CROATIANS AROUND EUROPE *XXX*
April 13, 2012
Nikica Jelavić did was he was supposed to do Saturay- score. But Everton could not hold a 1-0 halftime lead against crosstown rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinal from Wembley. After a week of rest, Jelavić looked to have his batteries recharged, and it showed. Early in the first half, Jela got off a crisp bicycle kick from the center of the box but shot it straight at Liverpool keeper Brad Jones. Moments later, Liverpool defenders Agger and Carragher couldn’t figure out what do to with the ball and the clearance bounced straight off Everton’s Tim Cahill to Jelavić, who slotted home for a 1-0 lead. Liverpool scored twice in the second half to win 2-1 and will now face Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.
Jelavić has been producing goals any way he can in the anemic Everton offense. He is receiving many balls in the air and much of the time has to play ‘chase’ in Ivica Olić fashion. Is Jelavić ready to start for Croatia at Euro 2012?
Jelavić goal vs. Liverpool in FA Cup semifinal
Luka Modrić and Tottenham fell short of the FA Cup final on Sunday, losing 5-1 to Chelsea in controversial fashion. Modrić played the full 90 minutes for Spurs in the semifinal from Wembley but seemed invisible unless he was given the ball. Fans have jumped on Modrić in the past month for playing average football, but what kind of player is Luka Modrić in the first place? His shooting from outside the box is weak and always has been and the man rarely makes runs into opposing defenses. We all know he can pass the ball with pinpoint accuracy, but is that enough?
Or is it that Modrić has run out of gas this season? He has played nearly every minute for Tottenham in 2012 and still has to muscle out some performances to keep Spurs’ Champions League dreams alive. Manchester City striker and Bosnian international Edin Dzeko chimed in on Modrić’ future:
“Everyone is after him, but I would love it if he came to City,” Dzeko told The Sun. “He would be a great addition.”
“Besides that, he would have everything at City – Champions league, fighting for the title, great wages. I am cheering for him to choose City.”
What does the future hold for 26 year-old Croatian?
Niko Kranjčar is out with a knee injury which could impact his Euro 2012 availability.
The ball doesn’t come close to crossing the line @0:55
PHOTO: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Borussia Dortmund are 90 minutes away from from celebrating back to back titles after registering wins over Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 this week. 80,720 packed Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday for the showdown with Bayern Munich and they were not left disappointed as a goal from Robert Lewandowski in the 77th minute was all that separated the sides. Dortmund hit the woodwork twice and Arjen Robben missed a controversial penalty kick in the 85th minute to kick off early championship celebrations in Dortmund. Remarkably, Dortmund received 450,000 ticket requests for the game. Croatian international Ivan Perišić came off the bench in the 74th minute for German international Ilkay Gündogan. The former Club Brugge midfielder came close to scoring on a mini breakaway, but his shot was easily saved by Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer.
Dortmund got a scare from Schalke 04 on Saturday but managed to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win and are now just two points away from officially clinching the Bundesliga crown. Ivan came off the bench in the 81st minute and helped Dortmund hang on for the victory.
Photo: REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen
After just about conceding the Bundesliga title to Dortmund, Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes decided to rest Mario Gomez and start Ivica Olić against Mainz on Sunday. Bayern looked uninterested and couldn’t break a stubborn Mainz defense in a 0-0 draw. Ivica played 61 minutes and failed to reach the back of the net on five half-chances at goal. Danijel Pranjić warmed the bench for Bayern in the draw. After the match, Jupp Heynckes congratulated Dortmund: ”You have got to say that they will be deserved champions. Today’s game confirmed that – they are practically there.”
After securing a spot in the Bundesliga next season, Wolfsburg lost their third consecutive match after registering a 2-1 defeat against relegation battling Augsburg on Saturday. Super Mario Mandžukić started and played the full 90 minutes for Wolfsburg in the loss. Mario finished the match with seven shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net after missing a golden one-on-one breakaway with the keeper and sending another shot off the post. Mario looks to be active but does he have the skill to finish regularly.
HSV squeaked out a 1-0 win over Hannover 96 on Saturday to give themselves some breathing room in a fight for relegation. Croatian international, Ivo Iličević, started and played 73 minutes in the win. Ivo failed to register a shot but played well defensively in a hard fought match. Mladen Petrić was left off the roster because of a flu. HSV find themselves five points clear of relegation with the win.
Mato Jajalo returned from a three-game red card suspension and came off the bench in the 77th minute for Koln in a 3-0 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach. With the loss, Koln remain in the relegation zone and will have to win at least two of their final three matches to have any chance of staying in the league next season.
As reported earlier in the week, Srdjan Lakić is heading back to Wolfsburg at the end of the season after failing to impress at Hoffenheim. Srdjan missed most of the season because of injury, making only four appearances for Hoffenheim on loan. Chances are that Lakić will look on from the bench for the final three Bundesliga games of the season.
Ivan Santini came off the bench for Freiburg in the 87th minute in a nil-nil draw against Hoffenheim on Sunday. No word from Freiburg if they will make Ivan’s loan move permanent. Frieburg need just three points from their final three games to avoid relegation. Former Dinamo Zagreb defender, Vedran Ćorluka, returned to the Bayer Leverkusen lineup on Saturday but looked on from the bench as his team came from behind to tie Hertha Berlin 3-3. With the draw, Bayer hang onto a Europa League spot but will miss out on Champions League for next season.
Ivan Strinić (above) got the start for Dnipro in a 5-1 win on Saturday and was not responsible for the lone Oleksandria goal off a free kick in the 23′. Dnipro equalized early in the second half when Konoplyanka converted a penalty in the 55′ after Oleksandria’s Gitchenko was sent off for a pull down in the box. Strinić broke the deadlock in the 73′ when he took a pass running down the left flank and fired away only to have the ball deflect and head into goal. Strinić was then sent off for his second yellow card of the day four minutes later. Dnipro scored three goals in injury time to win 5-1.
Nikola Kalinić did not feature for Dnipro in this match and compatriot Ivan Strinić now has more goals for Dnipro from the defender role than Kalinić does playing as a striker. Surely Slaven Bilić does not bring the out of form Kalinić to Euro 2012, right?
Strinić goal vs. Oleksandria
Strinić red card @ 9:30
Ognjen Vukojević played the full 90 minutes for Dynamo Kiev in a casual 3-0 win over Vorskla on Saturday. Darijo Srna and Shakhtar Donetsk face Zorya on Monday needing a win to keep pace with Dynamo Kyiv atop the Ukrainian table. Eduardo did not train on Friday and should be out with a hamstring injury. No return date has been announced.
A Evaeyerson Brandau goal in the 105th minute was all that separated Marseille and Lyon in the French League Cup final on Saturday night at Stade de France in Paris. Croatian international, Dejan Lovren, started and played 120 minutes but was dismissed just seconds before the final whistle, picking up a second yellow card for dissent. Dejan was not at fault for the lone goal and played well despite a couple of bad tackles. It remains unclear if Lovren deserved a second yellow card after a scirmish following a late tackle. The former Dinamo Zagreb defender did leave the pitch with a hot head. Lyon still have one chance left for silverware this season as they will face Quevilly in the final of the Coupe de France on April 28th.
1:26 Dejan Lovren yellow card
Real Madrid at Bayern München(Champions League)
Olympique Lyon at Toulouse
Wolfsburg at Mainz
Tottenham at QPR, Swansea City at Bolton, Borussia Mönchengladbach at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München at Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen at Hoffenheim, Stuttgart at Köln, Levante at Sevilla, Real Zaragoza at Mallorca, Tavriya at Shakhtar Donetsk, Obolon’ at Dnipro
Everton at ManU, Freiburg at Hannover 96, Hamburger SV at Nürnberg, Lorient at Olympique Lyon, Dynamo Kyiv at Volyn, Rostov at Krylya Sovetov
~Ante Kvartuč and Denis Svirčić reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN