Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Croatia Beats Denmark On Penalties for U21 Euros Spot!

September 27, 2022 - The young Croatia national team is going to the Euros! Croatia beat Denmark on penalties on Tuesday, securing their spot at the 2023 U21 Euros. 

The U21 Croatia national team faced Denmark on Tuesday for a spot at the 2023 European Championship. Four days ago, Igor Bišćan's side won 2:1 against Denmark in Pula, and today in Vejle, they played the return match of the additional qualifications.

The young Croatia team was after their third consecutive European tournament. In 2019, Croatia did not make it out of their group, and Spain was better in the quarter-final last year. 

The match on Tuesday ended with Denmark winning 2:1, and as Croatia celebrated an identical result in the first match last week, the game went into extra time. As the match remained 2:1 at the end of extra time, the winner was decided by a penalty shootout. Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski was the hero, saving shots from Thomas Kristensen in the fourth round and Mathias Ross in the sixth round. 

Denmark took a 2:0 lead with goals from Matthew O'Riley (10) and Morten Frendrup (19), but Croatia brought the match to extra time with a goal from Igor Matanović in the 84th minute.

Croatia has thus qualified for its fifth European Under-21 Championship and the third in a row. In their four attempts so far, Croatia had gotten out of the group stage only once, in 2021, when they were eliminated in the quarter-final. 

The Euros are scheduled from June 21 to July 8, 2023, and will be played in eight stadiums in five cities. Matches will be played in the Romanian cities of Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca and the Georgian cities of Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi. Romania will host the opening match, and the final will be played in Georgia.

The group draw is scheduled for October 18 in Bucharest, and the national teams will be divided into four groups of four teams each.

The three best national teams from the Euros will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. As the host of the Olympics, France has already secured their place. 


Denmark: Hermansen - Carstensen, Kristensen, Ross, Kristiansen - O'Riley, Frendrup, Kjaergaard - Isaksen, Tengstedt, Daramy

Croatia: Kotarski - Hodža, Vušković, Soldo, Čolina - Pršir, Franjić, Sučić - Vidović, Beljo, Šego

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

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia and Denmark to Meet in U21 EURO Playoffs

June 22, 2022 - Croatia and Denmark will meet in the U21 EURO playoffs in September this year. 

The national team of Denmark will be the last obstacle for Croatia on the way to the U21 European Championships next year. According to the value of all possible rivals Croatia could draw in the playoffs, Denmark ranks up there as one of the highest quality national teams.

"From the teams we were able to draw, they are the best, and their results show that. However, due to the goal differential, they remained below the line, similar to us. A difficult match for us, but also for them," said coach Igor Bišćan for Gol.hr.

Does he believe Croatia will qualify?

"Certainly, we believe in us, in the team. The guys have shown in these qualifiers, which ended the way they did, that they have the right mentality, character, and quality to hope for the best."

The games do not directly overlap with the Nations League. Did he talk to Zlatko Dalić about sharing players?

"We didn't because we only found out the draw on Tuesday, and the game is still very far away. Dalić has priority, he will be the first to choose, and we are happy when one of ours finishes in the first team. That is the purpose of our work. Dalić has shown a lot of understanding so far, we have cooperated very well, and I believe we will continue."

Croatia led the qualifiers until the end - what happened?

"Well, it's hard to expect such a decline; we were almost perfect in qualifying. We didn't expect to stumble so much in those moments. We'll learn. Our players haven't matured in football yet, and let's not say mentally. We paid dearly for that by not going directly to the Euro. We can't change that; I would attribute that to some growing up. If it had to happen, it's good that it happened now that we can still correct it."

How is he dealing with criticisms?

"They are an integral part of our work. Those who cannot understand that should not engage in this profession," Bišćan concluded. 

The additional qualifier matches will be played between September 19 and 27 this year. The Croatia U21s will play the first game at home. 

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Thursday, 9 June 2022

Croatia U21s Crush Estonia to Finish Qualifications, 2023 Euro Spot Still Unknown

June 9, 2022 - The Croatia U21s convincingly beat Estonia away on Wednesday, finishing the 2023 Euro qualifications with 22 points. As Norway still has two games left to play, Croatia's fate at next year's Euros is still uncertain. 

In the last round of Group A of the European Championship qualifiers, the Croatia U21 national team outclassed Estonia 4-0 away and thus finished the qualifications at 22 points.

However, it is still unknown whether Igor Bišćan's team will go directly to the Euros as the winners of the group or will finish in second place and have to go to additional qualifications.

Namely, the schedule has been put together so that the last round matches are not all played at the same time. Currently, the situation is such that the biggest threat to the young Croatia side is the third-placed Norway, which still has two more games to play - a visit to Finland and a home match against Azerbaijan.

Since the goal difference is in the standings, the good news is that the young Croatia national team crushed Estonia 4-0 and finished with +15 (25:10). This specifically means that if Finland, who currently has +7 (18:11) beat Norway by any margin of fewer than eight goals, Croatia will finish in the first place and qualify for the European Championship next year. 

If the result is a draw or if Norway wins that match, which is played on Friday, June 10, then Norway (especially if they triumph in Finland) will have the advantage at home against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, June 14.

Euro U21 Qualifiers, Group A:
1. Croatia 22, 25:10 (10)
2. Finland 19, 18:11 (9)
3. Norway 18, 22:10 (8)
4. Austria 16, 22: 13 (10)
5. Azerbaijan 7, 11:22 (9)
6. Estonia 0, 0:32 (10)

Match report

Estonia and Croatia met at Rannastaadion in Pärnu, Estonia on Wednesday. Croatia went furiously through the first half and gained a 3-goal lead at halftime. Gabriel Vidović scored in the seventh minute, Mario Vušković in the 14th minute, and Antonio Marin scored in the 41st minute. The final score was set by Toni Fruck in the 55th minute for 0-4 Croatia.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 12 November 2021

Croatia U21s Top Estonia 2:0 in Pula, Record 5th Win in 2023 Euro Qualifiers

November 12, 2021 - The Croatia U21 team continued their winning streak in the 2023 Euro qualifiers, topping Estonia 2:0 in Pula on Thursday night. 

The Croatia U21 national football team recorded its fifth consecutive victory in Group A of the 2023 Euro qualifiers, defeating Estonia 2:0 in Pula. Roko Šimić (39) and Jurica Pršir (62) scored Croatia's goals. 

Croatia was already a step closer to the victory in the 5th minute. Baturina shot from the right but hit the post. Pršir shot on goal in the 39th minute, but Šimić solidly put the rebound into the net. It was his sixth goal in these qualifiers.

In the second half, Croatia continued to dominate. In the 55th minute, Kačavenda shot from the outside and hit the crossbar. Croatia resolved all doubts about who would win in the 62nd minute when Pršir scored a great goal from more than 20 meters. 

Croatia calmly kept the lead until the end of the match and continued their perfect series in the 2023 Euro qualifications.

Croatia leads the group with a maximum of 15 points and a goal difference of 14-3, and Norway is second with 9 points and a game less, while Austria has the same number of points. Estonia is last with six defeats and a 0-19 goal difference.

The winners of the nine groups and the best second-placed national team will directly qualify for the 2023 European Championships, which will be held from June 9 to July 2 in Romania and Georgia. 

The remaining eight runners-up will play in additional qualifiers for four more teams at the European Championships. 


Croatia - Estonia 2-0 (Šimić 39, Pršir 62)

On Friday, November 12, Azerbaijan will host Austria, and Norway will host Finland. 


1. CROATIA 5 5 0 0 14-3 15

2. Norway 4 3 0 1 13-4 9

3. Austria 5 3 0 2 14-6 9

4. Finland 4 2 1 1 7-4 7

5. Azerbaijan 4 0 1 3 2-14 1

6. Estonia 6 0 0 6 0-19 0

Austria will host Croatia in the next 2023 Euro qualifier on November 16. 

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


Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Croatia U21s Record 4th Win in 2023 Euro Qualifiers, Top Azerbaijan 5:1

October 12, 2021 - The Croatia U21s have recorded their 4th win in four rounds of the 2023 Euro qualifiers, this time defeating Azerbaijan 5:1!

The Croatia U21s defeated Azerbaijan 5:1 in Sumgayit in the 2023 European Championship qualifiers on Tuesday. It was Croatia's 4th game in Group A.

Igor Bišćan's side thus recorded four victories in the first four rounds of qualifications, with a goal difference of 12:3, and leads the top of the group with 12 points.

Croatia did the job in the first 45 minutes when the excellent hat-trick was scored by the great Roko Šimić (9', 13', 44' penalty). Nikola Soldo (25') also scored in the first half, and the victory of Croatia was confirmed in the 81st minute by Josip Šutalo. The only goal scorer for Azerbaijan was Musa Gurbanli (55' penalty).

The son of former Croatia star Darijo Šimić scored in the ninth minute on Kačavenda's pass, and only three minutes later he scored the fourth goal in his fourth appearance for the U21 national team after a shot by Čolina and a bad intervention by goalkeeper Merbalijev.

In the 25th minute, Lokomotiva midfielder Soldo increased the lead to 3:0 after a free kick by Palaversa. Valizade played with his hand in the penalty area a minute before the end of the half, and Roko Šimić scored a hat-trick from the penalty spot in the first half. 

Azerbaijan reduced the score in the 55th minute when Šutalo committed a foul on Gurbanli, and the same player was accurate from the penalty spot. In the 69th minute, Azerbaijan had to play with a man down after the exclusion of Valizade, and in the 81st minute, Šutalo hit the net with his head for the final 5:1.

In other group matches, Norway defeated Estonia 3:0 in Drammen, while Finland defeated Austria 3:1 in Tampere.

Croatia leads the table with a maximum of 12 points and a goal difference of 12:3, and Norway is second with nine points, the same as Austria with a game more.

After the introductory win against Azerbaijan in Velika Gorica (2:0), the young Croatia side celebrated 2:0 away against Finland, and last Friday in Varaždin, they defeated Norway 3:2.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 18 November 2019

Euro Under-21 Qualifiers: Croatia Loses to Czech Republic, Records Second Defeat in Group

November 18, 2019 - The Croatia Under-21 national team hurt their chances of qualifying for the 2021 European Championships after losing to the Czech Republic 1:2 in Velika Gorica on Monday.

It was the second defeat of the young national team in four games played thus far, and the second loss at home, reports Gol.hr.

Croatia opened the qualifiers with a defeat at home to Scotland (1:2), after which Nenad Gracan was fired and the team was taken over by Igor Biscan. In his debut on the bench, Croatia celebrated in San Marino 0:7 and then against Lithuania away 1:3. However, they suffered an unpleasant defeat against the Czech Republic at home on Monday. 

Croatia led in the game thanks to Luka Ivanusec who scored in the 31st minute, but the Czechs turned the result with goals from Ladislav Krejci (39) and Pavel Bucha (72).

The young Croatia team entered the game forcefully and had a great chance already in the second minute by Petar Musa, but Martin Jedlička defended his shot. In the 19th minute, Josip Brekalo had an even better chance against the Czech keeper, but Jedlička responded once more. Croatia, however, finally took the lead in the 31st minute thanks to Luka Ivanusec. 

Unfortunately, only eight minutes later, the Czech Republic equalized from a corner when Krejci scored. In the second half, the Czech Republic turned the score completely thanks to Pavel Bucha in the 72nd minute, who used the confusion of defenders Branimir Kalaica and Josko Gvardiol.

Domagoj Bradaric was booked for a red card in the last minute of the game.

The Czech Republic now leads the group with 11 points, Greece follows in second with 10 points, Scotland is in third with eight points and Croatia is in fourth with six points. Lithuania (4) and San Marino (0) make up the last two spots in the group. 

The next U-21 national team game is against Scotland on March 27.

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

U21 Euros: Croatia Ends Tournament with Draw Against England (3:3)

June 24, 2019 - Croatia and England met for the final group stage game of the U21 Euros on Monday. Because both teams stood at the bottom of Group C, they would not be advancing further in the tournament and only played for pride.

Croatia's U21s ended the Euros in San Marino against England with a Recall, Croatia’s young side lost 4:1 to Romania and 1:0 to France in their first two games of the tournament.

Coach Nenad Gračan made some changes in the lineup compared to the games against Romania and France. Namely, in the initial list, the previous reserves were Grbić, Čabraja, Kalaica, Moro, and Kulenović. Today's starting lineup included Grbić, Uremović, Kalaica, Katić, Čabraja, Vlašić, Šunjić, Moro, Majer, Kulenović, and Brekalo.

The game started with a bit of bad luck on Croatia's side as England was awarded a penalty in the 11th minute to lead 0:1. Both teams had chances in the following minutes, with England having the better of them. 

However, Croatia finally got their chance in the 39th minute. The promising Josip Brekalo sprinted up the left side, cut into the middle of the box to beat the defender and hit a far-post rocket for the equalizer! The game was 1:1 at the half.

England dimmed Croatia's hopes just three minutes into the second half. After a blunder in Croatia's defense, James Maddison put England back in the lead for 1:2.

But Croatia wouldn't allow England's lead to last long. Majer capitalized on a catastrophic defensive mistake by England, found the foot of Kulenović who then touched the ball to Nikola Vlašić for his second goal of the tournament and the equalizer! The game was 2:2 in the 62nd minute. 

Unfortunately, England took the lead for the third time in the game. Kenny scored in the 70th minute for 2:3. But Croatia continued to press, and a perfect through ball to Brekalo saw him nutmeg the keeper for 3:3!

The game ended 3:3, which was Croatia's only draw of the tournament. Croatia has also finished last in Group C. 

By advancing to the semifinal of the Euros, Croatia would have automatically secured a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which would have been historic for Croatian football.

However, Croatia's young side will have to wait a bit longer. 

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

Friday, 21 June 2019

U21 Euros: Croatia Unlucky Against France in San Marino (1:0)

June 21, 2019 - In the second round of Group C of the U21 European Football Championship held in Italy and San Marino, the young Croatia national team met France. 

Recall, in the first round against Romania, Croatia lost 1:4 and thus significantly reduced their chances of playing in the semi-final of the tournament, which also secures a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Coach Nenad Gračan made three changes to the lineup compared to the first match against Romania. Namely, Brekalo and Benković could not start due to injury, and Halilović moved to the bench. Ivanušec replaced Halilović, while Uremović moved from right-back to stopper, and Borevković took his place on the right. Murić played on the left wing instead of Brekalo who suffered an injury in the first half of the game against Romania. 

France dominated the game from the start and capitalized on their first cross for a Dembele goal in the 8th minute. France almost increased their lead in the 12th minute though Posavec saved the day to keep the game 1:0. 

It seemed like just a matter of time before France scored their second, though it was Croatia to have a golden opportunity. Vlašić hit the perfect through ball to Jakoliš who just missed the far post. The game ended 1:0 for France at the half. 

France attacked at the start of the first half, though Posavec again was forced to defend Dembele - and succeeded. Croatia started stringing passes together and pushing shortly after - and there was an excellent chance by Murić and Jakoliš which France defended. 

Shortly after Brekalo was substituted in for Murić Croatia looked like a new team. They attacked and threatened France’s defense - and were even robbed by the referee when he refused to consult VAR after a clear handball in the box. 

Croatia had another stellar chance in the 68th minute when Brekalo hit a through ball to Kulenović who then hit the post. Croatia was getting close to an equalizer, but luck wasn't on their side.

Croatia had one last chance with a minute to go in regulation time, though Brekalo's free-kick went short. 

The game ended 1:0 for France.

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

U21 Euros: Croatia Loses to Romania 1:4 in 1st Round

In the first round of Group C of the U21 European Football Championship held in Italy and San Marino, the young Croatia national team lost to Romania 1:4 and thus significantly reduced their chances of placing in the semi-finals and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, reports HRT on June 18, 2019.

George Puscas (11’-penalty), Ianis Hagi (14’), Tudor Baluta (66’) and Adrian Petre (90 + 2’) scored for Romania, while Nikola Vlašić (18’) scored for Croatia. 

The young Croatian side is back in the Euros for the first time in 15 years. Recall, in their past two attempts, they were unable to make it out of the group. This time, however, Croatia came to the Euros with high ambitions. The primary motivation for the Croatia U21s is a place in the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, which has not been achieved by any Croatian football generation. A visa for Japan comes with a spot in the semifinals.

Unfortunately, after losing to Romania, Nenad Gračan’s side awaits France and England, and the chances of winning the first place in the group for a spot in the semis are minimized.

France and England meet in the second meeting of this group at 9 pm in Cesena.

Croatia will play France in the second round on June 21, and in the last round of the group on June 24, they will play against England.

A place in the semifinals, which also guarantees a seat at the Tokyo Olympics, will be secured by the winners of the group and the best second-placed team of the three groups. 

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