UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Perfect Croatia pip Portugal to finals spot

Croatia have reached the finals after posting a perfect record in elite round Group 2, beating Portugal in their last game after wins against Azerbaijan and Serbia.

Croatia celebrate scoring against Azerbaijan
Croatia celebrate scoring against Azerbaijan ©UEFA.com

Croatia have joined Belgium in booking their place alongside hosts Bulgaria in May's expanded 16-strong UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals after topping elite round Group 2 by edging Portugal in their final game.

Dario Bašic's side would have missed out on first spot had they lost to Portugal in their last encounter, but they collected a perfect nine points courtesy of a 1-0 success in Baku. Portugal must now wait to see if they qualify as one of the seven runners-up across the eight groups with the best record against the teams first and third in the sections.


Winners: Croatia – posted comfortable wins against mini-tournament hosts Azerbaijan (4-0) and Serbia (3-0) and rounded off an excellent campaign by defeating Portugal, who ended with ten players following a late red card for captain Moreto Cassamã.

Other performances: Portugal finished second ahead of Serbia of goal difference, the two sides drawing their game and both recording commanding victories versus Azerbaijan.

Key moment: Croatia captain Nikola Moro opened the scoring against Serbia and bettered that with the winning effort against Portugal, finding the net shortly after the restart to ensure a 100% record for his side.

Star performer: Moro for leading from the front and weighing in with two valuable strikes for Croatia.

Croatia coach Dario Bašic
I'm feeling wonderful emotions. We prepared a lot for this, but we had problems before the match. A few players went down with fever and one player was suspended, so our bench was very thin. My team did an excellent job against a very strong Portugal team. We did what I'd planned beforehand and I congratulate my team on their great work. We had very little time to prepare. I got this team two weeks before the tournament and we had just two friendlies against Ireland. I was expecting points against Azerbaijan and Serbia and maybe a point against Portugal, but it was my dream to get nine.

Croatia captain Nikola Moro
This is a historical moment for the Croatian national team. I am happy that we could make this happen. Now we are going to Bulgaria to show that we can be even better than this. I want to score in every match. I didn't know that my goal would be so important, but this is the result of team work. Every goal is special for the national team.