Ukraine vs Croatia: Head to head statistics
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Ukraine vs Croatia match preview
Given the ongoing Russian invasion, Ukrainians are prouder than ever to represent their country at international level, so this team will be more motivated than most to do well at this tournament.
This’ll be just Ukraine’s third appearance at the U21 Euros, getting all the way to the final on debut in 2006, before exiting with just a point to their name five years later.
To get here, Ruslan Rotan’s side had to come through the play-offs, ousting Slovakia, losing the first leg 3-2 in Žilina, before a 3-0 win in Bielsko-Biała four days later; Danylo Sikan the hat-trick hero.
Since then, the Blue and Yellows have lost just one of six friendlies, beating Kuwait and drawing with Republic of Ireland in the last week or so.
Ukraine have also named a very strong squad for this competition, so head to Bucharest with high hopes.
Croatia meantime reached the under-21 Euros knockout phase for the first time two summers ago, doing so at the fourth attempt, before being ousted by Spain in the quarter-finals.
Just like their opponents here, the Blazers were involved in the play-offs last September, with their tie against Denmark going to a penalties, after both legs were won 2-1 by the home side.
Mario Vušković, Toni Fruk, Nikola Soldo, Luka Sučić and Marco Pašalić all held their nerve from 12 yards in Vejle, as Croatia snuck through 5-4 in the shootout.
Last time out, Dragan Skočić's team beat England 2-1 in a friendly at Craven Cottage, emphasising this team’s capabilities.
Spain are favourites to top Group B, but the battle for second place is wide-open, with co-hosts Romania completing the quartet.
Will either team make a winning start at Stadionul Rapid-Giulești in București?
Ukraine team news
There aren’t many players at this tournament who’ve cost over £90 million, but Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk has been named in Ukraine’s squad.
Mudryk was an unused substitute as the senior side beat Malta 1-0 in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday, presumably with starting him here in mind.
Goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin, defender Oleksandr Syrota and forwards Vladyslav Vanat and Danylo Sikan have all also been capped at senior level.
Mykola Mykhaylenko of Dynamo Kyiv has been ruled out due to injury.
Croatia team news
Star players Luka Sučić and Marin Ljubičić have both not been included in this squad.
Roko Šimić is therefore Croatia’s man to watch, with the RB Salzburg forward, who was on loan at Zürich this season, having scored seven times in 15 caps for the U21s.