The Mladi Vatreni play their first game of the qualification campaign against Azerbaijan U21 today at 1:00pm EST.
The only surprise selection is starting 17 year old Salzburg talent Roko Šimić over 19 year old established Hajduk striker Marin Ljubičić. Either it’s because he has impressed more in training or because Ljubičić is being rested (we are playing Azerbaijan, after all). Krizmanić makes the XI over Nikola Soldo, and the unfortunate injury of Bayern star Josip Stanišić has caused us to play Boško Šutalo out of position at right-back. This could be a problem area considering Šutalo is a natural center-back and doesn’t have great pace or agility going forward. Former wonderkid Antonio Marin is back with the U21s and will be starting in the midfield alongside Luka Sučić and Bartol Franjić. Expect Marin to play a more advanced role than his two counterparts, kind of like an attacking midfielder. The formation may also just be a 4-2-3-1 with Marin at AM and Sučić + Franjić as the CM’s. The official formation was not released at the time of this article. The attack is our strongest point, with Kačavenda, Biuk and Šimić all considered serious threats to the Azeri, with Antonio Marin and Luka Sučić also being potential goalscoring threats going forward.
Update: We’re playing a 4-1-4-1. GK: Pandur; LB: Čolina, CB: Krizmanić, CB: J. Šutalo, RB: B. Šutalo; CM: Franjić; LW: Kačavenda, AM: Marin, AM: Sučić, RW: Biuk; ST: Šimić.
The Mladi Vatreni start off with a 2-0 victory. There were a lot of positives in this win, notably Antonio Marin and Luka Sučić’s performances. Stipe Biuk also looked very promising whenever he had the ball, but his end product has been weak so far this season. With this being a new group, it will take a few games for everyone to gel together, and in the future we will need a more convincing victory over a team like Azerbaijan.
the pass that Borna Sosa has gotten from both this message board and the croatian public is incredible
Personally, I’m fine bringing him on and starting him and all that forgiveness.
But there are a lot of veliki hrvati, that like their thompson, and would rather have the national team lose with croats that really want to play for croatia than to win but use foreigners or people who don’t really want to be there
sosa manages to not give up a goal cause he’s drinking water on the sideline and hits in a couple crosses that result in nothing….and suddenly all those big hrvati have amnesia and are sporting their sosa jerseys… i’ve never been a huge fan of adult jersey wearing
Yes you have
Kacavenda is a real surprise and looks good. Biuk to me is the real deal and should become a quality player. Franjic should eventually make the senior squad for just being a solid defensive midfielder who just his job well. Everyone else is still just potential including Sucic (higher potential). But I definitely feel like this U21 squad is stacked with a lot of potential. It’s going to be hard for Biscan to pick starters when everyone is healthy.
Just sub out the u21 for the big boys and see what happens
Depends who’s coaching though.
Otherwise, Sucic better get used to playing as a striker or on the wing.
Croatia needs to find out what the Serbs are doing right for them to keep producing such amazing young strikers.
The players on this team that truly stand out the most for me are Sucic, Simic, Marin, Kacavenda, Biuk, Ljubicic and Vidovic. These 7 players truly have that world class potential and I don’t think we’ve ever had a U21 team with so much raw potential. Really excited to see this team mesh together, build some chemistry and start smashing opponents. A few of these guys I reckon won’t even make it to the U21 WC because they’ll already be on the first team by then.
This is based on watching one game vs a crappy opponent, but Sucic for sure is the cream of this crop.
I was bired so decided to make a list of croatian talent flops who were hyped to be the next things in recent croatian football history media coverage got to there heads and they just were not good enough for senior football.
Goalkeepers Zelenika Delac Semper
Defense Josip Basic Filip Benkovic Jozo Simunovic Ivan Tomecak Mateo Pavlovic Renato Kelic
Midfield/Wingers Luka Begonja Palaverse Ozobic Halilovic Coric Balic Andrijasevic Muric Caktas
Strikers Vukusic Rukavina Santini Perica Brodic
These are what i can think of mught have forgot someone but talent doe not mean you will be good at senior football
Semper isn’t really a flop, could still make a good career out of himself. Would put Kotarski over Semper in that list.
Come on. Most of those guys were never hyped up as being anything.
Also, Palaversa is still a solid prospect at 21. Starts every game in the Belgian league. If he doesn’t crack our lineup, it’s only because we simply have better guys in the team like Sucic and Biuk.
If you were hyped for anyone of these players besides Halilovic the problem is with you. Anyone with a football brain in their head never would have hype up these players.
At least these guys are scoring goals..
I see these players getting a chance 2026 because in croatia you have to play players based on what tjey did 10 years ago hahaha stare zasluge
Several of these players will definitely be at the 2026, IF they can continue to develop accordingly.
I think our coaches usually pick players who are getting playing time with their clubs. Then they pick players who are getting playing time but ALSO playing against good competition; ie playing Champions League Europa League or in one of top 5 leagues. This is why younger players who show glimpses of talent in the Austrian or Croatian league would not get picked; need to show it consistently at a high level. Obviously more to it then that but in general you need to get playing time at a high level to be on the senior squad.
Sucic to me already has better vision and creativity then Kovacic. I know a lot of people think kovacic had a good game yesterday, but he doesnt have what sucic has.
Kovacic did have a great performance yesterday but he doesn’t have that killer instinct and never will. He’s just not born with it, but Sucic is.
The match is on YouTube for those interested on HNTV:
Looks like Sucic and Franjic are playing the double pivot with Buik as LM and Kacavenda as RM. Marin looks to be playing the roaming AM role. So not much change in system from the senior squad yesterday; 4231 formation.
Should be even better when we get Pasalic, Stanisic and Vuskovic back.
PS: Worth noting Marco Pasalic came to training camp just to support the team even though he’s injured.