cruise ship passengers, day-trippers and sightseers poured into the ancient walled city.

With temperatures pushing thirty degrees and a high level of humidity it was hot in the city in more ways than one.

Check out the photo gallery from Tonci Plazibat

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“Why are both the teams wearing the same colour?” asked my wife whilst I was watching a World Cup match from Russia. “Well they aren’t but our TV seems to turn everything green,” came my rather depressed answer.

Yes, this World Cup will be unforgettable for me in many ways. I have to say that I didn’t watch many of the group games, mainly the England and Croatia games, but these final stages are much more interesting. And I have two teams to cheer. Although I did miscalculate. I thought that our two nations couldn’t meet before the final. And now it appears that they could meet in the semi-finals, although by the time you read this England could already be on a British Airways flight home.

So we are in are summer residence. And just as we were moving our TV broke down. Knowing that the football was around the corner I had to find a solution. A few calls to friends and family and my mother-in-law said “I’ve got one in the store room.” I had my reservations. Would it be black and white? Or would it even work at all?

I went to pick it up and as soon as I saw the aerial was hanging off broken and that I needed a receiver to get a picture my fear level rose. “It was fine the last time I used it,” said my mother-in-law. But I realised that the last time she actually used it could be before I was born. It was strangely heavy. One of the first flat screens that isn’t really a flat screen just a slim version of the old pregnant televisions. “Where did you get this?” I asked as I seemed an unusual shape and size. “I can’t remember now,” she answered. It was then that I found out. As I flipped the TV round I saw a small metal label “Property of Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.” Presumably she hadn’t snuck into the hotel in the winter and climbed out a window with a TV in her arms. “Oh, yes, the last time the hotel renovated they sold off some televisions,” she remembered.

With its relatively small screen and broken antenna I set it up in my summer residence. Of course no picture. A snow screen of fuzz. Digging around in our store room I found another antenna that was older than Revelin. But it worked. Or did it? One minute picture, the next frozen, then the picture again, then a snow storm. Frustrating doesn’t have enough letters to describe my mood. If I stood holding the antenna in the middle of the room, then I could get a watchable picture. Just ask my wife as she came home once watching the opening ceremony sitting on a chair in the middle of the room holding an antenna! And then I guess the wind direction changed and so did my luck… a half decent picture. We could only get Nova and HRT2 but who cares.

For a week I was watching the World Cup in peace. And then the first England game and Murphy’s Law the picture disappeared. Yes, again I sat in the middle of the room holding the antenna.

I needed a new plan because I am too tight to buy a new TV. “What I need is something metal and something big,” I thought to myself. “I need to make my own antenna,” was my conclusion. Coat hangers, saucepans and even a BBQ grill were tried but all to no avail. “Maybe if I move the TV on top of the wardrobe it will be closer the window,” said my wife. That’s it! Eureka! The portable wardrobe is basically a huge metal frame. I unplugged the old antenna and pushed the wire hard into the metal frame…. BINGO! Seeing that my invention would work I needed to upgrade it. I scratched a small piece of paint off the inside metal frame and with some cello tape fixed the antenna wire to the exposed metal of the wardrobe and the television turned from a snow screen to HD. Not only could I watch the football perfectly but I could also now pick up thirty Italian channels and Libertas TV. Had I invented the latest satellite dish? My wardrobe.

“Why is there a cable sticking out of the wardrobe now,” came the obvious question from my wife. And when she heard the explanation the follow-up question was “Will I get an electric shock if I take a pair of trousers.” The World Cup for me was back on, even if it was a little green. Yes, although I have a plethora of channels many of them are slightly green. Normally watching football it isn’t too much of a problem, unless one team wears green and then they kind of get lost in the green grass.

Watching Mexico and Saudi Arabia was a challenge. But who cares, England wear white and you can see the Croatian shirts from outer space. Glorious football all the way from Russia through a wardrobe.

The strike planned for this Monday by the staff of the national airline, Croatia Airlines, has been postponed. According to reports in the national media representatives of the staff met with the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, on Friday and the groups agreed that their grievances will be dealt with after the government’s summer recess.

Amongst other points the union is requesting more holiday days, an agreement on a regular flight crew list, increasing sick leave benefits from 70 to 90 percent of salaries, as well as full-time employment for seasonal staff who have been employed for longer than a year, amongst other points.

However, the management of Croatia Airlines responded and said that any staff member who went on strike would lose their pay for the days spent on strike.

The Prime Minster has now stepped in and assured the representatives of the Croatia Airlines pilots, cabin crew and ground staff that the problem would be assessed by the government.

“The union’s representatives presented Croatia Airlines’ problems to the Prime Minister, who expressed his understanding and said he was prepared to ensure that all the necessary conditions for the conclusion of the collective agreement were met,” the press release said.

Dubrovnik is getting ready for the big football match, Croatia vs Russia in the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup. For this big event you’ll ned a big screen and the City of Dubrovnik have announced that they will install a special huge screen on the Stradun for the game.

In cooperation with Dubrovnik Film Studios and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on July 7 at 19:30 in the square in front of Luza a broadcast of the football match Croatia - Russia will be shown on a video wall.

The match will be projected on the facade of Luza above the small Onofrio fountain at the end of the Stradun and to make sure that the atmosphere is even more thumping a DJ will warm up the crowds before the game.

The City of Dubrovnik invites everyone to come to the Old City and watch the match on a huge video wall inside the ancient city walls, the perfect way to cheer on Croatia in the World Cup adventure.

Sunny

30°C

Dubrovnik

Sunny
Humidity: 39%
Wind: WSW at 28.97 km/h
Saturday
Mostly sunny
25°C / 27°C
Sunday
Sunny
25°C / 28°C
Monday
Thunderstorms
23°C / 26°C
Tuesday
Partly cloudy
23°C / 27°C

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THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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