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Croatian National Team at European Championships

The Croatian national football team, known for its passion and skill, has enjoyed significant success at the UEFA European Championships. Since its first appearance as an independent nation, Croatia has consistently showcased its footballing prowess on the continental stage.

Early Beginnings and Breakthrough

Croatia started their journey at the European championships as an outsider, but soon made their way to the top of football Olympus. Let’s take a step-by-step look at the entire path that the Croatian national team has gone through:

Euro 1996: The Debut

Croatia made its European Championship debut at Euro 1996 in England. It was a historic moment, as the newly independent nation qualified for its first major international tournament. Led by coach Miroslav Blažević and captained by Zlatko Kranjčar, Croatia impressed the football world with their dynamic play.

Key Moments:

  • Group Stage: Croatia advanced from the group stage, finishing second behind Portugal.
  • Quarter-Finals: They faced Germany, the eventual champions, and despite a valiant effort, Croatia lost 2-1. Davor
  • Šuker’s stunning goal against Denmark in the group stage remains one of the highlights of the tournament.

Euro 2008: Quarter-Finals Heartbreak

Under the guidance of coach Slaven Bilić, Croatia qualified for Euro 2008 held in Austria and Switzerland. The team, featuring stars like Luka Modrić, Niko Kovač, and Ivica Olić, was among the tournament’s dark horses.

Key Moments:

  • Group Stage: Croatia topped their group, notably defeating Germany 2-1 in an impressive performance.
  • Quarter-Finals: In a dramatic match against Turkey, Croatia scored in the 119th minute but conceded an equalizer moments later. They were eventually eliminated in a penalty shootout, leaving fans heartbroken but proud.

Euro 2016: Another Quarter-Finals Exit

Croatia entered Euro 2016 in France with high expectations, boasting a squad filled with talent like Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, and Mario Mandžukić.

Key Moments:

  • Group Stage: Croatia topped their group, with a notable 2-1 victory over defending champions Spain.
  • Round of 16: Croatia faced Portugal in a tightly contested match that went into extra time. Despite their efforts, they were eliminated by a late goal from Ricardo Quaresma.

Euro 2020: Last 16

Postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Euro 2020 saw Croatia once again compete among Europe’s elite. With a mix of experienced veterans and emerging talents, Croatia aimed to build on their 2018 World Cup success.

Key Moments:

  • Group Stage: Croatia finished second in their group, securing a crucial win against Scotland.
  • Round of 16: Croatia faced Spain in an epic encounter. Despite a spirited comeback to level the match 3-3 in regular time, they eventually lost 5-3 in extra time.

From Underdog to the Top

Croatia’s journey at the UEFA European Championships has been marked by memorable moments, dramatic matches and honorable performances.

From their impressive debut in 1996 to recent campaigns, Croatia have consistently demonstrated their football talent and resilience. As the team continues to grow and develop, Croatian fans can look forward to more exciting moments and potential success at future European Championships.