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Serious business for Czech Republic and Croatia

Competing in their sixth successive EURO, the Czech Republic encounter something new in their second Group D match – a first competitive meeting with Croatia.

Background: Czech Republic v Croatia ©AFP

UEFA EURO 2016 Group D stages the first competitive meeting between the Czech Republic and Croatia.

Previous meetings
• Croatia have had the better of their two friendly encounters: W1 D1.

• The nations drew 1-1 in Casablanca in December 1996, Croatia winning 4-1 on penalties to lift the King Hassan II Cup.

• Croatia forward Nikola Kalinić scored twice in a 4-2 friendly win in Pula in February 2011 – the first time the Czech Republic had conceded four goals in a game.

Czech Republic's EURO star: Petr Čech
Czech Republic's EURO star: Petr Čech

EURO facts – Czech Republic
• The Czech Republic are competing at their sixth successive EURO, having reached every final tournament since Czechoslovakia split in 1993. 

• They won the competition as part of Czechoslovakia in 1976 and reached the final in their first appearance as the Czech Republic in 1996, losing to Germany.

• The only Czech side to have previously played a UEFA game in Saint-Etienne is Bohemians Praha, who drew 0-0 with St-Étienne in a 1982/83 UEFA Cup second round match.

Croatia's five best qualifying goals
Croatia's five best qualifying goals

EURO facts – Croatia
• This is Croatia's fifth EURO final tournament – they have missed out only once since independence, at UEFA EURO 2000, and this is their fourth successive finals. They have twice reached the last eight and twice bowed out at the group stage.

• Croatia's greatest achievement in international football to date is picking up a bronze medal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup – the last major tournament to be staged in France.

• The only Croatian team to have previously played in Saint-Etienne is Hajduk Split, who lost 5-1 to St-Étienne in a 1974/75 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round game.

Coach and player links
• Croatia forward Andrej Kramarić turns 25 on 19 June.

• The nations' coaches have met before: Pavel Vrba's Viktoria Plzeň got the better of Ante Čačić's Maribor in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League play-offs, winning 3-1 at home and 1-0 away.

• Have played together:
Michal Kadlec (Czech Republic) and Vedran Ćorluka (Croatia) – Bayer Leverkusen, 2011–12

Michal Kadlec (Czech Republic) and Domagoj Vida (Croatia) – Bayer Leverkusen, 2010–11