Croatia national under-21 football team

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Croatia Under-21
Nickname(s) Mladi Vatreni ("The Young Blazers")
Association Croatian Football Federation
Head coach Nenad Gračan
Most caps Tomislav Bušić (29)
Top scorer Tomislav Bušić (13)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Croatia Croatia 0–0 Italy Italy
13 February 1993, friendly
Biggest win
Croatia Croatia 6–1 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Osijek, 5 September 1997, qual. EC
Biggest defeat
Spain Spain 6–0 Croatia Croatia
Alicante, 10 September 2012, qual. EC
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances 2 (First in 2000)
Best result Group stage (2000, 2004)

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.

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 history[edit]

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.

UEFA U-21 Championship record[edit]

UEFA U-21 Championship record UEFA U-21 Championship Qualification record Manager
Year Round Pld W D L GF GA GD Pld W D L GF GA GD
Spain 1996 Did not qualify 10 5 2 3 13 12 +1 Martin Novoselac
Romania 1998 8 4 0 4 13 9 +4 Ivo Šušak
Slovakia 2000 Group stage 3 0 1 2 4 6 −2 10 7 2 1 28 9 +19 Ivo Šušak
Switzerland 2002 Did not qualify 8 3 4 1 10 7 +3 Martin Novoselac
Germany 2004 Group stage 3 0 1 2 3 5 −2 8 4 2 2 11 5 +6 Martin Novoselac
Portugal 2006 Did not qualify 12 8 1 3 16 11 +5 Slaven Bilić
Netherlands 2007 2 0 0 2 2 4 −2 Dražen Ladić
Sweden 2009 10 7 1 2 20 12 +8 Dražen Ladić
Denmark 2011 10 5 2 3 18 15 +3 Dražen Ladić
Israel 2013 8 2 1 5 7 16 −9 Ivo Šušak
Czech Republic 2015 10 6 1 3 22 9 +13 Niko Kovač; Nenad Gračan
Total 2/11 6 0 2 4 7 11 −4 96 51 16 29 160 109 +51

Current squad[edit]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Dominik Livaković (1995-01-09) 9 January 1995 (age 21) Croatia Zagreb
1GK Marko Mikulić (1994-01-30) 30 January 1994 (age 22) Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
1GK Josip Posavec (1996-03-10) 10 March 1996 (age 19) Croatia Inter Zaprešić
2DF Karlo Bartolec (1995-04-20) 20 April 1995 (age 20) Croatia Lokomotiva
2DF Antonio Milić (1994-03-10) 10 March 1994 (age 21) Belgium Oostende
2DF Jozo Šimunović (1994-08-04) 4 August 1994 (age 21) Scotland Celtic
2DF Denis Kolinger (1994-01-04) 4 January 1994 (age 22) Croatia Zagreb
2DF Filip Benković (1997-06-13) 13 June 1997 (age 18) Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
2DF Luka Capan (1995-04-06) 6 April 1995 (age 20) Croatia Lokomotiva
2DF Dino Mikanović (1994-05-07) 7 May 1994 (age 21) Denmark Aarhus
2DF Duje Ćaleta-Car (1996-09-17) 17 September 1996 (age 19) Austria Red Bull Salzburg
2DF Frane Ikić (1994-06-19) 19 June 1994 (age 21) Croatia Rijeka
3MF Josip Radošević (1994-04-03) 3 April 1994 (age 21) Spain Eibar
3MF Marko Rog (1995-07-19) 19 July 1995 (age 20) Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
3MF Filip Krovinović (1995-08-29) 29 August 1995 (age 20) Portugal Rio Ave
3MF Marko Kolar (1995-07-31) 31 July 1995 (age 20) Croatia Lokomotiva
3MF Mario Pašalić (captain) (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 (age 21) France Monaco
3MF Nikola Vlašić (1997-10-04) 4 October 1997 (age 18) Croatia Hajduk Split
3MF Andrija Balić (1997-08-11) 11 August 1997 (age 18) Italy Udinese
3MF Ante Ćorić (1997-04-14) 14 April 1997 (age 18) Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
3MF Mateo Kovačić (1994-05-06) 6 May 1994 (age 21) Spain Real Madrid
3MF Petar Brlek (1994-01-24) 24 January 1994 (age 22) Croatia Slaven Belupo
3MF Alen Halilović (1996-06-18) 18 June 1996 (age 19) Spain Sporting Gijón
3MF Mirko Marić (1995-05-16) 16 May 1995 (age 20) Croatia Lokomotiva
3MF Josip Mišić (1994-06-28) 28 June 1994 (age 21) Italy Spezia
3MF Ante Roguljić (1996-03-11) 11 March 1996 (age 19) Croatia Hajduk Split
3MF Ivan Fiolić (1996-04-29) 29 April 1996 (age 19) Croatia Lokomotiva
3MF Bernardo Matić (1994-05-27) 27 May 1994 (age 21) Croatia Zagreb
4FW Tomislav Kiš (1994-04-04) 4 April 1994 (age 21) Belgium Kortrijk
4FW Stipe Perica (1995-07-07) 7 July 1995 (age 20) Italy Udinese
4FW Marko Dugandžić (1994-04-07) 7 April 1994 (age 21) Italy Ternana

Past squads[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]