The coach of the Croatian U-21 national team, Dragan Skočić, has revealed his squad for the upcoming European Championship in Romania and Georgia.
Croatia U-21 squad:
Goalkeepers: Dominik Kotarski (PAOK), Ivor Pandur (Fortuna), Nikola Čavlina (Lokomotiva).
Defenders: David Čolina (Augsburg), Bartol Franjić (Wolfsburg), Nikola Soldo (Köln), Niko Sigur (Hajduk).
Midfielders: Jurica Pršir (Gorica), Lukas Kačavenda (Lokomotiva), Martin Baturina (Dinamo), Ante Palaversa (Troyes), Veldin Hodža (Rijeka), Toni Fruk (Gorica), Marko Bulat (Dinamo).
Forwards: Roko Šimić (Zürich), Stipe Biuk (Los Angeles), Dion Drena Beljo (Augsburg), Marin Ljubičić (LASK), Gabriel Vidović (Vitesse), Luka Stojković (Lokomotiva), Matija Frigan (Rijeka).
The squad could change with the deadline to submit the squad for the tournament being June 14 at 23:59.
Skočić also introduced his coaching staff, which includes assistant coach Daniel Šarić, goalkeeper coach Mladen Žganjer, analyst Dino Žiška, and fitness coaches Marko Matušinskij and Stjepan Likić.
“I am extremely honored to be the coach of the Croatian U-21 national team. We have had a lot of work in the past period, and we are in a situation where we have many injured players, some players who have been called up to the senior national team, or players who are not playing abroad. Some of them are on the list because they have the quality and deserve to be here. So, we have had certain problems while simultaneously scouting and analyzing our team. In the upcoming period, we will focus on the plan and program, as well as the analysis of our opponents,” emphasized Skočić, who will gather the team on June 6 at the beginning of the preparations, which will take place in Medulin.
Skočić’s list is certain to undergo changes.
“The list of players is not final and is subject to changes. I say this because we have many problems in certain positions, especially in defense. I wanted to watch the final round, and we also have U-20 matches. We will watch those matches, and we don’t have to rush because we submit the final list to UEFA on June 14. It may happen that we take a larger number of players considering the situation. There are many players who are not playing, and we are not sure about their condition, so it’s better to see what they can do and what they can’t. I want to personally assess their abilities. As for Beljo, the senior national team is the priority. He will be with the senior team, and then we will see if he will join us. Of course, I would like Gvardiol, Josip Šutalo, Stanišić, and Beljo to play for us because our goal is to qualify for the Olympics. That is my goal. I was not driven by the money I could have earned but by the qualification for the Olympics.
However, priorities are known, the senior national team must come first, and I’m glad that the youth national team produces players for the senior national team,” concluded Skočić.
The Croatian U-21 national team will play in the European Championship in a group with Ukraine, Spain, and Romania. They open with a match against Ukraine on June 21 at 6:00 PM in Bucharest at the Giulesti Stadium. In the second round, at the same stadium, they will face Spain on June 24 at 8:45 PM, and in the third round, on June 27 at 8:45 PM, they will meet Romania at the Steaua Stadium, also in Bucharest.