The coronavirus pandemic, which erupted around this time last year, ultimately postponed the 2020 European Championships, which were to be played across Europe last summer.
According to the latest information, it should be played from June 11 to July 11, 2021, in 12 cities, in 12 different European countries. No official announcement has been made about the tournament yet.
The postponement of the Euros also moved the start of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which begin a bit earlier, or today for Croatia and Slovenia.
But that’s not all.
The U-21 European Championship begins in Slovenia and Hungary, which kick off tomorrow for Croatia.
The Croatia A selection will open the qualifications for the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday against Slovenia in Ljubljana at 20:45. The famous Spaniard referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz will lead the match at Stožice stadium. Fans in Croatia can watch the broadcast on Nova TV from 8 pm, with a studio show.
The Slovenia national team is led by the well-known Matjaž Kek, once the successful coach of Rijeka. Of HNL players, Dinamo’s Petar Stojanović and Osijek’s Mario Jurčević, and Damjan Bohar are in their lineup.
Croatia will also play against Cyprus on March 27 and on March 30 against Malta in this microcycle. Both matches are played at Rujevica in Rijeka. All matches will be played without an audience. In addition to Croatia, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta, the group also includes Russia and Slovakia.
Croatia is the absolute favorite of the group. Ante Rebić and Bruno Petković will not be in the squad due to injuries, but Šime Vrsaljko is looking forward to returning. Recall, Vrsaljko is back in the national team after two and a half years and major injuries.
“We will definitely miss Petković; he was in good shape. With him, our game system is different, and we will have to change that a bit now,” said coach Dalić.
However, despite the absence of Rebić and Petković, Dalić has Mislav Oršić, who is playing the best football of his life, and Kristijan Lovrić, who is not far behind.
“I have already said, Mislav deserved this round, and he will have minutes. But I have to wait to talk to the players because we haven’t been together for a long time and I don’t know the condition of each of them. Things are changing now, and he played 120 minutes against Tottenham and also played against Gorica. He can help us, and I have to be smart, wise, deploy strength and energy, so we don’t run out because it’s a hellish cycle,” said Dalić.
In the European qualifiers, 55 national teams were divided into five groups with six teams each and five groups with five teams each. They will play two matches against each other in each group. Ten group winners will qualify directly for the World Cup, and ten runners-up and two Nations League teams will play additional qualifiers.
These 12 national teams will be divided into three groups, with four national teams vying for three more World Cup spots.
Schedule for Croatia A team
Slovenia – Croatia (Ljubljana, March 24, 8.45 pm Nova TV)
Croatia – Cyprus (Rijeka, March 27, 18.00 Nova TV)
Croatia – Malta (Rijeka, March 30, 8.45 pm Nova TV)
The Croatia U21 national football team traveled to Slovenia on Monday to play all three matches of the European Championship group stage.
Coach Igor Bišćan is convinced that the young Vatreni can play good games and fight for a place in the quarterfinals, regardless of its rivals – Portugal, Switzerland, and England.
“We have two days until the first game; we have to do the best we can. We have three games in a week; we will need to find a way to be ready for demanding matches. We believe in ourselves; we went through tough qualifications, which was positive for our character and mentality. In that positive atmosphere, I hope we can ensure getting out of the group,” he says.
The Croatia U-21 national team will play all three matches in the group in Koper at the Bonifika Stadium, also without spectators. They play their first game on Thursday, March 25, against Portugal at 21:00, led by referee Bartosz Frankowski from Poland. Croatia’s matches at the U-21 Euros will be broadcast by HTV 2.
Bišćan’s side will face Switzerland on March 28 and England on March 31. England is certainly the favorite of the group.
“We are ready for something bigger. There are no weaker teams at the European Championship, but Croatia also has its qualities, and we want to reach the quarterfinals. We are a little tired, but the greatest pride is to play in the European Championship. We are not afraid of anyone; we are going to show who we are and what we are,” said striker Sandro Kulenović.
The group stage of the U-21 European Championship will be held from March 24 to 31, 2021, and the winners and runners-up from each group will advance to the next stage, which will be played from May 31 to June 6, 2021.
Nine group winners and the five best second-placed teams, including Croatia and the hosts of the tournament, Hungary, and Slovenia, qualified for the final tournament. Sixteen national teams in the draw were divided into four groups of four national teams.
Schedule for Croatia U-21 side at the Euros in Slovenia and Hungary:
Portugal U-21 – Croatia U-21 (Koper, March 25, 9 pm HTV 2)
Croatia U-21 – Switzerland U-21 (Koper, March 28, 18.00 HTV 2)
Croatia U-21 – England U-21 (Koper, 31 March, 18.00 HTV 2)
Source: 24 Sata
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