Co-hosts Slovenia face a first competitive meeting against the Czech Republic in the second round of Group B games in Celje.
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Matchday 2 in Group B brings a first UEFA European Under-21 Championship meeting for Slovenia and the Czech Republic at the Stadion Celje.
• While co-hosts Slovenia are making their first finals appearance, the Czechs have a U21 title to their name and are looking to reach the knockout rounds for the first time in ten years, their two most recent finals campaigns having ended in the group stage.
• Slovenia will be looking to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to holders Spain in their opening fixture, while the Czechs opened with a 1-1 draw against Italy.
• This is the first time the teams have met in a competitive U21 fixture although they have played in four friendlies. The Czech Republic won three of those after Slovenia had triumphed in the first, Patrik Ipavec scoring the only goal on 21 April 1998.
• Since then, the Czechs have recorded a 3-1 home victory on 15 August 2000 and a a 2-0 success in Portugal on 6 February 2007.
• Most recently, a Kyiv friendly on 5 June 2013 was settled in the Czechs' favour by Jakub Plšek's 29th-minute goal.
• The Czech Republic were 1-0 winners against Slovenia in the group stage of the 2015 European U17 Championship, Ondřej Lingr scoring the only goal. Martin Jedlička, Matěj Chaluš, Denis Granečný, Libor Holík, Michal Sadílek, Ondřej Šašinka and substitute Antonín Vaníček also featured for the Czechs.
• Sadílek and Šašinka gave the Czech Republic a 2-1 comeback win against Slovenia in the European U19 Championship qualifying round on 8 October 2016. Jedlička, Holík, Filip Havelka and substitute Lingr were all in the Czech side, with David Brekalo representing Slovenia.
• Slovenia and fellow hosts Hungary are the only sides to be making their finals debuts at the 2021 tournament.
• Slovenia's most successful U21 campaign came in 2006, when they reached the qualifying play-offs only to lose 2-0 on aggregate to eventual champions the Netherlands (0-0 h, 0-2 a).
• In the qualifying campaign for the 2019 finals, a team coached by Primož Gliha – who was replaced by current boss Milenko Ačimovič in November 2020 – finished second in their qualifying section, 12 points behind France, having picked up 16 points from their ten games (W4 D4 L2).
• A 2-1 home win against Kazakhstan on 11 September 2018 is Slovenia's only victory in their last seven European U21 Championship fixtures (D3 L3).
• Karel Krejčí's side finished top of qualifying Group 4, picking up 21 points from their ten matches to edge out Croatia by a single point at the top of the section. Defeated only once, 2-0 away to Scotland, they made sure of first place with a 2-0 win in Greece in their final qualifier.
• Winners in 2002 with a squad including Petr Čech, Milan Baroš, Zdeněk Grygera, David Rozehnal, Jan Polák and Tomáš Hübschman – who all amassed more than 50 senior caps – the Czech Republic are in the final tournament for the seventh time. Runners-up in 2000, they were knocked out in the group stage in 2007 and, as hosts, 2015, but reached the semi-finals in 2011.
• The Czechs' most recent appearance came in 2017, when they finished bottom of a section including Italy, eventual winners Germany and Denmark in Poland. They picked up three points, beating Italy 3-1 on Matchday 2 either side of defeats by Germany (0-2) and Denmark (2-4).
• Czechoslovakia reached the U21 quarter-finals on six occasions, but never went any further in the competition.
Links and trivia
• Slovenia have never beaten the Czech Republic in a competitive men's international match at any level; their record in eight matches is D3 L5. Their sole success at senior level was a 1-0 friendly win in Ostrava in August 2000; they have lost their other two friendlies.
• Czech clubs have also won all four matches against their Slovenian opponents, Maribor losing to Sparta Praha in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-offs (0-2 h, 0-1 a) and Viktoria Plzeň at the same stage of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League (1-3 a, 0-1 h).
• Jiří Jarošík, who won 23 senior caps for the Czech Republic between 2000 and 2005, has been coach of Slovenian club NK Celje since 2020, with the club playing their home games at the Stadion Celje. Dušan Stojinovič and Žan Zaletel are among the members of his squad.