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Balkan clash: Croatia and Albania meet for the first time at Euro 2024

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Balkan clash: Croatia and Albania meet for the first time at Euro 2024
Sport

Sport

Balkan clash: Croatia and Albania meet for the first time at Euro 2024

2024-06-19 02:54 Last Updated At:03:00

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Croatia faces Albania in their second match in Group B. Both teams lost their opening matches and can’t afford another defeat if they want to keep hope alive of advancing from the group stage. The match starts at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) in Hamburg. Here’s what to know:

— The two Balkan teams have never met in a competitive match before. Albania is playing in only its second European Championship after qualifying for the tournament in 2016.

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Croatia's Nikola Vlasic is tackled by Portugal's Joao Palhinha during an international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Croatia at the National Stadium in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Croatia faces Albania in their second match in Group B. Both teams lost their opening matches and can’t afford another defeat if they want to keep hope alive of advancing from the group stage. The match starts at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) in Hamburg. Here’s what to know:

Spain's head coach Luis de la Fuente gives instructions during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Spain defeated Croatia 3-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spain's head coach Luis de la Fuente gives instructions during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Spain defeated Croatia 3-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Croatia players block a free kick during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Croatia players block a free kick during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Italy' fans celebrate at the end of the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Italy won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Italy' fans celebrate at the end of the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Italy won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Albania's head coach Sylvinho applauds supporters at the end of a Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Albania's head coach Sylvinho applauds supporters at the end of a Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Albania's Arber Hoxha is chased by Italy's Alessandro Bastoni and Italy's Bryan Cristante, right, during the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Albania's Arber Hoxha is chased by Italy's Alessandro Bastoni and Italy's Bryan Cristante, right, during the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Croatia's Luka Modric controls the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Croatia's Luka Modric controls the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

— Luka Modric’s Croatia is looking to rebound from a confidence-bruising 3-0 loss to Spain in the group opener. Croatia is expected to control the game while Albania relies on its robust defense and quick counterattacks.

— Albania stunned defending champion Italy with an early goal but conceded two goals later in the game in the 2-1 loss on June 15.

— Albania faces disciplinary charges for the behavior of its fans in the first game. UEFA says that included a “provocative message” allegedly displayed by fans, the throwing of objects, use of fireworks and a field invasion by a fan near the end of the game.

— Croatia midfielder Nikola Vlasic has withdrawn from the tournament because of a muscle injury. He didn't play against Spain and didn't take part in practice this week.

— Albania coach Sylvinho on Tuesday said his squad was injury-free, with all players available for the match against Croatia.

— Both teams are treating the match as crucial for their ability to advance from the group stage.

— Croatia had 54% possession in its first match against Spain, becoming the first team to hold the ball more than Spain in a competitive match since 2008. Croatia completed 528 passes to Spain’s 392.

— Albania’s Nedim Bajrami scored against Italy after just 23 seconds, the fastest goal in the history of the European Championship.

— Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric will celebrate his 33rd birthday on the day of the match.

— “For me, personally, it’s a dream come true to play in front of that many Croatian fans at a major tournament. It was beautiful. I can only promise that we’ll give our best in the next games, and fight for our country.” – Croatia midfielder Lovro Majer about the support of Croatia fans in Germany.

— “We are not going to underestimate our opponents. We are in a ‘group of death’ and we know it is going to be hard to go through. Croatia are a tough team but we are preparing to give it our best.” – Albania defender Mario Mitaj.

AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Croatia's Nikola Vlasic is tackled by Portugal's Joao Palhinha during an international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Croatia at the National Stadium in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)

Croatia's Nikola Vlasic is tackled by Portugal's Joao Palhinha during an international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Croatia at the National Stadium in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)

Spain's head coach Luis de la Fuente gives instructions during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Spain defeated Croatia 3-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spain's head coach Luis de la Fuente gives instructions during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Spain defeated Croatia 3-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Croatia players block a free kick during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Croatia players block a free kick during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Italy' fans celebrate at the end of the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Italy won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Italy' fans celebrate at the end of the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Italy won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Albania's head coach Sylvinho applauds supporters at the end of a Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Albania's head coach Sylvinho applauds supporters at the end of a Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Albania's Arber Hoxha is chased by Italy's Alessandro Bastoni and Italy's Bryan Cristante, right, during the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Albania's Arber Hoxha is chased by Italy's Alessandro Bastoni and Italy's Bryan Cristante, right, during the Group B match between Italy and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Croatia's Luka Modric controls the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Croatia's Luka Modric controls the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

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NASCAR and Straight Talk Wireless Announce Official Partnership

2024-07-25 20:27 Last Updated At:20:31

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 25, 2024--

NASCAR and Straight Talk Wireless today announced an official multi-year partnership that makes Straight Talk Wireless an Official Wireless Partner of NASCAR. With this, Straight Talk Wireless also becomes an Official Partner of Homestead-Miami Speedway, including the entitlement to the October 27 NASCAR Cup Series playoff race – the Straight Talk Wireless 400. Terms were not disclosed.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240725612466/en/

“We’re excited to come together with NASCAR as there is so much overlap between Straight Talk customers and NASCAR fans,” said Cheryl Gresham, CMO of Verizon Value. “This partnership is very fitting. Our Straight Talk customers appreciate real value and reliable service wherever they are. As they experience the legendary NASCAR series this year, we look forward to meeting them at the track.”

In addition, NASCAR and Straight Talk Wireless will also be joining forces to present “NASCAR on Tour,” an exciting event series coming to select Walmart parking lots in Daytona Beach, Florida; Darlington, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Bentonville, Arkansas; Bristol, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; Talladega, Alabama; Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; and Miami, Florida from August 21 to October 27. “NASCAR on Tour” will bring the ultimate racing experience to fans across the country, allowing them the opportunity to enjoy racing-themed experiences, giveaways, driver appearances, exclusive offers and much more. Additionally, new customers attending the “NASCAR on Tour” on-site events are eligible to participate in an exclusive Straight Talk Wireless promotion: buy one month and get one month free on any unlimited plan.

“Straight Talk Wireless is such a recognizable brand, and one that shares NASCAR’s priorities in providing tremendous value for its customers and their families,” said Michelle Byron, NASCAR executive vice president and chief partnership and licensing officer. “We are thrilled to have Straight Talk Wireless join the NASCAR family as an Official Partner, both at the league and track level.”

Available only at Walmart or via www.straighttalk.com, Straight Talk Wireless is a wireless service provider that offers a wide variety of value-based plans, including month-to-month options for customers seeking plan flexibility and affordable pricing. As part of the Official Partnership, Straight Talk Wireless will have a presence at all NASCAR-owned events, including the option to activate on site at select events and to create customized offers for NASCAR fans.

The NASCAR Cup Series continues with the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway on Sunday, August 11 at 6 pm ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM and NASCAR Radio.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 14 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR sanctions races in three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series™), four international series (NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, NASCAR Canada Series, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and a local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in five cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races annually in 11 countries and more than 30 U.S. states.

For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, X and Snapchat.

About Straight Talk Wireless

Straight Talk Wireless provides quality no-contract wireless solutions to value-conscious consumers and is available exclusively at Walmart, Walmart.com, and Straighttalk.com.

Straight Talk is part of the Verizon Value portfolio of prepaid brands, which includes Total Wireless, Visible, Tracfone, Simple Mobile, SafeLink, Walmart Family Mobile, and Verizon Prepaid.

NASCAR and Straight Talk Wireless Announce Official Partnership (Graphic: Business Wire)

NASCAR and Straight Talk Wireless Announce Official Partnership (Graphic: Business Wire)

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