Croatia national under-21 football team

The Croatia national under-21 football team, also known as Croatia under-21(s) or Croatia U21(s), is a youth association football national team which represents Croatia at this age level and is a feeder team for the Croatia national football team.

Croatia Under-21
Nickname(s)Mladi Vatreni (The Young Blazers)
AssociationCroatian Football Federation
Head coachIgor Bišćan
CaptainNikola Moro
Most capsTomislav Bušić (29)
Top scorerTomislav Bušić (12)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Croatia 0–0 Italy 
13 February 1993
Biggest win
 Croatia 10–0 San Marino 
Zagreb, 8 October 2020
Biggest defeat
 Spain 6–0 Croatia 
Alicante, 10 September 2012
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances3 (first in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage (2000, 2004, 2019)

This team is for Croatian players aged 21 or under at the start of a two-year European Under-21 Football Championship campaign, so players can be, and often are, up to 23 years old. Also in existence are teams for Under-20s (for non-UEFA tournaments), Under-19s and Under 17s. As long as they are eligible, players can play at any level, making it possible to play for the U21s, senior side and again for the U21s, as Ivan Rakitić and Nikola Kalinić have done recently. It is also possible to play for one country at youth level and another at senior level (providing the player is eligible). For example, Ivan Rakitić is a former Switzerland U21 player who later became a Croatia international.

The under-21 age category came into existence with the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976. The Croatia U21 team was formed following Croatia's independence from SFR Yugoslavia in 1991 and is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (from 1976 to 1990 Croatian players played for Yugoslavia U21). A goalless draw in a friendly against Italy played on 13 February 1992 was Croatia U21s' first result.

Competition historyEdit

As a European U21 team, Croatia compete for the European U21 Championship, with the finals held every odd-numbered year, formerly even-numbered years. There is no U21 World Cup, although there is an U20 World Cup. Since the Croatian Football Federation was recognised by UEFA in June 1993, in the middle of the two-year European Championship cycle, Croatia U21s began their first competitive campaign in 1994, in which they tried to qualify for the 1996 finals. They eventually finished fourth in a six-team group, with five wins out of ten games and four points behind group winners Italy.

They failed to qualify for the next tournament in 1998, but then managed to win their first qualification for the 2000 tournament. However, they finished bottom of a four-team group in the group stage, losing to Netherlands and Czech Republic and drawing with Spain.

In their next five campaigns Croatia U21 managed to qualify for the finals only one more time (for the 2004 finals), but again they failed to progress past the group stage. They came close to qualifying for the 2002 and 2006 tournaments, as they had reached the qualification playoff round, but did not progress further. On October 15th 2018 the team had qualified for their first major tournament since 2004 by beating San Marino 4–0. They topped the group with twenty-five points and were among the top few for most goals forward throughout the entire qualifying campaign. The youth team will now compete in the 2019 Under-21 European Championship in Italy & San Marino next June.

UEFA U-21 Championship recordEdit

UEFA U-21 Championship record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad Position Pld W D L GF GA Manager
  1996 Did not qualify 4/6 10 5 2 3 13 12 Martin Novoselac
  1998 3/5 8 4 0 4 13 9 Ivo Šušak
  2000 Group stage 4/4 3 0 1 2 4 6 Squad 1/5 10 7 2 1 28 9 Ivo Šušak
  2002 Did not qualify 2/4OFF 8 3 4 1 10 7 Martin Novoselac
  2004 Group stage 4/4 3 0 1 2 3 5 Squad 1/4 8 4 2 2 11 5 Martin Novoselac
  2006 Did not qualify 1/6OFF 12 8 1 3 16 11 Slaven Bilić
  2007 3/3 2 0 0 2 2 4 Dražen Ladić
  2009 2/6 10 7 1 2 20 12 Dražen Ladić
  2011 1/5OFF 10 5 2 3 18 15 Dražen Ladić
  2013 4/5 8 2 1 5 7 16 Ivo Šušak
  2015 1/5OFF 10 6 1 3 22 9 Niko Kovač / Nenad Gračan
  2017 3/6 10 6 2 2 24 11 Nenad Gračan
    2019 Group stage 4/4 3 0 1 2 4 8 Squad 1/6 10 8 1 1 31 5 Nenad Gračan
    2021 Qualificated 2/6 10 6 2 2 37 7 Nenad Gračan / Igor Bišćan
Total Group stage 9 0 3 6 11 19 126 71 21 34 252 132
Notes
  • OFF = Lost in play-offs.

2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualificationEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification            
1   Czech Republic 10 6 3 1 20 4 +16 21 Final tournament 0–0 0–0 1–1 2–0 6–0
2   Croatia 10 6 2 2 37 7 +30 20 1–2 1–2 5–0 7–0 10–0
3   Scotland 10 5 3 2 16 5 +11 18 2–0 2–2 0–1 0–0 2–0
4   Greece 10 5 1 4 10 11 −1 16 0–2 0–1 1–0 1–0 5–0
5   Lithuania 10 3 1 6 9 15 −6 10 0–1 1–3 0–1 2–0 3–0
6   San Marino 10 0 0 10 0 50 −50 0 0–6 0–7 0–7 0–1 0–3
Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Recent resultsEdit

2019Edit

14 November UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationLithuania  1–3  CroatiaVilnius, Lithuania
17:30 CET
(18:30 EET)
Report
Stadium: LFF Stadium
Attendance: 243
Referee: Kristoffer Hagenes (Norway)
18 November UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationCroatia  1–2  Czech RepublicVelika Gorica, Croatia
18:00 CET
Report
Stadium: Stadion Radnik
Referee: Espen Eskås (Norway)

2020Edit

3 September UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationCroatia  5–0  GreeceVaraždin, Croatia
19:00 CEST
Report Stadium: Stadion Anđelko Herjavec
Attendance: 0
Referee: Marco Di Bello (Italy)
7 September UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationCzech Republic  0–0  CroatiaČeské Budějovice, Czech Republic
18:00 CEST Report Stadium: Stadion Střelecký ostrov
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ivaylo Stoyanov (Bulgaria)
8 October UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationCroatia  10–0  San MarinoZagreb, Croatia
18:00 CEST
Report Stadium: Stadion Kranjčevićeva
Referee: Ivar Orri Kristjansson (Iceland)
13 October UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationGreece  0–1  CroatiaAthens, Greece
16:00 CEST
(17:00 EEST)
Report
Stadium: Leoforos Alexandras Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: José Luis Munuera Montero (Spain)
12 November UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationScotland  2–2  CroatiaEdinburgh, Scotland
16:00 CET
(15:00 GMT)
Report
Stadium: Tynecastle Park
Referee: Michael Fabbri (Italy)
17 November UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualificationCroatia  7–0  LithuaniaPula, Croatia
17:00 CET
Report Stadium: Stadion Aldo Drosina
Referee: Ian McNabb (Northern Ireland)

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

The following is the list of players for the UEFA Under-21 Euro 2021 qualifying fixtures against   Scotland on 12 November 2020 and   Lithuania on 17 November 2020.
Caps and goals as of 17 November 2020 after match against   Lithuania; only matches as FIFA member are included.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Adrian Šemper (1998-01-12) 12 January 1998 (age 22) 11 0   ChievoVerona
1GK Dominik Kotarski (2000-02-10) 10 February 2000 (age 20) 2 0   Ajax
1GK Ivan Nevistić (1998-07-31) 31 July 1998 (age 22) 1 0   Rijeka

2DF Borna Sosa (1998-01-21) 21 January 1998 (age 22) 19 0   VfB Stuttgart
2DF Boško Šutalo (2000-01-01) 1 January 2000 (age 20) 10 1   Atalanta
2DF Marin Šverko (1998-02-04) 4 February 1998 (age 22) 8 1   Saarbrücken
2DF Martin Erlić (1998-01-24) 24 January 1998 (age 22) 4 0   Spezia
2DF Joško Gvardiol (2002-01-23) 23 January 2002 (age 18) 5 1   Dinamo Zagreb
2DF David Čolina (2000-07-19) 19 July 2000 (age 20) 4 0   Hajduk Split
2DF Bruno Bogojević (1998-06-29) 29 June 1998 (age 22) 3 0   Slaven Belupo
2DF Krešimir Krizmanić (2000-07-03) 3 July 2000 (age 20) 2 0   Gorica
2DF Mario Vušković (2001-11-16) 16 November 2001 (age 19) 2 0   Hajduk Split
2DF Daniel Štefulj (1999-11-08) 8 November 1999 (age 21) 1 0   Rijeka

3MF Luka Ivanušec (1998-11-26) 26 November 1998 (age 21) 24 8   Dinamo Zagreb
3MF Nikola Moro (1998-03-12) 12 March 1998 (age 22) 20 5   Dynamo Moscow
3MF Lovro Majer (1998-01-17) 17 January 1998 (age 22) 16 5   Dinamo Zagreb
3MF Kristijan Bistrović (1998-04-09) 9 April 1998 (age 22) 14 4   CSKA Moscow
3MF Darko Nejašmić (1999-01-25) 25 January 1999 (age 21) 8 2   Hajduk Split
3MF Ivan Lepinjica (1999-07-09) 9 July 1999 (age 21) 5 0   Rijeka
3MF Neven Đurasek (1998-08-15) 15 August 1998 (age 22) 4 1   Varaždin
3MF Bartol Franjić (2000-01-14) 14 January 2000 (age 20) 1 0   Dinamo Zagreb
3MF Marko Đira (1999-05-05) 5 May 1999 (age 21) 0 0   Lokomotiva

4FW Sandro Kulenović (1999-12-04) 4 December 1999 (age 20) 13 6   Rijeka
4FW Petar Musa (1998-03-04) 4 March 1998 (age 22) 8 4   Slavia Prague
4FW Dario Špikić (1999-03-22) 22 March 1999 (age 21) 6 2   Gorica
4FW Ivan Dolček (2000-04-24) 24 April 2000 (age 20) 6 0   Hajduk Split
4FW Marko Divković (1999-06-30) 30 June 1999 (age 21) 1 0   DAC Dunajská Streda
4FW Matej Vuk (2000-06-10) 10 June 2000 (age 20) 1 0   Istra 1961
4FW Josip Mitrović (2000-06-11) 11 June 2000 (age 20) 0 0   Gorica
4FW Dion Drena Beljo (2002-03-01) 1 March 2002 (age 18) 0 0   Osijek

Recent call-upsEdit

The following players have also been called up to the Croatia squad in the last 12 months and are still eligible for selection.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up

DF Krešimir Krizmanić (2000-07-03) 3 July 2000 (age 20) 1 0   Gorica v.   San Marino, 8 October 2020
DF Branimir Kalaica (1998-06-01) 1 June 1998 (age 22) 9 1   Benfica v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020
DF Vinko Soldo (1998-02-15) 15 February 1998 (age 22) 4 2   Slaven Belupo v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020
DF Domagoj Bradarić (1999-12-10) 10 December 1999 (age 20) 10 0   Lille v.   Czech Republic, 18 November 2019

MF Mihael Žaper (1998-08-11) 11 August 1998 (age 22) 5 0   Osijek v.   San Marino, 8 October 2020
MF Tonio Teklić (1999-09-09) 9 September 1999 (age 21) 0 0   Hajduk Split v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020
MF Ante Palaversa (2000-04-06) 6 April 2000 (age 20) 0 0   Getafe v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020

FW Dario Vizinger (1998-06-06) 6 June 1998 (age 22) 3 1   Wolfsberg v.   Scotland, 12 November 2020
FW Mario Ćuže (1999-04-24) 24 April 1999 (age 21) 8 0   Dinamo Zagreb v.   Greece, 13 October 2020
FW Ivan Posavec (1998-07-05) 5 July 1998 (age 22) 5 2   Varaždin v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020
FW Leon Kreković (2000-05-07) 7 May 2000 (age 20) 0 0   Hajduk Split v.   Scotland, 27 March 2020
FW Josip Brekalo (1998-06-23) 23 June 1998 (age 22) 17 9   VfL Wolfsburg v.   Czech Republic, 18 November 2019
FW Antonio Marin (2001-01-09) 9 January 2001 (age 19) 5 0   Monza v.   Czech Republic, 18 November 2019
Key
  • INJ = Injured.
  • WD = Withdrew from the current squad.
  • SUS = Suspended from participating.
  • RET = Retired after latest call-up.
  • U21 = Joined the Croatia U21 team instead.

PersonnelEdit

Current technical staffEdit

Position Name
Head coach   Igor Bišćan
Assistant coaches   Ante Tomić
  Renato Pilipović
Goalkeeping coach   Hrvoje Sunara
Fitness coaches   Ivan Krakan
  Vedran Naglić
Technical director   Josip Tomaško
Analyst   Nikola Buzadžić

Past squadsEdit

StatisticsEdit

ManagersEdit

The following table provides a summary of the complete record of each Croatia manager including their results regarding European Under-21 Championship.

Key: Pld–games played, W–games won, D–games drawn; L–games lost, %–win percentage
 
Bilić is one of two former U-21 managers who later coached Croatia's senior team
Manager Croatia tenure Pld W D L Win % Major competitions
  Martin Novoselac 1994–1996
2000–2004
  1996 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2002 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2004 European Championship – Group stage
  Ivo Šušak 1997–2000
2011–2013
  1998 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2000 European Championship – Group stage
  2013 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  Slaven Bilić 2004–2006 20 11 3 6 055.0   2006 European Championship – Play-offs
  Aljoša Asanović (c) 2005 1 0 0 1 000.0   2006 European Championship – Failed to qualify[1]
  Ivica Grnja (c) 2005 1 0 0 1 000.0   2006 European Championship – Failed to qualify[2]
  Marijan Brnčić (c)[3] 2005 1 0 1 0 000.0
  Dražen Ladić 2006–2011 32 20 6 6 062.50   2007 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2009 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2011 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  Niko Kovač 2013 7 5 0 2 071.4
  Nenad Gračan 2013–2019 41 21 9 11 051.2   2015 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2017 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2019 European Championship – Group stage
  Igor Bišćan 2019– 8 6 1 1 075.0
Totals

Last updated: Greece vs Croatia, 13 October 2020. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.

Most capped playersEdit

 
Before joining the senior team Vida played 19 matches for the U-21 team
# Name Croatia career Caps Goals
1 Tomislav Vranjić 2002–2005 26 0
2 Tomislav Bušić 2005–2008 25 12
3 Luka Ivanušec 2017– 23 8
4 Josip Tadić 2005–2008 22 5
5 Ivan Leko 1994–2000 21 5
Mato Jajalo 2007–2010 21 4
7 Tomo Šokota 1997–2000 19 10
Nikola Vlašić 2015–2019 19 7
Dejan Lovren 2007–2010 19 3
Davor Vugrinec 1994–1997 19 3
Mario Lučić 2002–2004 19 2
Domagoj Vida 2007–2010 19 2
Dario Smoje 1997–2000 19 1
Mario Carević 2001–2004 19 0
Luka Vučko 2004–2006 19 0

Last updated: Greece vs. Croatia, 13 October 2020.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

Top goalscorersEdit

 
Brozović scored 7 goals for the U-21 team before he was promoted to the senior team
# Name Croatia career Goals Caps
1 Tomislav Bušić 2005–2008 12 25
2 Tomo Šokota 1997–2000 10 19
3 Josip Brekalo 2016– 9 17
4 Stipe Perica 2013–2016 8 12
Eduardo da Silva 2004–2005 8 12
Luka Ivanušec 2017– 8 23
7 Marcelo Brozović 2011–2014 7 13
Nikola Vlašić 2015–2019 7 19
9 Ante Rukavina 2007–2008 6 9
Sandro Kulenović 2019– 6 12
Mario Pašalić 2014–2016 6 14
Mihael Mikić 1999–2001 6 15

Last updated: Greece vs. Croatia, 13 October 2020.

Source: Croatian Football Federation

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ He coached the U-21 team during the first play-off to 2006 European Championship lost 1:3 to Serbia HNS: Serbia-Croatia 3:1, 2005
  2. ^ He coached the U-21 team during the second play-off to 2006 European Championship lost 1:2 to Serbia HNS: Croatia-Serbia 1:2, 2005
  3. ^ As a temporary manager he coached the U-21 team during the friendly 1:1 draw against Italy HNS: Croatia-Italy 1:1, 2005

External linksEdit