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.
Croatia continued their impressive World Cup 2018 campaign with a relatively comfortable win over a determined Iceland team in their final Group D match and they are picking up praise from all over the world for the way they have been playing.
The former Manchester United and England defender, Phil Neville, who is now the coach of the England women’s national team commented for the BBC that “I like the style of play. They are solid at the back, the three in midfield control the game and Mario Mandzukic is an animal up front.” He added that “Croatia have probably been the best team in the competition. In terms of consistent performances they have been the best team in the competition. If Denmark play like they did today, I can't see them beating Croatia.” And the former Manchester United star is not the only pundit talking up Croatia’s chances at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A midfield that features Luka Modric, the captain, from Real Madrid, Ivan Rakitic, from Barcelona, Marcelo Brozovic, from Inter Milan and Ivan Perisic also from Inter Milan have so far dominated the group. And with Mario Mandukic from Juventus and Ante Rebic from Eintracht Frankfurt, they have power and goals up front. The defence is led by Dejan Lovren, from Liverpool, and Domagoj Vida, from Beşiktaş. In fact, from the 23 players picked to play at this year’s World Cup only two play in the Croatian league, the third choice goalkeeper, Dominik Livaković, at Dinamo Zagreb and Filip Bradaric at Rijeka. Six players come from the Serie A, the Italian league, and four players from La Liga in Spain.
The BBC’s South American expert, Tim Vickery, also heaped praise on Croatia, “What a midfield Croatia have. They are the team who could do serious damage. I saw them at Anfield when they played Brazil and in the first half Brazil couldn't get out of their own half.”
Croatia now face Denmark in the first match of the final stages on Sunday the 1st of July in Nizhny Novgorod. Denmark, at least according to the FIFA World rankings, should be slight favourites for the game as they are ranked 12th in the world and Croatia are in 20th position. However, the experts and the pundits, and the bookmakers, clearly have Croatia as the favourites to progress past the Danes.
If you fancy a little flutter on Croatia winning the World Cup the odds have dropped and now range from 12/1 to 14/1 however they are strong favourites with the bookmakers to beat Denmark and progress into the quarter finals in Sochi where they will face the winners of the Spain and Russia match.
Where did Dubrovnik’s summer disappear? The city awoke to grey skies, rain and a fresh northerly wind as it felt more like October than June.
This June has been unusually unsettled with thunder storms and overcast skies. And the forecast for the rest of this week is for more cooler and unstable weather. Highs are expected to reach 25 degrees today and rain will fall for most of the day. The rain and cooler weather will continue all the way to Saturday.
Sunday will see summer return with clear skies and rising temperatures. “Variable cloudiness, showers or thunderstorm,” reads the weather forecast for Dubrovnik today, so not a day to be without your umbrella.
Croatia are into the last round of the 2018 World Cup after beating Iceland 2 – 1 in Rostov last night. Goals from Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj and Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic saw Croatia qualify with three wins from three and top Group D.
The Croatian manager, Zlatko Dalic, made nine changes to the team that beat Argentina 3 – 0 last week, however the revamped team proved too good for Iceland. "The fact is that we have 22 players we can really be proud of. The most important thing here is that we have managed to continue our string of victories which helps us retain our good spirits, we certainly would not have been as happy if it had ended in a draw," commented Badelj.
Croatia now face Denmark, who finished second in their group, in the final rounds of the 2018 World Cup. The match will be played in Nizhny Novgorod on the 1st of July.
Millions of people searching Google today were greeted with an attractive graphic of Croatia.
With recognisable landmarks throughout the country from the Pula amphitheatre, the fertile fields of Slavonia, St. James in Šibenik and of course the Adriatic Sea and the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.
The iconic red and white chequered football shirts are dotted all over the country as Google gives valuable marketing to Croatia.
Dubrovnik awoke to a stormy day as the temperatures dropped considerably and a fresh north wind blew. Once again the skies are overcast as the unusually unsettled start to the summer in Dubrovnik continues.
Highs are expected to reach 27 degrees today but it looks like being a wet and windy day with showers predicted all day.
This stunning photo of lightening striking near the Old City of Dubrovnik was taken by Jared Marshall from Australia.
The new Peljesac Bridge, that will connect Dubrovnik with the rest of the country, will start to be constructed this year. The Minister of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, commented today for Croatian Radio that construction works on the new Peljesac Bridge would start this July.
He added that the contracts had been signed and the funds secured and that works would begin in mid-July this year. The Peljesac Bridge is the most important infrastructure project for Croatia, according to a government statement from earlier in the year. It is believed that the bridge will be opened on 2022.
The bridge aims at ensuring the territorial continuity of Croatia by connecting its mainland with the southernmost region, the Dubrovnik–Neretva County, while avoiding crossing Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Neum Corridor. By connecting the Croatian peninsula of Peljesac with the mainland, the bridge would span the part of the Adriatic Sea which separates the two near the Bay of Mali Ston and the Neretva Channel.
Croatia is marking one of the most important dates on the annual calendar, Statehood Day, and the letters of congratulations to the President’s Office have been flooding in.
Pope Francis, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian President Sergio Mattarella have all sent letters of congratulations to the Croatian President and the Croatian people.
Pope Francis voiced hope that commitment to justice and peace would enable the building of a society in which every person could find their place, serenity and happiness. Whilst President Trump said US-Croatia partnership continued to grow stronger, both within NATO, where the two countries' troops stand shoulder to shoulder, defending the common freedom and in the economy and culture. Whilst Putin, who currently has his hands full with the 2018 World Cup said that building mutual co-operation between the two countries was in the interest of building a stable and secure Europe.
Congratulations to Croatian citizens on the occasion of Statehood Day also came from presidents Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria, Prokopios Pavlopoulos of Greece, E. Alain Berset of Switzerland, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez of Cuba, Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Abdul Hamid of Bangladesh and Michel Aoun of the Lebanon.
Congratulations were also sent by kings Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrein and Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan, Emperor Akihito of Japan and Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman.
Today, the 25th of June, is one of the most important days on the Croatian calendar – Statehood Day. Every year on the 25th of June the country celebrates the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Statehood Day is officially a public holiday.
After the independence referendum held on 19 May 1991, the Croatian Parliament formally proclaimed independence with the Constitutional decision on sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia.
The Statehood Day originally used to be 30 May, marking the day when in 1990 the first post-Communist multi-party Parliament was constituted. There was some controversy in the public regarding which date is more suitable for the day of the statehood. Since 2002, 25 June has prevailed as the Statehood Day, and 30 May is marked a minor holiday, one that is not an off-day.
Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia at the same time, and its Statehood Day coincides with the Croatian Statehood Day, on 25 June.