Preview: Croatia Under-21s vs. Romania Under-21s – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s European Under-21 Championship clash between Croatia Under-21s and Romania Under-21s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Croatia Under-21s and Romania Under-21s only have pride to play for as they prepare to lock horns for their final Group B fixture at the European Under-21 Championship on Tuesday.

Both sides have already been eliminated from the competition, with Croatia third in the section on zero points, while Romania have also failed to collect a point from their opening two fixtures.

Match preview

Iran coach Dragan Skocic on January 27, 2022© Reuters

Croatia reached the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship in 2021, but they have been eliminated in the group stage in three of their previous four tournaments and that has now become four in five, having failed to progress to the quarter-finals of the 2023 competition.

The Young Blazers opened their tournament with a 2-0 defeat to Ukraine Under-21s before suffering a 1-0 loss to Spain Under-21s on Saturday, with Abel Ruiz‘s early strike deciding the contest.

Croatia cannot progress to the knockout round, but they would claim third in the section with a win or a draw on Tuesday, which would at least be a small victory for the national side.

Dragan Skocic‘s team have only won one of their last five matches but that proved to be a 2-1 success over England Under-21s in March, so they are capable of picking up big results.

Romania, meanwhile, actually reached the semi-finals of this competition back in 2019, losing to Germany Under-21s, who were then beaten by Spain Under-21s in the final.

The national side were eliminated in the group stage of the 2021 competition, though, and they have also failed to make an impression in the 2023 edition of the tournament.

Emil Sandoi‘s side opened their Group A campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Spain before suffering a 1-0 loss to Ukraine on Saturday, which ended their hopes of reaching the knockout round.

Romania are winless since March 2022, losing six of their last eight matches in all competitions, but they will be determined to end their tournament on a positive note.

Croatia Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:

Romania Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:

Team News

Croatia Under-21s' Martin Baturina celebrates scoring their first goal on March 28, 2023© Reuters

Croatia boss Skocic would certainly have been pleased with aspects of his team’s performance against Spain last time out, so it would not be a surprise to see the same XI start this match.

That said, Roko Simic is the obvious option to come into the side in the final third of the field, having scored seven times in 16 appearances at this level of football.

Martin Baturina will again feature in midfield for Croatia, while the captain Dominik Kotarski should retain his position between the sticks.

As for Romania, the fact that no player in their squad has scored more than two goals at this level of football is an indication of their problems in the final third of the field.

Jovan Markovic is one of those players with two strikes, and the 22-year-old is set to continue in attack, with Claudiu Petrila also in line for a start.

David Miculescu should feature after being an unused substitute last time out, while the likes of Rares Ilie and Alexandru Pantea will be hoping to gain more experience at Under-21 level.

Croatia Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Kotarski; Sigur, Franjic, Perkovic, Krizmanic, Sego; Bulat, Prsir, Baturina; Simic, Beljo

Romania Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Tarnovanu; Pantea, Racovitan, Dican, Ticu; Lixandru, Miculescu; Isfan, Munteanu, Petrila; Markovic

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We say: Croatia Under-21s 0-0 Romania Under-21s

Neither side has found the back of the net at the competition thus far, so we are not expecting a thriller on Tuesday. Romania would certainly accept a point if it were offered ahead of kickoff, and we can see the contest finishing all square.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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