An Exciting Year Ahead for Croatian Athletes: A Look at Sporting Events in 2018

Daniela Rogulj

2018 should be very exciting for Croatian athletes in the world of sports.

2018 will be a great year for sports enthusiasts! And for Croatian fans, two of the most watched and most popular sports, handball and football, have two of the most celebrated and highly-anticipated competitions in 2018 which will be followed with a great deal of interest and expectations, reports on January 1, 2018. 


It all begins with the European Handball Championship in Croatia, scheduled from January 12 to 28, 2018.  Croatia is grouped with Iceland, Denmark and Serbia, and the tournament opens with overwhelming representation at the Spaladium Arena Split.

The expectations of Lino Červar and his ‘Cowboys’ are high because the legendary Croatian coach has been brought back for one reason – to bring Croatia the only medal they are missing: European gold!

During the handball tournament in Croatia, in Boston January 21st, Croatia’s Stipe Miočić will defend his championship belt in the UFC. Miočić’s opponent is Francis Ngannou, a Cameroonian-Frenchman who regularly sends his rivals to sleep. 


At the beginning of February, the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are scheduled, where Croatia will have several representatives, mostly in skiing. Korea will host the Olympic Games from February 9 to 25, 2018.

Additionally in February, and more precisely on the 13th of the month, the most elite club competition in the soccer, the Champions League, continues. Football fans await spectacular matches in the round of 16 which includes the title defender Real Madrid and one of the favorites for the title – PSG. In addition to that duel, we will also see Barcelona and Chelsea as well as Juventus and Tottenham. Croatia has more than a few footballers in this next round.

After their September victory in Colombia, the Croatian Davis Cup team won its place in the World Cup, and its leader, Marin Čilić announced in December that he would be available all year for Zeljko Krajan’s team. If the team is complete, and that means with the ‘rebuilt’ Borna Ćorić, Croatian tennis players will have a chance to another great result.

In the 1st round, Croatia will host Canada from February 2 to 4, 2018, in Osijek. If Croatia goes through, Croatia’s tennis players will be the hosts in the quarterfinals, where the draw will lead them to the winner of the Kazakhstan – Switzerland bout. Croatia would also host a possible semi-final duel, where potential rivals are the United States, Serbia, Belgium and Hungary.


From March 9th to 18th, Korea’s Pyeongchang hosts the Winter Paralympic Games, where Croat Dino Sokolović will fight for a medal.


While April is quiet for sporting events, May makes up for it with plenty. Not only will we see the end of the Croatian First League championships in football, but we will also get new champions in the Europa League (May 16th) and the Champions League (May 26th). The Champions League final will also be the last we will see from club football for a while.


From June 14th to July 15th, the World Cup will take place in Russia! Croatia is located in Group D along with Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. According to the official schedule, Croatia opens on June 16th against Nigeria.

The World Cup title defender is Germany, and the first favorite, at least for bettors, is the Brazilian national team. Croatia does not belong to the first group of favorites for this competition but is one of the teams that can surprise and go very far.

After Croatia’s water polo team became world champions in Budapest in 2017, the team is expected to be among the four teams in the semifinals of the European Championships, which will be held from July 14th to 28th in Barcelona.

Our Croatian water polo players do not have to compete in the additional qualifiers for placement at the EP finals because they earned this right based on the EP in Belgrade where they competed in the finals. Along with Croatia are the national teams of Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, Spain, Italy, Greece and Russia.


In August we will cheer for our rowers and athletes who will compete in the European championships. Our rowers will hunt for medals from August 2nd to 5th, while our athletes will contest from the 6th to 12th.

The transition from double sculls to men’s pairs for Martin and Valent Sinković brought new challenges for the duo in 2017. At the Sarasota World Championships, they won the silver medal and have an additional motive for 2018, competing in the European Championships in Glasgow from August 2nd to 5th and the World Championships in Plovdiv from September 9th to 16th.

At the same competitions, Damir Martin will try to win the title of European Champion in singles once again and hopes to win his first independent medal at the world championships.

The biggest athletic competition in 2018 is the European Championship, which will be held from August 7th to 12th in Berlin. There, Sandra Perković will try to win the title of the European Champion for the fifth consecutive time. During the season, the “Queen of the Discus” will test her form at the Diamond League competitions where she was the winner of the last six editions.

Throwers will be the primary drivers of Croatian athletics this season. Javelin thrower Sara Kolak will try to add the European gold to her Olympic win. Two years ago in Amsterdam, after winning the European bronze, she showed that she could compete with the world’s best. 

Bronze medal winner from the World Cup in London, shot putter Stipe Žunić will try to reach his first continental medal in Berlin. Filip Mihaljević will be the second Croatian representative in this discipline. Also, from March 1st to 4th, Birmingham hosts the World Championship where Mihaljević will defend his bronze from Portland 2016. 2018 should also see the long-awaited return of the Croatian “Queen of Heights” Blanka Vlašić.

Croatian sailors will compete in the ISAF World Championships of all Olympic classes in Aarhus, Denmark, from July 30th to August 12th, which is also the first opportunity to secure the Olympic Games standard in Tokyo.

Just one month after the World Cup finals, club football is back with the UEFA Super Cup final which will be played in Tallinn on August 15th where the Champions League and Europa League winners will compete. 


In the second half of August and at the beginning of September, club and international football will return to their schedule. On September 6th, the premiere edition of UEFA’s new Nations League starts, and the competition will see some teams qualify for the European Championship in 2020.

The group stage of the Nation’s League is played from September to November, and the final is scheduled for June 2019. The draw of the Nations League is scheduled on January 24th.

Tin Srbić became a major Croatian gymnastic star overnight after winning the title of world champion in Montreal. This year he will see another significant challenge as he competes in the Doha World Championships from October 25th to November 3rd. Before this, from August 2nd to 12th in Glasgow, Tin will try to win a medal on the continental level. 

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