Croatia qualify for U-21 EURO for first time in 15 years
- by croatiaweek
- in Sport
The Croatian U-21 football team has qualified for the European Championship for the first time in 15 years.
Nenad Gračan’s side beat Greece on Friday 2-0 in Pula thanks to a first-half goal from CSKA Moscow’s Nikola Vlašić and a stoppage-time goal from Josip Brekalo, and then on Monday beat San Marino 4-0 to finish top of their qualifying group.
The victory today in San Marino, thanks to goals from Alen Halilović, Vlašić, Filip Uremović, Petar Bosančić means Croatia qualifies for the 2019 European Football Championships which will be held next year in Italy and San Marino.
It will be the first time that Croatia has qualified for the Euro U-21 tournament since 2003 when they qualified for the 2004 tournament. That team back then featured the likes of Niko Kranjčar, Eduardo da Silva and Dario Srna.
“This is the most important match for this generation,” Vlašić said before the match against Greece.
Big things are expected from this generation coached by Nenad Gračan, with many already experiencing a taste of senior national team football with Croatia, including captain Halilović, Duje Ćaleta-Car and Vlašić.
The team also features a number of players who are expected to one day make the step up to the senior national team, including Ivan Šunjić, Brekalo and Borna Sosa who both play in the German Bundesliga.
The UEFA Under-21 Euro 2019 will be held in Italy and San Marino from 16-30 June 2019.