Hajduk Split announced yesterday on its social networks and official website that it will be an officially licensed team in the new edition of the best-selling football simulator in the world: FIFA 22. The announcement was surprising not only because of the inclusion of Hajduk itself, but because Croatian football, in general, has been underrepresented in the video game.
For instance, the last time the Croatian national team appeared in the EA Sports videogame was in 2012 (with the exception of the special editions of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 2018), despite the great growth and evolution not only of the team in the previous decade but also by its players in international and local tournaments. Likewise, the Croatian First League has never appeared in the video game.
When it comes to European football, the EA Sports videogame has officially licensed the main leagues on the continent such as the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), the Bundesliga (Germany), the Ligue 1 (France), the Eredivisie (Netherlands) the Liga NOS (Portugal). Additionally, it includes European leagues such as those of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Finally, some European teams belonging to unlicensed leagues are in the Rest of the World category, and this is the case of teams such as CSKA Moscow (Russia), Dinamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Olympiacos (Greece), or Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).
The official gameplay trailer for FIFA 22 was shared a month ago.
The only Croatian team present in the game is Dinamo Zagreb, which for a few years has been an eligible team in the Rest of the World category. Similarly, the EA Sports videogame is officially licensed by UEFA’s main international tournaments, such as the Champions League, the Europa League, and the recently founded Conference League. For this reason, Dinamo Zagreb has maintained its validity in the game by participating in at least one of these tournaments.
Hajduk will then join Dinamo Zagreb in the latest edition of the EA Sports videogame, as officially licensed teams on the Rest of the World category. Being a FIFA licensed team means having, for example, real uniforms and their sponsors, as well as the squad and their names. Despite no official confirmation, the game will most likely not include the Stadion Poljud or the official faces of the players. The technology used to reproduce stadiums and faces is being used almost exclusively with clubs belonging to the major licensed leagues.
Something positive about the presence of Hajduk Split in the new EA Sports videogame is the possibility that players can hire Hajduk players in Career Mode, where they can manage and train a club by making signings and developing the most promising players. Thus, it will be possible to hire a promising youngster from Hajduk Split to FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Manchester United and make him a star of the team. Unfortunately, Hajduk Split cannot be used in Career Mode, as only clubs belonging to a licensed league can be used in this mode.
On its official website, Hajduk Split announced the club’s presence in the new EA Sports videogame in this way:
”FIFA 22, the most authentic football simulation available, is becoming even more realistic with HNK Hajduk, which will present itself to many fans of this mega-popular game in the latest season!
With the official entry into FIFA 22, Hajduk strengthens its position in global football and confirms that it follows world trends and the practice of the world’s largest clubs.
With 17,000 players in more than 700 teams, in more than 90 stadiums in more than 30 leagues, FIFA 22 brings unparalleled authenticity and the most comprehensive interactive football experience. FIFA 22 is the only place where you can play in cult competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the brand new UEFA Europa Conference League, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga Santander, CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana.
Enhanced by revolutionary HyperMotion technology, ie the integration of advanced motion recording of 22 professional footballers in a competitive match (11 vs. 11) and machine learning (knowledge from 8.7 million frames of advanced match recordings), FIFA 22 brings an ever more realistic football experience to all players’ homes!
The official release of FIFA 22 is scheduled for October 1, 2021!”
The club promoted the news on its social networks and on its website with an image of its star, Marko Livaja, who has just scored his first goal for the national team at Stadion Poljud in the qualifying match against Slovenia, along with the official logo of the videogame and the Hajduk Split crest. Many fans of Hajduk Split are already beginning to suspect if the Croatian player, being the image of the news, will have a personalized face or if he will have a good rating in the game. Some are even beginning to recommend that he and his teammates be given ratings of 90 or more (something that only occurs with players like Mbappé, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Lewandowski):
LIVAJAAA he deserves 90+ rating and 95+ potential
— Vaki ?? (@Vaki10_) September 8, 2021
biuk and ljubicic 99 potential ?
— Fizzy Rhino (@JoeOucas) September 8, 2021
Some Croatian players who have official faces in the videogame are: Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović, Mateo Kovačić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Ante Rebić, Šime Vrsaljko, Nikola Vlašić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Borna Sosa, Josip Brekalo and Tin Jedvaj.
The Croatian national team is expected to return to the EA Sports videogame next year, with the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. To do so, they will have to continue their good run of results and ensure their qualification in the coming months against Cyprus and Malta in their away games, and against Slovakia and Russia at home. Let’s hope that very soon the company decides to officially include the Croatian national team in the game and, in the same way, the Croatian First League and the rest of the teams.
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