Could Croatian Football be Represented at Olympics for First Time?

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia’s U21 team will not only fight for the European Championship title in 2019, but they also have a great chance of competing at the Tokyo Olympics, which would be the first in Croatian football history. 

At every Olympic Games, it’s safe the assume that Croatia expects a medal in team sports such as handball, basketball or water polo, though it is a bit odd that our most popular sport was never represented at the biggest sports competition in the world, reports T.portal on October 18, 2018. 

Croatian footballers may have won the bronze and silver medal at the World Cup and have missed only two major senior competitions since the country became independent, but football has never been represented by Croatia at an Olympic Games… ever.

And the reason is fairly simple – Olympic qualifications are exclusively based on the results of the junior team, who, as we know, did not have much international success in the past two and a half decades.

Croatia’s U21 team has only played twice in the Euros, in 2000 and 2014, and both times they did not make it out of the group stage, meaning they could not compete for the Olympic Games.

Vlašić, Halilović, Brekalo, Sosa & Co. have the opportunity to make a change this time around – and already qualifying for the European Championships in Italy next year has brought them a few steps closer to securing a spot in Tokyo in 2020. 

Namely, of the 12 teams that will play in the European tournament next year, four of them will go to the Olympics. Croatia will be placed into one of three groups and will have two ways to secure a place in Tokyo in two years: winning the first place in the group stage or being the best second-placed team. 

If this happens, Croatia will be in the selection of16 teams, and the team cannot have players older than 23, reinforced with three more senior players.

Is it time for Croatian football to finny knock down their Olympic curse?


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