Prior to 1990 Croatian players played for the Yugoslavia Under-18 team. Although the Croatian team was formed in the early 1990s after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Under-18 team had to wait for UEFA to officially accept Croatian Football Federation's membership bid in order to be included in UEFA-governed competitions. Croatia's membership was accepted in June 1993 and the first continental competition Croatia under-18 team took part in was the qualification for 1994 European Under-18 Championship. In 2001 UEFA changed the player eligibility dates and from 2002 onwards the continental championship is known as UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. The tournament is held every year and serves as the qualifying tournament for FIFA U-20 World Cup which is held every two years.
As of 2009, Croatia Under-18/19 team managed to qualify for European championship on two occasions (in 1998 and 2000). In 1998 they won third place which earned them a place at the 1999 U-20 World Cup, their only U-20 World Cup appearance up to date (after finishing second in their group and reaching Round of 16, they were knocked out of the tournament after a 0–4 defeat against Brazil). Croatia's best scorer was Zvonimir Deranja with two goals, and the team won the FIFA Fair Play Award.