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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 coachNenad Gračan
CaptainAlen Halilović
Most capsTomislav Vranjić (26)
Top scorerTomislav Bušić (12)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Croatia 0–0 Italy 
13 February 1993
Biggest win
 Croatia 6–1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Osijek, 5 September 1997
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
Total Group stage 9 0 3 6 11 19 111 65 20 32 215 128
Notes
  • OFF = Lost in play-offs.

2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualificationEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification            
1   Croatia 10 8 1 1 31 5 +26 25[a] Final tournament 2–0 5–1 2–1 4–0 5–0
2   Greece 10 8 1 1 26 5 +21 25[a] Play-offs 1–1 3–0 2–0 5–1 4–0
3   Czech Republic 10 5 1 4 14 15 −1 16 2–1 1–2 1–1 1–0 3–1
4   Belarus 10 4 2 4 11 14 −3 14 0–4 0–2 1–0 3–1 1–0
5   Moldova 10 2 1 7 8 23 −15 7 0–3 0–2 1–3 2–2 1–0
6   San Marino 10 0 0 10 1 29 −28 0 0–4 0–5 0–2 0–2 0–2
Updated to match(es) played on unknown. Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ a b Head-to-head results: Greece 1–1 Croatia, Croatia 2–0 Greece.

Recent resultsEdit

2018–19Edit

PersonnelEdit

Current technical staffEdit

Position Name
Head coach   Nenad Gračan
Assistant coach   Daniel Šarić
Goalkeeping coach   Hrvoje Sunara
Fitness coach   Davor Lješević
Technical director   Josip Tomaško

Current squadEdit

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.[1]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 1GK Ivo Grbić (1996-01-18) 18 January 1996 (age 23) 4 0   Lokomotiva
12 1GK Josip Posavec (1996-03-10) 10 March 1996 (age 23) 15 0   Hajduk Split
23 1GK Adrian Šemper (1998-01-12) 12 January 1998 (age 21) 1 0   Chievo Verona

3 2DF Borna Sosa (1998-01-21) 21 January 1998 (age 21) 12 0   Vfb Stuttgart
6 2DF Filip Benković (1997-07-13) 13 July 1997 (age 22) 3 0   Celtic
2 2DF Filip Uremović (1997-02-11) 11 February 1997 (age 22) 7 2   Rubin Kazan
5 2DF Nikola Katić (1996-10-10) 10 October 1996 (age 22) 5 0   Rangers
21 2DF Domagoj Bradarić (1999-12-10) 10 December 1999 (age 19) 4 0   Hajduk Split
15 2DF Branimir Kalaica (1998-06-01) 1 June 1998 (age 21) 2 1   Benfica
16 2DF Toni Borevković (1997-06-18) 18 June 1997 (age 22) 2 0   Rio Ave
22 2DF Marijan Čabraja (1997-02-25) 25 February 1997 (age 22) 2 0   Gorica

8 3MF Nikola Vlašić (1997-10-04) 4 October 1997 (age 21) 17 6   CSKA Moscow
4 3MF Ivan Šunjić (1996-10-09) 9 October 1996 (age 22) 14 1   Birmingham City
11 3MF Luka Ivanušec (1998-11-26) 26 November 1998 (age 20) 11 0   Lokomotiva
17 3MF Toma Bašić (1996-11-25) 25 November 1996 (age 22) 8 2   Bordeaux
14 3MF Kristijan Bistrović (1998-04-09) 9 April 1998 (age 21) 2 0   CSKA Moscow
20 3MF Nikola Moro (1998-03-12) 12 March 1998 (age 21) 9 1   Dinamo Zagreb
13 3MF Lovro Majer (1998-01-17) 17 January 1998 (age 21) 6 0   Dinamo Zagreb

10 4FW Alen Halilović (Captain) (1996-06-18) 18 June 1996 (age 23) 16 4   Standard Liege
7 4FW Josip Brekalo (1998-06-23) 23 June 1998 (age 21) 14 7   VfL Wolfsburg
19 4FW Sandro Kulenović (1999-12-04) 4 December 1999 (age 19) 2 0   Legia Warsaw
18 4FW Robert Murić (1996-03-12) 12 March 1996 (age 23) 3 0   Rijeka
9 4FW Marin Jakoliš (1996-12-26) 26 December 1996 (age 22) 14 5   Admira Wacker

Recent call-upsEdit

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.[1]

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

DF Duje Ćaleta-Car (1996-09-17) 17 September 1996 (age 23) 17 3   Marseille v.   Denmark, 12 June 2019
DF Marin Pongračić (1997-09-11) 11 September 1997 (age 22) 3 0   Red Bull Salzburg v.   France, 15 November 2018
DF Luka Bogdan (1996-03-26) 26 March 1996 (age 23) 0 0   Livorno v.   Italy, 25 March 2019
DF Petar Bosančić (1996-04-19) 19 April 1996 (age 23) 0 0   Istra 1961 v.   Italy, 25 March 2019

DF Petar Mamić (1996-03-06) 6 March 1996 (age 23) 4 0   Rijeka v.   Denmark, 12 June 2019
MF Andrija Balić (1997-08-11) 11 August 1997 (age 22) 10 0   Fortuna Sittard v.   France, 15 November 2018
MF Ivan Fiolić (1996-04-29) 29 April 1996 (age 23) 4 0   KRC Genk v.   France, 15 November 2018
MF Luka Hujber (1999-06-16) 16 June 1999 (age 20) 0 0   Lokomotiva v.   France, 15 November 2018

FW Matko Babić (1998-07-28) 28 July 1998 (age 21) 4 0   Lokomotiva v.   France, 15 November 2018
FW Bruno Bogojević (1998-06-28) 28 June 1998 (age 21) 0 0   Slaven Belupo v.   Italy, 25 March 2019
Notes
  • 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.

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[2]
  Ivica Grnja (c) 2005 1 0 0 1 000.0   2006 European Championship – Failed to qualify[3]
  Marijan Brnčić (c)[4] 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– 38 20 9 9 052.6   2015 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2017 European Championship – Failed to qualify
  2019 European Championship – Group stage
Totals

Last updated: Greece vs Croatia, 13 November 2017. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.

Most appearancesEdit

 
Before joining the senior team Vida played 19 matches for the U-21 team
# Name Croatia career Caps Goals Ref.
1 Tomislav Vranjić 2002–2005 26 0 [5]
2 Tomislav Bušić 2005–2008 25 12
3 Josip Tadić 2005–2008 22 5
4 Ivan Leko 1994–2000 21 5
Mato Jajalo 2007–2010 21 4
6 Tomo Šokota 1997–2000 19 10
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: England vs Croatia, 24 June 2019. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.

Top goalscorersEdit

 
Brozović scored 7 goals for the U-21 team before he was promoted to the senior team
# Name Croatia career Goals Caps Ref.
1 Tomislav Bušić 2005–2008 12 25 [5]
2 Tomo Šokota 1997–2000 10 19
3 Josip Brekalo 2016–present 9 16
4 Stipe Perica 2013–2016 8 12
Eduardo da Silva 2004–2005 8 12
6 Marcelo Brozović 2011–2014 7 13
Nikola Vlašić 2015–2019 7 18
8 Ante Rukavina 2007–2008 6 9
Mario Pašalić 2014–2016 6 14
Mihael Mikić 1999–2001 6 15

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Hrvatska U-21" [Croatia U-21] (in Croatian). HNS. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ As a temporary manager he coached the U-21 team during the friendly 1:1 draw against Italy HNS: Croatia-Italy 1:1, 2005
  5. ^ a b "U-21 team". Croatian Football Federation. Retrieved 17 August 2016.

External linksEdit