2019 UEFA U21 European Championship - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 02:41 Thread Starter
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2019 UEFA U21 European Championship



Fairly big youth tournament so felt it deserves its own thread. The Croatia U21s for the first time since 2004 will participate in the U21 Euros which will be held in Italy/San Marino. The tournament takes place from June 16-30, involving 12 teams (3 groups of 4) with the top four finishers qualifying for the football tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The teams qualifying for the Olympics will be the three group winners + best runners-up. If England, who aren't eligible to compete in the Olympics, are in the semifinals then the final Olympic spot will be determined by the 2nd and 3rd best group runners-up.

Croatia have been draw in a tough Group C with England, France and Romania. They open the tournament on June 18 vs. Romania, June 21 vs. France and June 24 vs. England. All three games will be played at San Marino's national stadium which the team should be familiar with as they played there during the qualifying.

The team begun their preparations today in Medulin where they will train until the 16th. They will play one friendly against Denmark on the 12th, likely in Pula. Here was the squad selected by Nenad Gracan, it was a 25-man provisional squad with 23 going to Italy/San Marino

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The main absences from qualifying are Marin Pongracic who misses out due to injury and Andrija Balic who wasn't in the best form at Fortuna Sittard. Petar Mamic has already been ruled out due to injury but he likely would have been cut with Bradaric and Sosa ahead of him at left back. Like with the senior national team, the big problem is right-back. With Fran Karacic committing to Australia, the team has no natural right back on the squad and often plays Uremovic there.

Benkovic, Brekalo, Caleta-Car, Halilovic and Vlasic are with the senior national team and won't join the preparations until after the Wales game. It is still unknown whether Vlasic will be fit for this tournament as he has been ruled out by Dalic for the Wales game, hence Halilovic getting a recall.
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post #2 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 02:58 Thread Starter
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And here are the squads called up by the three opponents in the group stage

ENGLAND
Goalkeepers: Angus Gunn (Southampton), Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United)
Defenders: Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), Jay Dasilva (Chelsea), Lloyd Kelly (AFC Bournemouth), Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), Ezri Konsa (Brentford), Fikayo Tomori (Derby County, loan from Chelsea), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace)
Midfielders: Harvey Barnes (Leicester City), Hamza Choudhury (Leicester City), Kieran Dowell (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Derby County, loan from Chelsea), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa, loan from Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth)

FRANCE
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ROMANIA
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The England squad looks impressive in the midfield and attack, don't know too much about their defenders though. They breezed in qualifying finishing undefeated ahead of Netherlands and Ukraine and the only dropped points to the Dutch twice. The majority of this squad were part of their U20 champion winning side in 2017 so a good generation

Croatia played France in a friendly match back in November and came from behind to tie the game 2:2. Their squad could have been much stronger too, 4 of the World Cup winning squad was still eligible to play in this tournament but none of them were included (Mbappe, Dembele, Pavard, Hernandez). France too breezed their qualifications, winning 9 of 10 with their only dropped points coming in a draw with Slovenia

Romanian squad is obviously less known than the other two as its mostly domestic based but not to be underestimated as they were impressive in qualifying, also going unbeaten in a group with Portugal, Switzerland and BiH. They took 4 points from Portugal winning the away match. One of their better players, Razvan Marin, will be missing though as Ajax didn't release him for the tournament. Puscas has an impressive scoring rate at the U21 level and even with the senior NT. Romania is the opening match so anything less than a win will put the U21s in a difficult spot already
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post #3 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 11:08
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Vlasic needs to be playing if we wanna go far. Our biggest problem is a lack of RB as HS pointed out.

I know this generation is mostly known for its midfield/wing talent but that's a decent amount of promising defenders especially at CB. Katic, Uremovic, Benkovic, Kalaica, Borevkovic, Caleta Car. And the good thing is most of these guys have gotten solid minutes for their clubs this season. In fact alot of our players have gotten a solid amount of minutes this season whether as a starter, coming off the bench or a mix. So to counter the myth that most of these players haven't played very much, I've listed all of them down with the amount of minutes they have played this season in all competitions beside their names. Of course some of the players have lacked minutes and have had fluctuations in playing time, but for a bunch of youngsters thats quite normal. In general it's been quite solid. I've also provided some context, however I only took a quick glance so if some of my contextual information is wrong please correct me.

G (games played)

CB
Katic (Rangers) - 30G, 2500 mins. He lost his spot during the season but seems to have gotten it back as he has started in a fair few number of games towards the end of the season.
Uremovic (Rubin Kazin) - 27G, 2235 mins. Solidified starter for Rubin Kazin
Benkovic (Celtics) - 30G, 2284 mins. Was a starter for the Celtics for a while but looking at the last few games not so much. Not sure why. Our other confused Croatian, Simunovic seems to be starting though.
Kalaica (Benfica II) - 34G, 2928 mins. Starter all season.
Borevkovic (Rio Ave) - 24G, 2108 mins. Seems like he starting getting alot of playing time towards the end of the season which is good.
Caleta Car (Olympique Marseille) - 26G, 2085 mins. Was actually surprised to see how many minutes he's played. Really picked up towards the end of the season.

LB
Sosa (Stuttgart) - 12G, 613 mins. Actually thought this would be less. Got a couple of starts at the end of the season. 4 of his 12 games was played as LM.
Bradaric (Hajduk) - 24G, 1897 mins. Starter for the senior squad after coming from the second team during the beginning of the season. Hajduk fans are high in him.
Cabraja (Gorica) - 26G, 2266 mins. Starter for Gorica who have done well this season. Must be something to this guy.

Midfield
Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) - 31G, 2730 mins.
Sunjic (Dinamo) - 41G, 2876 mins. A starter for the most part. The high amount of Dinamo games allowed for rotational lineups. Our U21 captain right?
Ivanusec (Lokomotiva) - 34G, 3029 mins. Starter all season for Lokomotiva and has been since last season.
Basic (Bordeaux) - 27G, 1547 mins. Another one that surprised me with the minutes. Started for a large portion at the mid end to the end of the season.
Moro (Dinamo) - 29G, 2146 mins. Included the few games he had with Dinamo's second team. Injured for a good portion at the start of the season.
Majer (Dinamo) - 11G, 776 mins. Was injured for a while. Came back to health at the end of February. Lots of competition in that AM position at Dinamo.
Bistrovic (CSKA Moscow) - 23G, 1438 mins. Starter before and somewhat after his injury. His playing time has fluctuated following his comeback with him coming off the bench at times.

Attack
Halilovic (Standard Liege) - 17G, 695 mins. Transferred mid way from AC Milan where he was superstar. Mostly coming off the bench. Talented but weak. Hit the gym boy. Good thing is that he seems to be playing well in this U21 team.
Brekalo ( Wolfsburg) - 27G, 1527 mins. Playing minutes has been on and off throughout the season where he'd start for a large portion of games and then would suddenly start coming off the bench. Had a number of small injuries throughout the season. Either way he's one of my favourite players. I hope he moves to another team though.
Jakolis (Admira Wacker) 26G, 1332 mins. Got more minutes last season and was a starter as opposed to this season where he mostly has come off the bench. Has had a fair few starts. A poor score rate. 26 games and 1 goal this season. Mostly played as a LW so maybe that's why. 12 games for the U21 and 5 goals. Just keep scoring for the NT.
Muric (Sporting Braga II and Rijeka) - 27G, 1574 mins. Including his time spent in Portugal. Touted as a big thing back in the day. Hopefully he get's back on track with Rijeka. 12 starts in 16 games. Good signs.
Kulenovic (Legia Warsaw) - 25G, 857 mins. Comes off the bench. 5 starts and 4 goals in the Polish league. Very interested to see how this one develops.

GK
Posavec (Hajduk) - 33G, 2935 mins. Starting GK in this tourney for sure.
Grbic (Lokomotiva) - 36G, 3194 mins.
Semper (Verona) - 7G, 630 mins.
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post #4 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 11:27
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I'm pretty sure I saw some people saying this squad wasn't playing much for their clubs. If not then apologies. The info is here anyway for ya'll. Lol I'm basically talking to myself.

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post #5 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 12:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinamozagreb86 View Post
I'm pretty sure I saw some people saying this squad wasn't playing much for their clubs. If not then apologies. The info is here anyway for ya'll. Lol I'm basically talking to myself.



Sleep is important folks.


I think it was the Srb who said that

And FYI Halilović is the Kapetan and his minutes have gotten progressively longer the more he stayed in Belgium working up to 5 starts of last 7 matches


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post #6 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 12:11
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I think it was the Srb who said that

And FYI Halilović is the Kapetan and his minutes have gotten progressively longer the more he stayed in Belgium working up to 5 starts of last 7 matches


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Ah right thanks for the correction for Halilovic. Yeah I know it was the Serb. I thought I read it elsewell as well.

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post #7 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 16:43 Thread Starter
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Benkovic (Celtics) - 30G, 2284 mins. Was a starter for the Celtics for a while but looking at the last few games not so much. Not sure why. Our other confused Croatian, Simunovic seems to be starting though.

Majer (Dinamo) - 11G, 776 mins. Was injured for a while. Came back to health at the end of February. Lots of competition in that AM position at Dinamo.

Brekalo ( Wolfsburg) - 27G, 1527 mins. Playing minutes has been on and off throughout the season where he'd start for a large portion of games and then would suddenly start coming off the bench. Had a number of small injuries throughout the season. Either way he's one of my favourite players. I hope he moves to another team though

Jakolis (Admira Wacker) 26G, 1332 mins. Got more minutes last season and was a starter as opposed to this season where he mostly has come off the bench. Has had a fair few starts. A poor score rate. 26 games and 1 goal this season. Mostly played as a LW so maybe that's why. 12 games for the U21 and 5 goals. Just keep scoring for the NT.
Benkovic was out injured for a while but when he returned the new coach (Lennon) didn't play him much along with some of their other loanees (Weah, Toljan, Burke)

Majer based on form shouldn't be in the squad, only played 3 matches since late March, but he has a reputation of a future prospect. In fairness, its not like Balic lit it up in the Eredivisie either but he was starting regularly

Brekalo is chirping to the CRO media about moving, Wolfsburg do have a new manager though so we don't know what his status will be with him

Jakolis & Petkovic are perfect examples about how thin the depth at ST is. Petkovic scored 7 goals from open play all season against mostly nobodies (Inter x3, Istra, Loko, Rudes, Plzen) and he;s the next Mandzukic and gets thrown into qualifying matches...please

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post #8 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 19:11
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Originally Posted by HajdukSplit View Post
Benkovic was out injured for a while but when he returned the new coach (Lennon) didn't play him much along with some of their other loanees (Weah, Toljan, Burke)

Majer based on form shouldn't be in the squad, only played 3 matches since late March, but he has a reputation of a future prospect. In fairness, its not like Balic lit it up in the Eredivisie either but he was starting regularly

Brekalo is chirping to the CRO media about moving, Wolfsburg do have a new manager though so we don't know what his status will be with him

Jakolis & Petkovic are perfect examples about how thin the depth at ST is. Petkovic scored 7 goals from open play all season against mostly nobodies (Inter x3, Istra, Loko, Rudes, Plzen) and he;s the next Mandzukic and gets thrown into qualifying matches...please
I agree with you about Petkovic but he's still most likely better than Kalinic
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post #9 of 228 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2019, 22:22 Thread Starter
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Doubt it but Kalinic is no longer available for the NT so its a mute point

But this guy is not only getting call-ups but starting in serious matches: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/brun...wettbewerb/KR1

Compared to these guy not even getting a look
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/mirk...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/anto...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/jako...wettbewerb/KR1

Not saying that any of these three guys will be something but what logic is Petkovic starting these games and these three not getting a look other than the fact Petkovic plays for Dinamo? He's not Croatian but Heber scored as many goals at Petkovic and he left in the winter break. And this is before bringing up the fact he scored ZERO goals in 42 Serie A games
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post #10 of 228 (permalink) Old June 5th, 2019, 07:50
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Jakolis & Petkovic are perfect examples about how thin the depth at ST is. Petkovic scored 7 goals from open play all season against mostly nobodies (Inter x3, Istra, Loko, Rudes, Plzen) and he;s the next Mandzukic and gets thrown into qualifying matches...please
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Originally Posted by HajdukSplit View Post
Doubt it but Kalinic is no longer available for the NT so its a mute point

But this guy is not only getting call-ups but starting in serious matches: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/brun...wettbewerb/KR1

Compared to these guy not even getting a look
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/mirk...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/anto...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/jako...wettbewerb/KR1

Not saying that any of these three guys will be something but what logic is Petkovic starting these games and these three not getting a look other than the fact Petkovic plays for Dinamo? He's not Croatian but Heber scored as many goals at Petkovic and he left in the winter break. And this is before bringing up the fact he scored ZERO goals in 42 Serie A games
I in part agree with you. Maric, Colak and Puljic have all had very solid scoring seasons and you could certainly make the case of one of them getting a spot. Obviously after Kramaric the spot is quite thin. I still think Santini should maybe get called up. Another solid season with Anderlecht. Although to be fair he hasn't taken his chances when playing for the NT.

I gotta say though if the reason you're mad with Petkovic getting called up is because he plays for Dinamo than tough luck. Have you watched him play at all? He's impressed me greatly with his ball handling skill, his control, passing and IQ. Plus he's a big body up front. I was against Antolic getting called up when he did, so this isn't some Dinamo dick riding. He's also played in Europe unlike the other guys which can be of some benefit. Ignore the media if that's adding to your dislike for him.
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post #11 of 228 (permalink) Old June 5th, 2019, 16:03
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Originally Posted by HajdukSplit View Post
Doubt it but Kalinic is no longer available for the NT so its a mute point

But this guy is not only getting call-ups but starting in serious matches: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/brun...wettbewerb/KR1

Compared to these guy not even getting a look
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/mirk...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/anto...wettbewerb/KR1
https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/jako...wettbewerb/KR1

Not saying that any of these three guys will be something but what logic is Petkovic starting these games and these three not getting a look other than the fact Petkovic plays for Dinamo? He's not Croatian but Heber scored as many goals at Petkovic and he left in the winter break. And this is before bringing up the fact he scored ZERO goals in 42 Serie A games
I think you have a good point to question certain call-ups, I'm not sure your argument is fair though. I don't watch much HNL but I've read a lot about Petkovic...and a few of my friends told me he's very good at holding up the ball, creating great passes and draws attention while opening up space for his attacking mates. Other than that, I honestly cant comment.

Are you suggesting that Dalic is another Mamic puppet? If so, I honestly think you need to stop that kinda thinking cause you're never going to be satisfied until there are 11 Hajduk players in the starting lineup.
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post #12 of 228 (permalink) Old June 5th, 2019, 16:38
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I think you have a good point to question certain call-ups, I'm not sure your argument is fair though. I don't watch much HNL but I've read a lot about Petkovic...and a few of my friends told me he's very good at holding up the ball, creating great passes and draws attention while opening up space for his attacking mates. Other than that, I honestly cant comment.

Are you suggesting that Dalic is another Mamic puppet? If so, I honestly think you need to stop that kinda thinking cause you're never going to be satisfied until there are 11 Hajduk players in the starting lineup.
11 Hajduk players can't even get them out of the middle of the pack in the HNL, let alone what would happen if they made up our NT...we'd be at San Marino, Andorra levels...
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post #13 of 228 (permalink) Old June 6th, 2019, 22:28 Thread Starter
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Marseille will not release Caleta-Car for this tournament, don’t get how that’s possible as it’s a UEFA sanctioned tournament but he’s not the only player who will miss out due to this
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post #14 of 228 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2019, 01:13
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Marseille will not release Caleta-Car for this tournament, don’t get how that’s possible as it’s a UEFA sanctioned tournament but he’s not the only player who will miss out due to this


That’s bullshit


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post #15 of 228 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2019, 05:50
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That shouldn't be legal. Fuk that.
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post #16 of 228 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2019, 08:05
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Clubs are allowed to prevent players from competing in youth competitions. On senior level, all they can do is make suggestions like "if you play, you won't start next week"
Happened to Matic and Vidic in the past. Man United is a black hole with this kind of stuff as is Mourinho as a coach. He's been open about it as well by saying he hopes Matic doesn't play too hard at the WC. It's disgusting.

Also, countries that are competing in the tournament usually like to deplete smaller guys like Croatia and Serbia in these kind of tournaments. Happened to us a lot in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if Real Madrid tells Jovic he can't play with the U21's or Fiorentina says no to Milenkovic playing.

It's BS but what can you do.

As for Marseille doing this, they had a really bad season in 2018/19. They have a new coach that is good and they probably see Caleta-Car as an integral part of the team next season. They don't want to risk him getting injured. I can see the same thing happening to Vlasic since England is in your group. Don't be shocked that the rumors of him being injured are exaggerated. Maybe he has to pull out. Who knows.
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post #17 of 228 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2019, 13:35 Thread Starter
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It actually looks more like Caleta-Car pulled out rather than Marseille forcing it, who knows the truth
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post #18 of 228 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2019, 11:39
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I think you have a good point to question certain call-ups, I'm not sure your argument is fair though. I don't watch much HNL but I've read a lot about Petkovic...and a few of my friends told me he's very good at holding up the ball, creating great passes and draws attention while opening up space for his attacking mates. Other than that, I honestly cant comment.

Are you suggesting that Dalic is another Mamic puppet? If so, I honestly think you need to stop that kinda thinking cause you're never going to be satisfied until there are 11 Hajduk players in the starting lineup.


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post #19 of 228 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2019, 11:43
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It actually looks more like Caleta-Car pulled out rather than Marseille forcing it, who knows the truth
Either way I'm not surprised in the slightest. Hence my opposition to giving preference to the U21s over the senior team and stupid ideas such as "targeting" "u" tournaments.

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post #20 of 228 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2019, 16:31 Thread Starter
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My speculation is Marseille didn't technically force Caleta-Car to miss out but "strongly recommended" it and Caleta-Car himself didn't want to get off on a bad foot with the new manager there. As I said in the posts before, Romania are missing one of their better players because Ajax blocked one from going to the tournament.

So because of these drop outs the final squad has been named

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Three left back in the squad Though Cabraja is more of an attacking winger
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