As the Croatian senior side takes on Bulgaria and Azerbaijan this week in Euro 2016 qualifying, the U-21’s have a home and away playoff with England which will put the winner in the 8-team Euro 2015 tournament next summer. Alen Halilović, Tin Jedvaj, Ante Rebić and company face the England 21’s on October 10th in Wolverhampton with the return leg in Vinkovci four days later. This Friday’s match kicks off at 12:45PM (ET) with the senior side going at 2:45PM (ET) in Bulgaria.
Not only would Croatia qualify for the tournament in Czech Republic in June, but should this finish in the top four, that would solidify their spot at the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil one year later. It would be the first time Croatian soccer would be represented at the Olympics with the Mladi Vatreni getting a shot at redemption in Brazil after a failed attempt at the 2014 World Cup by Luka Modrić and friends.
This will be a solid test for some of Croatia’s future talent. Many of these boys have already been called up to the senior side with these matches being considered tryouts for eventual call ups. Can they get the job done against England? And make it all the way to Rio?