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.
|Nickname(s)||Mladi Vatreni (The Young Blazers)|
|Association||Croatian Football Federation|
|Head coach||Nenad Gračan|
|Most caps||Tomislav Vranjić (26)|
|Top scorer||Tomislav Bušić (12)|
| Croatia 0–0 Italy |
13 February 1993
| Croatia 6–1 Bosnia and Herzegovina |
Osijek, 5 September 1997
| Spain 6–0 Croatia |
Alicante, 10 September 2012
|UEFA U-21 Championship|
|Appearances||3 (first in 2000)|
|Best result||Group 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.
- 1 Competition history
- 2 Recent results
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Current squad
- 5 Statistics
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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|
|1996||Did not qualify||4/6||10||5||2||3||13||12||Martin Novoselac|
|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|
|2015||1/5OFF||10||6||1||3||22||9||Niko Kovač / Nenad Gračan|
|2019||Group stage||4/4||3||0||1||2||4||8||Squad||1/6||10||8||1||1||31||5||Nenad Gračan|
- OFF = Lost in play-offs.
2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualificationEdit
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
- Head-to-head results: Greece 1–1 Croatia, Croatia 2–0 Greece.
|23 March 2018 2019 Euro U-21 qualification||Czech Republic||2–1||Croatia||Karvina, Czech Republic|
|Ćaleta-Car 62'||Stadium: Metsky Stadium|
|27 March 2018 2019 Euro U-21 qualification||Croatia||4–0||Moldova||Velika Gorica, Croatia|
|Vlašić 35', 50'
|Stadium: Stadion Radnik|
|10 September 2018 2019 Euro U-21 qualification||Belarus||0–4||Croatia||Grodno, Belarus|
|12 October 2018 2019 Euro U-21 qualification||Croatia||2–0||Greece||Pula, Croatia|
|Pasalidis 41' (o.g.)
|Stadium: Aldo Drosina|
|15 October 2018 2019 Euro U-21 qualification||San Marino||0–4||Croatia||Serravalle, San Marino|
|Stadium: San Marino|
|15 November 2018 Friendly||France||2–2||Croatia||Beauvais, France|
|25 March 2019 Friendly||Italy||2–2||Croatia||Frosinone, Italy|
|Stadium: Stadio Benito Stirpe|
|18 June 2019 2019 UEFA Euro U21||Romania||4–1||Croatia||Serravalle, San Marino|
|18:30||Pușcaș 11' (pen.)
|Report||Vlašić 18'||Stadium: San Marino|
Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland)
|21 June 2019 2019 UEFA Euro U21||France||1–0||Croatia||Serravalle, San Marino|
|21:00||Dembélé 8'||Report||Stadium: San Marino|
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (Netherlands)
Current technical staffEdit
|Head coach||Nenad Gračan|
|Assistant coach||Daniel Šarić|
|Goalkeeping coach||Hrvoje Sunara|
|Fitness coach||Davor Lješević|
|Technical director||Josip Tomaško|
Players born in on or after 1 January 1996 are eligible for the next UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
The following 23 players are the official squad for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.Caps, goals and numbers correct as of June 18th 2019 after the match against Romania.
Statistics include official FIFA-recognized matches only.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Ivo Grbić||18 January 1996||4||0||Lokomotiva|
|12||GK||Josip Posavec||10 March 1996||15||0||Hajduk Split|
|23||GK||Adrian Šemper||12 January 1998||1||0||Chievo Verona|
|3||DF||Borna Sosa||21 January 1998||12||0||Vfb Stuttgart|
|6||DF||Filip Benković||13 July 1997||3||0||Celtic|
|2||DF||Filip Uremović||11 February 1997||7||2||Rubin Kazan|
|5||DF||Nikola Katić||10 October 1996||5||0||Rangers|
|21||DF||Domagoj Bradarić||10 December 1999||4||0||Hajduk Split|
|15||DF||Branimir Kalaica||1 June 1998||2||1||Benfica|
|16||DF||Toni Borevković||18 June 1997||2||0||Rio Ave|
|22||DF||Marijan Čabraja||25 February 1997||2||0||Gorica|
|8||MF||Nikola Vlašić||4 October 1997||17||6||CSKA Moscow|
|4||MF||Ivan Šunjić||9 October 1996||14||1||Birmingham City|
|11||MF||Luka Ivanušec||26 November 1998||11||0||Lokomotiva|
|17||MF||Toma Bašić||25 November 1996||8||2||Bordeaux|
|14||MF||Kristijan Bistrović||9 April 1998||2||0||CSKA Moscow|
|20||MF||Nikola Moro||12 March 1998||9||1||Dinamo Zagreb|
|13||MF||Lovro Majer||17 January 1998||6||0||Dinamo Zagreb|
|10||FW||Alen Halilović (Captain)||18 June 1996||16||4||Standard Liege|
|7||FW||Josip Brekalo||23 June 1998||14||7||VfL Wolfsburg|
|19||FW||Sandro Kulenović||4 December 1999||2||0||Legia Warsaw|
|18||FW||Robert Murić||12 March 1996||3||0||Rijeka|
|9||FW||Marin Jakoliš||26 December 1996||14||5||Admira Wacker|
The following players have also been called up to the Croatia U-21 squad since the beginning of 2018 and are still eligible for selection.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|DF||Duje Ćaleta-Car||17 September 1996||17||3||Marseille||v. Denmark, 12 June 2019|
|DF||Marin Pongračić||11 September 1997||3||0||Red Bull Salzburg||v. France, 15 November 2018|
|DF||Luka Bogdan||26 March 1996||0||0||Livorno||v. Italy, 25 March 2019|
|DF||Petar Bosančić||19 April 1996||0||0||Istra 1961||v. Italy, 25 March 2019|
|DF||Petar Mamić||6 March 1996||4||0||Rijeka||v. Denmark, 12 June 2019|
|MF||Andrija Balić||11 August 1997||10||0||Fortuna Sittard||v. France, 15 November 2018|
|MF||Ivan Fiolić||29 April 1996||4||0||KRC Genk||v. France, 15 November 2018|
|MF||Luka Hujber||16 June 1999||0||0||Lokomotiva||v. France, 15 November 2018|
|FW||Matko Babić||28 July 1998||4||0||Lokomotiva||v. France, 15 November 2018|
|FW||Bruno Bogojević||28 June 1998||0||0||Slaven Belupo||v. Italy, 25 March 2019|
- BOLDED = Players who have already played in the senior team.
- INJ = Not part of the current squad due to injury.
- WD = Withdrew from the current squad due to injury.
- RET = Retired before the latest call-up but still eligible for selection.
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
|Manager||Croatia tenure||Pld||W||D||L||Win %||Major competitions|
| 1996 European Championship – Failed to qualify|
2002 European Championship – Failed to qualify
2004 European Championship – Group stage
| 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||55.0||2006 European Championship – Play-offs|
|Aljoša Asanović (c)||2005||1||0||0||1||0.0||2006 European Championship – Failed to qualify|
|Ivica Grnja (c)||2005||1||0||0||1||0.0||2006 European Championship – Failed to qualify|
|Marijan Brnčić (c)||2005||1||0||1||0||0.0||—|
|Dražen Ladić||2006–2011||32||20||6||6||62.50|| 2007 European Championship – Failed to qualify|
2009 European Championship – Failed to qualify
2011 European Championship – Failed to qualify
|Nenad Gračan||2013–||38||20||9||9||52.6|| 2015 European Championship – Failed to qualify|
2017 European Championship – Failed to qualify
2019 European Championship – Group stage
Last updated: Greece vs Croatia, 13 November 2017. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.
Last updated: England vs Croatia, 24 June 2019. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.
|Eduardo da Silva||2004–2005||8||12|
- "Hrvatska U-21" [Croatia U-21] (in Croatian). HNS. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- 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
- 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
- As a temporary manager he coached the U-21 team during the friendly 1:1 draw against Italy HNS: Croatia-Italy 1:1, 2005
- "U-21 team". Croatian Football Federation. Retrieved 17 August 2016.