England have won both competitive fixtures against Croatia and will be hoping to make it three as both bow out of the finals.
Article top media content
England will look to continue their perfect competitive record against Croatia when the teams meet in Serravalle on the concluding day of UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C.
• This is both teams' final fixture at the tournament, with each having suffered two defeats to date. England were beaten 2-1 by France and 4-2 by Romania, all six of the goals they conceded coming in the lasr 15 minutes; Croatia went down 4-1 against Romania and 1-0 against France.
• The winners of this match will finish third in the section; should it end in a draw, England would take third place on goal difference.
• England have won both competitive matches between the sides 2-1, those games coming in the play-offs for the 2015 final tournament. Harry Kane was on target in the first in Wolverhampton as the home side came from behind to win on 10 October 2014; four days later, Will Hughes got England's winner in Vinkovci, Croatia bowing out despite Marko Livaja finding the net in each game. Alen Halilović played 79 minutes in the second leg for Croatia.
• Those were the teams' last U21 fixtures; Croatia have won both friendlies between the sides, 3-0 in London in August 2003 – Goran Ljubojević scoring twice – and 1-0 in April 1996.
• England reached the semi-finals of the 2016 European U19 Championship with a 2-1 matchday three win against Croatia in Heidenheim, Germany. Freddie Woodman and Jonjoe Kenny played 90 minutes for England with goalscorer Nikola Moro, Luka Ivanušec and Josip Brekalo in the Croatia ranks. Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke were unused England substitutes, as was Croatia's Marijan Čabraja.
• Croatia are ending a 15-year wait to feature in the final tournament; the most recent of their two previous appearances came in 2004 when, as on their 2000 debut, they finished bottom of their section having failed to win a game, drawing one and losing two on each occasion.
• Defeats in their first two games at these finals mean Croatia's record in the final tournament group stage is therefore W0 D2 L6 F8 A16.
• Croatia have lost in the play-offs three times since their last finals appearance, in 2006 (Serbia and Montenegro, 2-5 on aggregate), 2011 (Spain, 1-5 agg) and 2015 (England, 2-4 agg).
• This time round, Croatia finished top of qualifying Group 1 with 25 points from their ten games (W8 D1 L1). A closing run of four successive victories, with 14 goals scored and none conceded, proved crucial – particularly the 2-0 win at home to Greece in their penultimate fixture which ultimately took Nenad Gračan's team through on head-to-head record after the teams had finished level on points.
• England have qualified for their seventh successive U21 final tournament – the longest ongoing sequence in the competition. They were semi-finalists in Poland two years ago, losing to eventual champions Germany on penalties.
• That was the third time England had made it past the initial group stage in those six finals appearances but the first in four; runners-up in 2009, they also lost in the last four in 2007.
• This is England's ninth participation in an eight or 12-team U21 finals; five of those previous eight campaigns also ended in the group stage.
• Champions in 1982 and 1984, England have reached four further semi-finals, in 1978, 1980, 1986 and 1988.
• England have won only three of their last 15 group games at the final tournament (D4 L8).
• In qualifying for these finals Aidy Boothroyd's side won Group 4 by eight points – one of five teams to reach the finals without losing a game (W8 D2). They won their last three fixtures, and eight of the last nine, while their tally of four goals conceded was the joint lowest along with Romania.
• With that 2017 semi-final shoot-out defeat by Germany counted as a draw, England were unbeaten in 22 competitive fixtures (W16 D6), since a 3-1 loss to Italy on matchday three of the 2015 finals, before losing on matchday one. The loss to Romania was the first time they had suffered consecutive European U21 Championship defeats since the 2013 final tournament in Israel, where they lost all three games.
• Jay Dasilva, Mason Mount and Ryan Sessegnon were all part of England's victorious 2017 European U19 Championship squad, Dasilva captaining the side.
• Phil Foden and Morgan Gibbs-White helped England win the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Foden collecting the Golden Ball for the competition's best player.
• Woodman, Dean Henderson, Jake Clarke-Salter, Kenny, Tomori, Ezri Konsa, Kieran Dowell, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Solanke were all part of the England squad that triumphed at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Solanke won the Golden Ball and Woodman the Golden Glove.
• Woodman, Kenny and Solanke also helped England to victory at U17 EURO 2014.
Links and trivia
• Nikola Vlašić played for Everton in 2017/18 and Filip Benković joined Leicester in 2018 before spending 2018/19 on loan at Celtic.
• Vlašić and half-time substitute Brekalo were in the Croatia side beaten 2-1 by England in the UEFA Nations League on 18 November 2018.
• Benković made his UEFA Champions League debut as an 88th-minute substitute in Dinamo Zagreb's 2-1 home win against Arsenal in September 2015.
• Two months later Benković played 90 minutes as Dinamo Zagreb again won 2-1 against Arsenal, this time away in the UEFA Youth League group stage; Brekalo scored Dinamo's opening goal.
• Brekalo started Croatia's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier against Wales in Osijek on 8 June, helping his side to a 2-1 win.