That which i highlighted is a false equivalency to the success we have had tournaments. Yes we have had success beating a team on our day as a one off, but so have BIH, Serbia, Hungary, Switzerland, Czech Repbulbic, Ukraine , Iceland, Norway, Sweden etc... and every other "smaller football" nation when going up against perceived stronger teams in qualifying game or a tournament game. The only time we have ever had deep runs into tournaments was when a group of players have been together for a long period of time. And in both cases this started in the youth categories and metastasized into success years later at the senior level. And you see that with the team in 98 and again our run in 2018. Players who had played together in the youth category, having a fairly a good knowledge of each others game growing into a squad that makes a deep run at senior levelIt is not about the amount of talents at the same age...but about having enough players at a certain level within the 20-32 y o age range.
The likes of Vrsaljko Lovren Barisic Kovacic Brozovic Rebic Vlasic are already there for few years more...
If a pongracic doesn't fulfill a potential another guy might show up by then. Same for others.
Not having results in youth tournaments before didn't prevent us to beat the likes of england germany spain argentina in international tournaments.
We will be fine.
Will this change in the future? i don't know. But a core group of players coming together at a young age seems to be key to many a teams success.You see that in Spain's Success, Italy's success in 2006, Portugal's success in 2016, Hollands success in 1988 success just to name a few off the top of my head. None of this is coincidence to me.