Tuesday, 29 March 2022

U21 Euro Qualifiers: Finland Gives Croatia First Defeat in Varaždin

March 29, 2022 - The young Croatia national team recorded their first defeat in the U21 Euro qualifiers on Tuesday, losing 2-3 to Finland in Varaždin. 

The U21 Croatia national football team recorded its first defeat in Group A of the Euro qualifiers. Finland celebrated 3-2 in Varaždin. 

Already after the first half, Finland shocked Croatia with three goals, with their hero being Naatan Skyttae. Finland took the lead in the 11th minute when Croatia goalkeeper Kotarski made a mistake, and Skyttae scored for 1-0.

The same player increased Finland's lead to 2-0 in the 29th minute, while he also assisted during stoppage time for Ablade to make it 3-0 for Finland at the half.

Croatia showed almost nothing in the first 45 minutes, while they played visibly better in the second half. In the 68th minute, Roko Šimić failed to score a penalty which was saved by the Finland goalkeeper Sinisalo, though not all hope was lost. Only two minutes later, Josip Šutalo scored a close-range header for 1-3.

The young Croatia side pressed until the end and found new hope in the 87th minute when Toni Fruk shot from the top of the penalty area and reduced the score to 2-3. But by the end, the result had not changed. Thus, after six victories, the Croatia U21 side recorded a draw (Austria 0-0) and a defeat (Finland 2-3) in the last week during the U21 Euro qualifiers. 

Fortunately, Igor Bišćan's team received good news from the Austria-Norway match, with Austria winning 2-1. Croatia thus kept a four-point advantage over Norway, while Austria has three points more than Norway in second place, but also a game less.

Croatia will still play against Norway (June 3) and Estonia (June 8). Only the winner of the group will qualify directly for the 2023 Euros.

European Championship Qualifiers, U21 (Group A):

Standings

1. Croatia 8 6 1 1 19-7 19
2. Austria 9 5 1 3 20-10 16
3. Norway 7 5 0 2 19-7 15
4. Finland 7 4 1 2 12-9 13
5. Azerbaijan 7 1 1 5 6-19 4
6. Estonia 8 0 0 8 0-23 0

Source: HRT

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Croatia U21s Undefeated in Euro 2023 Qualifiers after Beating Austria 3:1

November 16, 2021 - More good news for Croatian football with the Croatia U21s undefeated in the Euro 2023 qualifiers so far, this time beating Austria away 3:1.

The young Croatia national football team continued their Euro 2023 qualifiers against Austria on Monday - and with an away win, Croatia has recorded its sixth victory in the same number of matches in the European Championship qualifiers. Igor Bišćan's team defeated Austria 3:1 (0:2) in a Croatia-fan-dominated Ried. Lukas Kačavenda, Bartol Franjić, and Luka Sučić scored for Croatia, while Romano Schmid scored for Austria. 

Croatia was dangerous already in the 10th minute when Marin found Boško Šutalo with a corner kick on the near post, though the ball was sent over the goal. Austria retaliated two minutes later when Demir fired a free kick from more than 20 meters, but Kotarski was solid in the defense. 

Kačavenda put Croatia in the lead in the 14th minute with an excellent goal. The Lokomotiva striker nailed the upper right corner from 20 meters.

Austria came close to equalizing in the 17th and 21st minutes. 

Croatia crowned a better game in the first half with another goal. In the 41st minute, Sučić sent the ball far post from a free kick. Captain Franjić's shot bounced off the goal and crossed the goal line before Hedl managed to control it.

At the beginning of the second half, Croatia increased its advantage after Marin was knocked down on the edge of the penalty area. Sučić scored for 3:0. 

Austria threatened Croatia often in the last half hour. Austria finally got a goal in the 67th minute when Schmid scored a precise shot from 20 meters, similar to Kačavenda's goal in the first half.

In the second game in this group played on Tuesday, Norway defeated Azerbaijan 2:1 away. Croatia now has 18 points, Norway is second with 15, and Austria third with 12 and a game more.

Croatia thus stays at the top of the group with a three-point advantage over Norway. Their qualifying journey will continue at the end of March next year when they will compete against Austria and Finland at home.

Nine group winners and the best second-placed team will qualify for the European Championships, while the remaining eight runners-up will advance to additional qualifications.

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

Friday, 8 October 2021

Euro 2023 Qualifiers: Croatia U21s Top Norway in Varaždin!

October 8, 2021 - In the third round of the Euro 2023 qualifiers, the Croatia U21 side topped Norway 3:2 in Varaždin, recording their third win in 3 rounds! 

In its third appearance in Group A of the 2023 European Championship qualifications, the Croatia U21 football team met Norway in Varaždin.

After two rounds, the Croatia side collected all six points, just like Norway. The young Croatia team thus achieved its third victory, defeating Norway 3-2 (2-0) in Varaždin on Friday. 

Lineups: 
Croatia: Pandur, B.Šutalo, Soldo, Vušković, Čolina, Palaversa, Sučić, J.Šutalo, Marin, Šimić, Kačavenda

Norway: Klaesson, Sebulonsen, Heggheim, Daland, Ostrom, Larsen, Askildsen, Hove, Evjen, Botheim, Holm

Croatia led 1:0 already in the 2nd minute with a goal by Roko Simic after a free kick taken by Luka Sučić. 

Croatia increased their lead to 2:0 thanks to Luka Sučić, assisted by Ante Palaversa. 

Norway looked powerless and without opportunities for most of the first half, without real chances until just before the halftime whistle. 

The second half started with changes in Norway's lineup - coach Leif Gunnar Smerud sent Emil Konradsen Ceide and Tobias Christensen on for Robin Dahl Ostrom and Hakon Evjen.

Norway scored for 2:1 in the 55th minute, before Vušković made it 3:1 two minutes later!

And the madness didn't stop there - Norway came back for 3:2 in the 58th minute, making it three goals in 3 minutes! 

Norway increased their pressure on Croatia's defense, especially in the final minute of the match. Three minutes of injury time were added by the referee, in which Norway was unable to equalize. 

Croatia thus recorded their 3rd win in 3 games in this qualification cycle! Croatia currently leads the group with a maximum of nine points, Norway and Austria have six, followed by Finland with three points, and Azerbaijan and Estonia without points.

In four days, Croatia will play away against Azerbaijan in Sumgayit.

All nine group winners and the best runners-up will qualify, while the remaining eight runners-up will advance to additional qualifications.

The 2023 European Championship will be played in Georgia and Romania. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from March 29 to April 4, 2021

April 4, 2021 - From new epidemiological measures imposed due to the increase in COVID-19 infections to the arrival of Ryanair, here are TCN's five highlights of the week, recapping the big events in Croatia from March 29 to April 4, 2021.

At the end of March, the fight against the pandemic was in its final stages, taking into account the government's efforts to promote the return of the tourist season, the reopening of business in the country, and the announcement of mass vaccinations in Zagreb after Easter. Despite this, the novel coronavirus has once again warned that its presence continues to threaten the population, and this has since manifested in the increase in cases across the country. On the other hand, sporting and cultural events have also stood out as we entered a new month this week.

Croatia U-21 reaches the EURO Tournament Quarterfinals

The eyes were not only all firmly on the senior team, who, after starting the qualifying process with an away loss against Slovenia, got back on track with six points against Cyprus and Malta in Rijeka. Luka Modric also became the most capped player in the history of the Croatian National Team.

Some good news also came for those who follow the younger generations, as the U-21 team won their ticket to the quarter-finals of the EURO tournament in a dramatic fashion. Those led by Igor Biscan failed to win the match, but a Bradaric goal in injury time allowed Croatia to climb to second place, thanks to the other teams' results and goal difference. 

Now, the little Vatreni will have to face Spain on May 31.

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Koper, Slovenia (Credit: PIXSELL)

Ryanair announces flights to Croatia

After several years in which the Zagreb International Airport was in deficit in terms of both airlines and low-cost flights, it finally reached an agreement with the well-known Irish low-cost company Ryanair. This agreement was announced through a virtual press conference, in which it was detailed that the capital of Croatia will now be connected to European cities such as Paris, Brussels, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Memmingen, Milan, Rome, Podgorica, Oslo, Gothenburg, and London.

Zagreb wasn't the only city to rejoice with this news, as the airline also confirmed 17 new flights to Zadar International Airport in a separate conference, and passengers will be able to choose from a wide variety of European destinations from July 2021. While many still believe this news might affect the future of Croatia Airlines, others including the company itself assure that the regional base establishment of the popular airline in Zagreb will not only create more jobs but also transform the capital's tourism.

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Credits: Pixabay

The Prime Minister reveals the National Recovery Plan

After a cabinet meeting which was held last Thursday, PM Andrej Plenkovic announced through a press conference all the details surrounding the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which aims to reform and transform the country in regard to several different issues such as healthcare, employment, education, science and research, infrastructure, and more. The estimated investment would stand at 18 million kuna and the objective is to carry out these reforms within five years, more precisely between 2021 and 2026.

Plenkovic added that the plan consists of modernising scientific research and educational systems, increasing the quality of the healthcare and pension systems, improving employability through a more efficient programme, and carrying out the reconstruction and structural renovation of numerous homes and buildings in the country, in such a way that they are not only better prepared in case of natural disasters, but that they're also more adapted to the most recent demands for energy efficiency.

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Zagreb (Credits: PIXSELL)

The traditional Za Krizen Procession was held on Jelsa

Despite the reduced capacity of followers and pilgrims this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the island of Hvar celebrated its 2021 edition of its traditional Za Krizen (Behind the Cross) procession in the town of Jelsa, inscribed as intangible UNESCO heritage since 2009. TCN covered an event that usually gathers thousands of people around the island as they follow the carriers, but this year had to settle with only the participants and few witnesses in the streets.

The overnight processions were held in the towns of Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj, and Vrboska. The event started simultaneously in the six towns at 22:00 pm as the habitants have done for centuries, and ended at the main square.

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Jelsa (Credit: PIXSELL)

The measures against COVID-19 are tightened due to the large increase in cases

A month ago, all the cafes, bars, and restaurants in the country were reopened, after many weeks without serving their loyal customers, as an extreme measure to combat the virus. The condition was to serve only outdoors on the terraces and with a limited capacity. The streets were filled with life and joy again. However, one month later, the numbers have dramatically increased and although it is unlikely that a complete lockdown will be imposed again, the government has announced that new measures will take place in order to reduce the infections and it will last until 15 April, before being reviewed again.

In Split-Dalmatia County, for instance, which has seen a big increase in new infections, the mandatory wearing of face masks at outdoor venues with an increased flow of people will be introduced, as will a ban on the sale of alcohol from 8 pm to 6 am. The work of cafes will be restricted until 8 pm, and it will be possible to serve food and drinks only in the open. Foreign language schools will switch to online classes again.

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Split (Credit: PIXSELL)

From Monday to Sunday, we list five events featured on the front pages of Croatia's news portals.

To follow all news from Croatia, subscribe to our newsletter.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Brilliant Croatia in U-21 EURO Quarterfinals after Dramatic Match Against England!

March 31, 2021 - Croatia will play in the U-21 EURO quarterfinals! 

The Croatia U-21 national team played a key match against England in Group D of the European Championship in Koper on Wednesday. 

With a Portugal win against Switzerland and a Croatia loss by no more than one goal, Croatia would advance to the quarterfinal round. They played 1:2 against England for a spot in the quarters against Spain! 

Lineups

Hrvatska: Kotarski - Bradarić, Franjić, Vušković, Šverko - Bistrović, Babec, Moro - Špikić, Vizinger, Ivanušec

Engleska: Ramsdale - Aarons, Tanganga, Wilmot, Kelly - Gallagher, Skipp, Jones - Eze, Nketiah, McNeil

Recap

90' + 1' GOOOAAAL! Fantastic goal by DOMAGOJ BRADARIĆ! The Croatia defender scored an unreal goal from 20 meters for the quarterfinals!!!

90' Five minutes of injury time

87' Zaper is booked

86' Vizinger and Sverko out for Musa and Divkovic 

82' Croatia has been dangerous in a while...

79' Croatia needs one goal, as losing by only one will put them in the quarters 

76' Majer replaced Bistrovic

74' Goal! England is on the verge of the quarterfinals after Jones scored for 2:0. 

72' Nketiah and Gallagher subbed off for Brewster and Cantwell 

71' Opportunity for Croatia! Ivanušec pulled a counter and playd Moro who shot diagonally from the right side desperately far post

66' Portugal has done a great service to Croatia, who now must not lose by two goals to advance to the quarterfinals

65' Bistrovic shot blocked by the defender

64' Portugal takes the 3:0 lead

64' Colina replaced Spikic, and Zaper entered instead of Babec

63' McNeil hit the post from a free-kick. For the second time, the goal frame saved Croatia

60' Portugal up 2:0 against Switzerland! As the result stands now, Croatia advances to the quarterfinals

54'Great opportunity for England! Babec lost the ball, Eze played Nketiahu perfectly who shot straight at Kotarski from the top of the penalty area

53' Jones shot from 20 meters, the ball was blocked and bounced a little over the goal into the corner

50' Kotarski defended Eze's free-kick

49' An opportunity for England! Kotarski desperately received the ball, bounced off his leg towards Eze, but they somehow managed to clear it

46' The second half began

45'+ 3' End of the first half. Croatia entered the game poorly but recovered after conceding the goal and played better. Špikić and Ivanušec had great opportunities, which unfortunately were not goals. The good news is that with the current results, Croatia and Portugal, who is leading against Switzerland 1:0, are going to the quarterfinals

45'+ 3' Bradarić is booked for a handball and received a yellow card for objecting. There was nothing controversial about it

45' Three minutes of injury time

45' Kelly was booked and must now be careful not to get a second yellow 

38' Great chance for England! Jones faked Šverko and shot the opposite corner, but the ball went past the goal

37' Brilliant chance for Croatia! Ivanušec stole the ball from England, rushed towards Ramsdale, but shot at the England goalkeeper 

35' Ivanušec shot from the top of the penalty area, Ramsdale reacted badly, but caught the ball from the second attempt catches the ball.

32' Great opportunity for Croatia! Moro passed on the left side and sent a sharp ball to the box where Špikić shot high over the goal. It was a great chance, Špikić had to react better

28' The good news is that Portugal is still leading against Switzerland

27' Špikić passed nicely on the right and knocked down the England defender 

25' Finally some better play by Croatia, which recovered after receiving the goal

20' Croatia struggled to clear the ball out, England with 61 percent possession 

16' England completely dominated in the minutes that followed 

12' Goal! England takes the lead as Eze routinely scored the penalty for 1:0

11' England awarded a questionable penalty. Nketiah fell in a duel with Babec 

10' Huge opportunity for England! Nketiah shot but Kotarski saved

9' Eze found Jones hitting on the edge of the penalty area but hit the crossbar

9' A good pass from McNeil to Nketiah, but Vuskovic cleared 

4' Portugal took the lead against Switzerland. If Portugal wins, Croatia can lose to England, but not by more than one goal 

Source: Index.hr

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

Sunday, 28 March 2021

U-21 Euros: Croatia Tops Switzerland For First Win in Koper (3:2)

March 28, 2021 - In the second round of the U-21 Euros, Croatia tops Switzerland 3:2 in Koper, Slovenia. 

The Croatia U-21 side played the second round of the European Championship in Koper against Switzerland on Sunday. 

Recall, Croatia lost to Portugal 1-0 in the first round, while Switzerland beat England with the same result. Igor Bišćan's team needed a good result today to stay in the game for the final phase of the competition. In the event of Croatia's defeat and Portugal's victory or draw against England, Croatia will no longer have a chance to pass.

Igor Bišćan made four changes compared to the last game, and instead of Šemper, Vušković, Majer, and Kulenović, he started Kotarski, Babec, Špikić, and Vizinger.

Lineups

Croatia: Kotarski - Šverko, Erlić, Franjić, Bradarić - Babec, Moro, Bistrović - Špikić, Vizinger, Ivanušec

Switzerland: Racioppi - Lotomba, van der Werff, Zesiger, Sidler - Pušić, Sohm, Domgjoni, Toma - Guillemenot, Zeqiri

Recap

The match started with a great opportunity for Switzerland. Zeqiri crossed to Guillemenot whose shot went just past the goal.

But it was Croatia to get ahead first. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Switzerland goalkeeper Racioppi made a weak clearance, Ivanušec capitalized and shot a volley from about 20 meters. Racioppi could not get to the goal line quick enough, and Croatia led 1:0. 

Switzerland was dangerous in Croatia's penalty area, only slightly missing the goal on a few occasions. In the 24th minute, Erlić was unable to continue the match and Bišćan made his first substitution. Vušković entered the pitch. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Guillemenot and Sidler both had chances to equalize for Switzerland, but Kotarski remained solid in goal. Switzerland continued attacking in the final minutes before halftime, but Croatia's defense allowed nothing through. 

The ref added two minutes of injury time, and Croatia led 1:0 at the half. 

The second half started without any changes on either side. 

Moro and Ivanušec had an excellent opportunity to increase Croatia's lead in the 52nd minute, but the Switzerland keeper made two brilliant saves to keep them in the game.

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Slobodan Kadic

Moro, Špikić, and Bistrović combined for another chance which resulted in a corner. 

Croatia was awarded a penalty in the 60th minute, which Nikola Moro scored for 2:0! Not even two minutes later, Vizinger made it 3:0!

Bišćan made changes for the first time in the second half in the 76th minute. Franjić, Moro, and Špikić came out for Krizmanić, Žaper, and Čolina. Moro also suffered an injury, hopefully nothing major. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Switzerland was awarded a penalty in the 78th minute thanks to a Vizinger handball. Imeri scored for 3:1.

Switzerland reduced the result to 3:2 in the 89th minute. Kulenović knocked the ball into Croatia's net.

The match ended 3:2 for Croatia!

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

Friday, 15 January 2021

U-21 Croatia Football Team to Play Euro Group Stage in Koper

January 15, 2021 -  The U-21 Croatia football team will play their group stage matches of the European Under-21 Championship in Koper. 

HNS reports that the European Football Federation (UEFA) has announced the final schedule of the European Under-21 Championship, which will also feature the young Croatia national team.

The U-21 Euros will be played in two parts. The first part, the group competition, is scheduled from March 24 to 31, and the knockout phase will be played from May 31 to June 6.

The young Croatia side will play all matches in Group D in Koper. In the first match on March 25 at 9 pm, they will face Portugal, followed by matches against Switzerland on March 28 (6 pm) and England on March 31 (6 pm).

The two first-placed teams from the group will advance to the knockout phase of the competition. The quarterfinal matches will be played on May 31 in Budapest, Szekesfehervar, Maribor, and Ljubljana, the semifinal on June 3 in Szekesfehervar and Maribor, and the final on June 6 in Ljubljana.

Euro, U-21, Group D match schedule:

March 25:
Koper: CROATIA - PORTUGAL
Koper: ENGLAND - SWITZERLAND

March 28:
Koper: CROATIA - SWITZERLAND
Ljubljana: PORTUGAL - ENGLAND

March 31:
Koper: CROATIA - ENGLAND
Ljubljana: SWITZERLAND - PORTUGAL

Recall, after a turbulent but successful journey through the qualifications, the Croatia U-21 side secured a spot 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) back in November, 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.

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

Wednesday, 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.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Euro 2021 Qualifiers: Croatia U-21 Squad and Czech Republic Draw 0:0

September 7, 2020 - In the Euro 2021 qualifier tonight, the Croatia U-21 Squad and the Czech Republic drew 0:0. 

The Croatia U-21 national team drew against the Czech Republic in the 6th round of qualifications for the European Championship, which will be played next year in Slovenia and Hungary.

With a victory, Croatia would catch up with the Czech Republic and Greece and finish with a chance to qualify for the Euro. However, with this draw, they remained five points behind the first-placed Czech Republic and three points behind second-placed Greece.

The match saw plenty of fouls, and the best player was Borna Sosa, who dominated the right side of the Czech defense throughout the match.

In the first 20 minutes of the match, there were no opportunities on either side. Croatia had the first opportunity in the 35th minute when Sosa served Spikic whose shot was saved by the Czech goalkeeper. In the 42nd minute, the best chance of the match was missed by the Czech side, as Drchal's shot was stopped by Semper.

The second half continued in a similar rhythm as the first until the 55th minute when Musa missed a stellar opportunity for Croatia. Drchal had a chance to endanger Semper's goal in the 67th minute, but unlucky in the end.

In the qualifying group, the Czech Republic is in first place with 15 points, in second is Greece with 13, while Croatia is in third place with 10 points after six games played.

The winners of nine groups and the five best second-placed teams will qualify directly for the Euro.

Croatia is now facing a difficult road to Euro U-21 because it must win all matches until the end of qualifying if it wants to stay in the game to advance. 

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Euro Qualifiers: Croatia U-21 Squad Tops Greece 5:0 in Varazdin

September 3, 2020 - The Croatia U-21 national football team remained in the game for a spot at the 2021 European Championship after toppling Greece 5:0 in Varazdin, inflicting their first defeat in the group.

Goals for Croatia were scored by Nikola Moro (1), Lovro Majer (5, 24), and Petar Musa (14, 52).

After recording two defeats in the first four rounds, and two home defeats at that, the Croatia U-21 national team did not have the chance to take Greece lightly.

The young Vatreni started the qualifying cycle for the European Championship with home defeats to Scotland and the Czech Republic and away victories against San Marino and Lithuania. There was a several-month break due to the coronavirus epidemic, and the continuation of the qualifications brought perhaps two key matches. The first against Greece has been settled, and in four days, Croatia is expected to play against the leading Czech Republic.

After coach Igor Biscan tested positive for the coronavirus and the entire professional staff ended up in self-isolation, the team was led by the main instructor of the Croatian Football Federation, Petar Krpan, and the coach of the Croatia U-17 side Tomislav Rukavina. While Biscan was the brains behind the composition, Krpan and Rukavina executed flawlessly.

The match was essentially over already just 24 minutes in as Croatia went up by four goals.

Croatia took the lead in the 45th second of the game. Sosa pulled up the left side and pushed into the middle; the ball bounced to the edge of the penalty area where Moro scored fantastically for 1:0. Just four minutes later, it was 2:0. Moro curved the ball into the penalty area where Majer headed in for the second goal. In the 14th minute, Musa was among the scorers, assisted by Spikic. Majer completed an incredible 25 minutes with his second goal on Sosa's assist.

In the continuation of the match, the rhythm dropped as expected, and the only goal was in the 52nd minute. Erlic ideally found Musa, who went around the goalkeeper Antonios Stergiakis and scored in an empty net.

With this victory, Croatia broke through to the third place of the group with nine points from five matches. Greece has a point more, while the Czech Republic is in the lead with 14 points from six matches.

The winners of nine groups and the five best second-placed teams will qualify directly for the Euros.

Source:  HRT

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