A press conference of the Croatia men’s senior national team was held today at the KC Dražen Petrović Press Center ahead of the first qualifying matches for the World Cup, held in 2023 in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, reports HKS.
At the conference, basketball legend Dino Rađa was available to the media for all questions, this time in the capacity of the president of the HKS Expert Council, national team coach Veljko Mršić and national team members Pavle Marčinković and Lovro Gnjidić.
Dino Rađa immediately drew attention to the national team youth: “As you can see, we have rejuvenated the team as much as possible. The atmosphere at training is very good; you feel a good vibe. The guys work as honestly as possible and are unencumbered. As much as youth and inexperience can be their flaw, so much so that it can be turned into an advantage because they don’t carry some former results. They have only one task, and that is to get off the court with bloody knees, and everything else will be forgiven. I wish them good luck!”
Coach Veljko Mršić continued Dino’s thoughts: “True, a new national team. A combination of youth and experience will be the best possible in the last two windows in late autumn 2022 and early 2023. We will certainly be good even now because, as Dino said, the guys are doing really well. The atmosphere is great; from the first day of the gathering, they look very good in training and commitment and behavior on and off the court. I’m sure it will lead us to play good basketball, without worrying about the result, and burdened only with one thing: to be very concentrated and think of each possession as if it were the last. The players have a lot of room for improvement, and I expect us to be better from game to game.”
Pavle Marčinković is one of the national team members with the most experience: “The atmosphere is excellent. Not to forget, there are those of us who have been through a couple of cycles, so even though this is a newer and younger team, our goals, postulates, and principles are still the same. We will continue to build the result on a good defense and a strong transition back and forth. I think that we have a lot to look forward to with these young players; they play important roles in their clubs, and they are full of self-confidence.”
Twenty-year-old Lovro Gnjidić is part of the senior national team for the first time: “Coming to the senior national team, after all the younger categories, is a dream come true. The team is great, we get along great, and I think we clicked well.”
When asked if he was nervous about his debut, Lovro answered: “It may be small, but I am focused, and I will do my best.”
Croatia – Slovenia is scheduled for Thursday, November 25, at 20:45 in KC Dražen Petrović in Zagreb. Tickets can be purchased through ulaznice.hr and at the box office on Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm and on Thursday from 10 am until the end of halftime.
Finland – Croatia is played in Espoo, part of the metropolitan area of the more famous Helsinki, on Sunday at 18:00. You can watch both matches on the SportKlub program.
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