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
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