21. 04. 2021

CRO M: Ivan Raič arrives in Croatia National Team with Greek Cup title

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Since 2009, when he became a professional player, the irreplaceable member of the Croatia Men's Volleyball National Team, Ivan Raič, has changed 12 clubs in 8 different countries. But this 32-year-old opposite hitter still doesn’t stop, tirelessly winning trophies in his international career.

 

The last trophy in Raič's showcase is the Greek Cup, won with Foinikas Syros, the club coached by Croatian coach Igor Juričić. A few days ago, at the Final Four organized by Veria, they beat the hosts 3-1, but the semifinals seemed even more interesting:

“We beat Olympiacos in the semifinals with 3-0 the day before, and it was actually a real final. Later, against the hosts, it was easier,“ said Ivan, who returned to Zagreb soon afterward.

“I'm at home, resting but I won't be here long, only this week because, from this weekend, we'll start preparing with the national team for two qualifying tournaments for the European Championship.“

A player of his class didn't even get a week off, which also wouldn't be much.

“No, but it doesn't matter. When it comes to the national team, we don't even need a break, we just need to get together as soon as possible, prepare well, and ensure our appearance at the European Championship through qualifications.“

It won't be easy to do so playing with the Dutch and the Swedes as rivals. The first tournament is played in Zadar from May 7-9 and the second in Apeldoorn from May 14-16 which Croatia should finish in the first place.

“We didn't expect easier rivals in the qualifications for the European Championship. The Dutch are the favorites here, but we aren't afraid of them at all. We beat them two years ago, we know how to play with them. Anyway, everything is still open, and we are all firmly hoping for a pass. Of course, a lot will depend on what kind of lineup we'll play with, because Covid-19 is dangerously involved in everything, so it can disrupt and weaken any team. After all, I felt it this season. We were in great shape, we played great, but then, in one game we all got infected, the whole team except one player and coach, and we had to go to quarantine. After that, our form dropped, we lost three games that we probably wouldn't have lost, and in the end, we finished second in the Greek Championship, behind Olympiacos, which we have already beat this season,“ concluded Raič.


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