Croatia U-21 Side Secures Spot at 2021 European Championship!

By 18 November 2020
Croatia U-21 Side Secures Spot at 2021 European Championship!

November 18, 2020 - After a turbulent but successful journey through the qualifications, the Croatia U-21 side will play at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship!

After a huge victory against Lithuania in Pula (7:0) and Greece’s victory against Scotland (1:0), the young Vatreni won second place in the qualifying Group 4 for the European Championship, and the results in other groups allowed them to place among the five the best runners-up.

Before the final round, Croatia was in a difficult, almost hopeless situation. After they played 2:2 in Scotland and the Czech Republic defeated Greece, it was clear that Croatia lost their chances for first place.

The only hope for qualifying for the Euros was to get through among the top five runners-up. However, coach Igor Bišćan's side did not depend only on themselves, but on other matches' outcome.

In the end, it all came together.

First of all, Croatia had to beat Lithuania in Pula with three or four goals to have the best possible goal differential.

Although Croatia played without Adrian Šemper, Joško Guardiola, Borna Sosa, Darko Nejašmić, Sandra Kulenović, Lovro Majer, David Čolina, and Bartol Franjić, they still beat Lithuania 7:0.

Croatia also needed a victory for Greece in Athens against direct rival Scotland, who needed a victory to win first place in the group. Greece celebrated 1:0, thus pushing Croatia to second and Scotland to third.

With the victory in Pula and Scotland's defeat, Croatia won second place in the group behind the Czech Republic but had to wait for the outcome in other groups to find out if it will be one of the five best second-placed national teams.

Among the five were certainly Portugal and Switzerland, and almost certainly Iceland, whose match against Armenia was canceled.

Croatia, Belgium, Romania, and Poland fought for the remaining two places. With a convincing victory against Lithuania, Croatia overtook Poland, but they still needed a Belgium mistake against Bosnia and Herzegovina or Romania against Denmark.

Croatia was helped by the young BiH team, who beat Belgium 3:2 in a great match in Sarajevo.

Croatia will thus play in the group stage from March 24 to 31, 2021, and if they pass the group, they will play in the second round of the European Championship from May 31 to June 6, 2021.

Croatia played at the European Championship in 2000 and 2004, and at the last edition in 2019, in Italy and San Marino.

In addition to the hosts Hungary and Slovenia, the national teams of Croatia, Russia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, England, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and the Czech Republic, which took first place in Group 4, have so far won visas for the European Championship.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.