Last updated 15/11/2018 10:13CET
UEFA Nations League: Croatia - Spain Match press kits

UEFA Nations League - 2018/19 SeasonMatch press kits

CroatiaCroatiaStadion Maksimir - ZagrebThursday 15 November 2018
20.45CET (20.45 local time)
Group A4 - Matchday 5
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Previous meetings Only this chapter

Head to Head

UEFA Nations League
DateStage reachedMatchResultVenueGoalscorers
11/09/2018GS-FTSpain - Croatia6-0
ElcheSaúl Ñíguez 24, Asensio 33, Kalinić 35 (og), Rodrigo 49, Ramos 57, Isco 70
2016 UEFA European Championship
DateStage reachedMatchResultVenueGoalscorers
21/06/2016GS-FTCroatia - Spain2-1
BordeauxN. Kalinić 45, Perišić 87; Morata 7
DateStage reachedMatchResultVenueGoalscorers
18/06/2012GS-FTCroatia - Spain0-1
GdanskJesús Navas 88
 QualifyingFinal tournamentTotal

Last updated 12/11/2018 13:37CET

Squad list Only this chapter

Croatia - Squad list
League phase
1Dominik Livaković09/01/199523Dinamo Zagreb - 10
12Lovre Kalinić03/04/199028Gent - 10
23Karlo Letica11/02/199721Club Brugge - 00
2Šime Vrsaljko10/01/199226Internazionale - 10
3Antonio Milić10/03/199424Anderlecht - 00
5Matej Mitrović10/11/199325Club Brugge - 10
6Dejan Lovren05/07/198929Liverpool*10
16Tin Jedvaj28/11/199522Leverkusen*10
21Domagoj Vida29/04/198929Beşiktaş - 20
4Ivan Perišić02/02/198929Internazionale - 20
7Ivan Rakitić10/03/198830Barcelona - 20
8Mateo Kovačić06/05/199424Chelsea*20
10Luka Modrić09/09/198533Real Madrid - 20
11Marcelo Brozović16/11/199225Internazionale*10
13Nikola Vlašić04/10/199721CSKA Moskva - 00
14Filip Bradarić11/01/199226Cagliari - 00
15Mario Pašalić09/02/199523Atalanta - 00
17Marko Rog19/07/199523Napoli - 10
19Milan Badelj25/02/198929Lazio - 10
9Andrej Kramarić19/06/199127Hoffenheim - 10
18Ante Rebić21/09/199325Frankfurt - 10
20Marko Pjaca06/05/199523Fiorentina - 20
22Josip Brekalo23/06/199820Wolfsburg - 00
-Zlatko Dalic26/10/196652 - 20
Spain - Squad list
League phase
1David de Gea07/11/199028Man. United - 30
13Kepa Arrizabalaga03/10/199424Chelsea - 00
23Pau López13/12/199423Betis - 00
2Diego Llorente16/08/199325Real Sociedad - 00
3José Gayà25/05/199523Valencia - 10
4Iñigo Martínez17/05/199127Athletic - 10
12Mario Hermoso18/06/199523Espanyol - 00
14César Azpilicueta28/08/198929Chelsea - 10
15Sergio Ramos30/03/198632Real Madrid - 32
18Jordi Alba21/03/198929Barcelona - 00
19Jonny03/03/199424Wolves - 10
5Sergio Busquets16/07/198830Barcelona - 30
6Saúl Ñíguez21/11/199423Atlético - 32
8Dani Ceballos07/08/199622Real Madrid - 20
10Marco Asensio21/01/199622Real Madrid - 31
11Suso19/11/199324Milan - 00
16Rodri22/06/199622Atlético - 10
20Sergi Roberto07/02/199226Barcelona - 10
21Pablo Fornals22/02/199622Villarreal - 00
22Isco21/04/199226Real Madrid - 21
7Álvaro Morata23/10/199226Chelsea - 10
9Rodrigo06/03/199127Valencia - 32
17Iago Aspas01/08/198731Celta - 20
-Luis Enrique08/05/197048 - 30

Last updated 15/11/2018 10:13CET

Head coach Only this chapter

Zlatko Dalić

Date of birth: 26 October 1966
Nationality: Croatian
Playing career: Hajduk Split (twice), Budućnost Titograd, Velež, Varteks (twice)
Coaching career: Varteks, Rijeka, Dinamo Tirana, Slaven Belupo (twice), al-Faisaly, al-Hilal, al-Ain, Croatia

• A midfielder, he spent the best years of his playing career at Varteks, scoring 13 goals in 108 matches from 1992–96.

• Played for Varteks in two spells, and after hanging up his boots in 2000, worked simultaneously as the club's assistant coach and sporting director. Took sole command on the field for the first time in 2005.

• Dalić more recently found success in the Middle East with al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) and al-Ain (United Arab Emirates); in 2016, he led al-Ain to the AFC Champions League final, where they lost to South Korea's Jeonbuk FC over two legs.

• Assistant coach of Croatia under-21s from 2006-11, he returned to the national-team set-up as boss of the senior side on 7 October 2017, stepping in following the departure of Ante Čačić. 

• A win away to Ukraine two days after Dalić's appointment earned a 2018 FIFA World Cup play-off place, where Greece were defeated as Croatia reached the finals, prompting Dalić to sign a contract running until 2020. They went on to excel in Russia, reaching the knockout stages for the first time since 1998 courtesy of wins against Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland; Denmark and hosts Russia were beaten on penalties en route to the semi-finals, where England were overcome in extra time, but France proved a step too far in the final.


Luis Enrique

Date of birth: 8 May 1970
Nationality: Spanish
Playing career: Sporting Gijón, Real Madrid, Barcelona
Coaching career: Barcelona B, Roma, Celta Vigo, Barcelona, Spain

• Known for his versatility, Luis Enrique spent the bulk of his playing career with Spain's two most successful clubs having started out at home-town side Sporting Gijón.

• Won the Liga and Copa del Rey with Madrid and twice with Barcelona − whom he surprisingly joined on a free transfer from the Merengues in 1996 − and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup at the Camp Nou, where he played under, among others, Sir Bobby Robson, Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard.

• A scorer of 12 goals in 62 appearances for Spain and an Olympic gold medallist on home soil in 1992, Enrique took up both endurance running and triathlon before moving into coaching with Barcelona B in 2008, succeeding his former Azulgrana team-mate Josep Guardiola.

• Appointed coach of Roma in June 2011 but held the post for just one season after a disappointing campaign. Resurfaced at Celta in summer 2013, leading the Galician side to a ninth-place finish in the Liga in his only season in charge.

• Left in May 2014 and was soon announced as Gerardo Martino's replacement at Barcelona on a two-year contract. After a challenging first half of the season, 16 wins from 19 league games in the second half secured a Liga title, the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League following as Luis Enrique emulated Guardiola in winning the treble in his first season in charge, adding another league and cup double in 2015/16. Stepped down in 2017 after another cup win, and appointed Spain coach the following July.


Match officials Only this chapter

  • RefereeAleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
  • Assistant refereesDmitri Zhuk (BLR) , Oleg Maslyanko (BLR)
  • Additional assistant refereesDenis Scherbakov (BLR) , Dzmitry Dzmitryieu (BLR)
  • Fourth officialYury Khomchenko (BLR)
  • UEFA DelegateThibault De Gendt (BEL)
  • UEFA Referee observerAlfredo Trentalange (ITA)


NameDate of birthUEFA matches
Aleksei Kulbakov27/12/1979194

UEFA Nations League matches between the two teams

No such matches refereed

Other matches involving teams from either of the two countries involved in this match

DateCompetitionStage reachedHomeAwayResultVenue
14/05/2006U173rdPOSpainGermany1-1Mondorf les Bains
20/09/2012UELGSLevante UDHelsingborgs IF1-0Valencia
19/09/2013UELGSVitória SCHNK Rijeka4-0Guimaraes
07/11/2013UELGSFC St GallenValencia CF2-3St Gallen
20/08/2014UELPOFC Dnipro DnipropetrovskHNK Hajduk Split2-1Kyiv
29/09/2015UCLGSFC Bayern MünchenGNK Dinamo Zagreb5-0Munich
21/10/2015UCLGSClub Atlético de MadridFC Astana4-0Madrid
25/02/2016UELR32Athletic ClubOlympique de Marseille1-1Bilbao
23/11/2016UCLGSClub Atlético de MadridPSV Eindhoven2-0Madrid
26/09/2017UCLGSSevilla FCNK Maribor3-0Seville
15/02/2018UELR32FC KøbenhavnClub Atlético de Madrid1-4Copenhagen

Last updated 13/11/2018 11:07CET

Competition facts Only this chapter

What is the background to the UEFA Nations League?

The rejuvenation of national team football – and the UEFA Nations League – stems from the desire of UEFA and its 55 member associations to improve the quality and standing of national team football. UEFA and its associations wanted more sporting meaning in national team football, with associations, coaches, players and supporters increasingly of the opinion that friendly matches are not providing adequate competition for national teams.

Extensive consultation and discussions started as far back as the 2011 UEFA Strategy Meeting in Cyprus and continued at a series of Top Executive Programme (TEP) meetings over the following three years. The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014.

What is the basic format?

  • The format of the UEFA Nations League features promotion and relegation. The 55 European national teams have been divided into four leagues in accordance with UEFA's national association coefficient rankings on 11 October 2017.
  • League A includes the top-ranked sides and League D includes the lowest:

League A

Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia

  • Teams have been split into four groups of three, with the group winners then contesting the UEFA Nations League Finals (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be appointed in December 2018 from among the finalist teams.
  • The four teams that finish bottom of their groups will be relegated to League B for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

League B

Group B1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group B2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group B3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group B4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark

  • Teams have been split into four groups of three.
  • The four group winners are promoted to League A, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League C for the next competition to be played in 2020.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer

League C

Group C1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group C2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group C3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group C4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania

  • Teams have been split into one group of three (containing teams from Pots 1, 2 and 3 only) and three groups of four.
  • Due to winter venue restrictions, a group could contain a maximum of two of these teams: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania.
  • The four group winners are promoted to League B, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League D for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

League D

Group D1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group D2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group D3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group D4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

  • Teams have been split into four groups of four.
  • Due to excessive travel restrictions, any group could not contain a maximum of one of these pairs: Andorra & Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Azerbaijan
  • The four group winners are promoted to League C for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

  • Leagues A and B consist of four groups of three teams
  • League C comprises one group of three teams and three groups of four sides
  • League D is formed by four groups of four teams
  • The League Phase Draw for the UEFA Nations League took place at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne on 24 January 2018.
  • In each league, four group winners are promoted (or play in the Finals, see below) and four teams are relegated for the next competition to be played in 2020.
  • The overall UEFA Nations League rankings will determine the composition of the draw pots for the subsequent European Qualifiers.
  • In addition, the UEFA Nations League will provide teams with another chance to qualify for the UEFA EURO final tournament, with four sides qualifying through play-off matches which take place in March 2020 (see below).

When will the UEFA Nations League take place?

The UEFA Nations League will take place as follows:

  • See the full fixture list.
  • The UEFA Nations League group games are being held over six matchdays, during the 'double-headers' in September, October and November 2018. The UEFA Nations League Finals competition for the teams that win the four groups within the top division is scheduled for June 2019.
  • For the UEFA Nations League Finals, the group winners of UEFA Nations League A will play in a knockout format (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be formally appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018 from one of the nations competing in the final four. Italy, Poland and Portugal (all in Group A3) have expressed interest.
  • The play-off matches will be staged in March 2020 (see below).

Will qualifying for the UEFA EURO change?

The changes to UEFA EURO qualifying will make it more streamlined. The equation is now simple: ten groups with the top two teams in each group qualifying automatically, and the other four places being awarded to European Qualifiers play-off winners, in which the 16 group winners of the UEFA Nations League will be in contention.

The UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying draw will be made after the completion of the UEFA Nations League and allow for the four UEFA Nations League Finals participants to be drawn into groups of five teams.

But the key principle of the qualifiers remains: that every team can play every team.

The European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2020 commence in March 2019. There will be two matchdays in each of March, June, September, October and November 2019. In total, there will be five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams (ten groups in all) playing over ten matchdays (the same number as now). The winner and runner-up in each of the ten groups will qualify automatically for the UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament (June 2020).

  • The last four EURO places will be won through the European Qualifiers play-offs, which will take place in March 2020 and which will be contested by the 16 UEFA Nations League group winners.
  • If a group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league. If a league does not have four teams to compete, the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall UEFA Nations League ranking.  
  • Each league will have a path of its own and each path will feature two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The winner of each path will win a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020.

How are the overall UEFA Nations League rankings calculated?

Within each league (A, B, C and D), the overall ranking will be calculated based on position in the group then points, goal difference, goals scored, away goals scored, wins, away wins, disciplinary points, coefficient ranking.

What are the advantages for national associations and teams?

National associations and coaches, in consultations with UEFA, revealed that they feel that friendly internationals are not providing adequate sporting competition. The UEFA Nations League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football.

Top teams can also aspire to take part in the UEFA Nations League Finals, a new top-level event.

For middle-ranking and smaller nations, the UEFA Nations League will offer an extra way to qualify for UEFA EURO final tournaments. Lower-tier countries – the bottom 16 in the rankings – are now guaranteed one of the 24 qualifying slots for UEFA EURO.

Lower-ranking teams who have struggled against sides ranked considerably higher than them will now get the chance to take part in balanced matches. Teams do not learn and progress by repeatedly losing; now some sides will start winning.

While the UEFA Nations League will replace most friendly internationals, there will still be space in the calendar for friendlies, especially for top teams who may want to face opposition from outside Europe as they will be in groups of three teams.

Associations and teams benefit from clarity of the fixture calendar, and there is now a clear buffer between the end of the UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup, and vice versa, as well as stability of income.

What are the advantages for supporters?

Supporters more than most realise that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful football. Now they will have the opportunity to see their teams play in more competitive matches, take part in a new competition and get a second chance to qualify for the major tournaments.

In every even year there are World Cup or UEFA EURO champions; now in every odd year there will be a UEFA Nations League winners. Football is about competition and now, just like in club football, there will be a national team champion at the close of every season.

Will this mean more demands on players and clubs?

No: the UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers will adhere to the existing agreed international match calendar. UEFA is always keen to preserve the balance between club and international football. The new competition should, in fact, reduce demands on players and clubs with less travel envisaged for friendly games while national teams will be playing more consistently at their own level. With double-header matchweeks, players will even go back to their clubs earlier than is currently the case.

Is this just about generating more revenue?

No, finances are not a driver for the new competition. However, the competition will have the same centralised media rights as have recently been introduced for all European Qualifiers so associations will have even more stability in their income.

Will there be no more friendly internationals?

There will certainly be fewer friendly internationals and undoubtedly fewer meaningless friendlies. However, there will still be space in the calendar for friendly internationals – particularly warm-up matches for final tournaments. UEFA is also keen that European teams will still have the chance to play opponents from other confederations.


Match-by-match lineups Only this chapter


  • UEFA Nations League - Group stage – final tournament
    Group A4 - Group Standings
    Matchday 2 (11/09/2018)
    Spain 6-0 Croatia
    1-0 Saúl Ñíguez 24, 2-0 Asensio 33, 3-0 Kalinić 35 (og) , 4-0 Rodrigo 49, 5-0 Ramos 57, 6-0 Isco 70
    Kalinić, Vrsaljko (20 Rog), Perišić, Mitrović, Rakitić, Kovačić, Modrić, Brozović (62 Pjaca), Santini (71 Livaja), Vida, Pivarić
  • Matchday 3 (12/10/2018)
    Croatia 0-0 England
    Livaković, Perišić (68 Pjaca), Lovren, Rakitić, Kovačić (73 Badelj), Kramarić, Modrić, Jedvaj, Rebić (80 Livaja), Vida, Pivarić
  • Matchday 5 (15/11/2018)
  • Matchday 6 (18/11/2018)


  • UEFA Nations League - Group stage – final tournament
    Matchday 1 (08/09/2018)
    England 1-2 Spain
    1-0 Rashford 11, 1-1 Saúl Ñíguez 13, 1-2 Rodrigo 32
    De Gea, Carvajal, Nacho, Sergio Busquets, Saúl Ñíguez, Rodrigo, Thiago Alcántara (80 Sergi Roberto), Alonso (87 Iñigo Martínez), Ramos, Aspas (68 Asensio), Isco
  • Matchday 2 (11/09/2018)
    Spain 6-0 Croatia
    1-0 Saúl Ñíguez 24, 2-0 Asensio 33, 3-0 Kalinić 35 (og) , 4-0 Rodrigo 49, 5-0 Ramos 57, 6-0 Isco 70
    De Gea, Carvajal (75 Azpilicueta), Nacho, Sergio Busquets (59 Rodri), Saúl Ñíguez (65 Thiago Alcántara), Rodrigo, Ramos, Gayà, Asensio, Ceballos, Isco
  • Matchday 4 (15/10/2018)
    Spain 2-3 England
    0-1 Sterling 16, 0-2 Rashford 30, 0-3 Sterling 38, 1-3 Paco Alcácer 58, 2-3 Ramos 90+8
    De Gea, Jonny, Nacho, Sergio Busquets, Saúl Ñíguez (56 Paco Alcácer), Thiago Alcántara, Alonso, Ramos, Aspas (57 Ceballos), Rodrigo (72 Morata), Asensio
  • Matchday 5 (15/11/2018)

Last updated 12/11/2018 13:35CET



  • Disclaimer: Although UEFA has taken all reasonable care that the information contained within this document is accurate at the time of publication, no representation or guarantee (including liability towards third parties), expressed or implied, is made as to its accuracy, reliability or completeness. Therefore, UEFA assumes no liability for the use or interpretation of information contained herein. More information can be found in the competition regulations available on