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National Teams > Men > U-16

"Vlatko Marković" Youth Tournament

Rukavina: "As hosts,
we've naturally got
high expectations"

23.09.2020.
Rukavina: "As hosts, we've naturally got high expectations"
photo by: HNS
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The final preparations are underway for the second edition of the “Vlatko Marković” International Youth Tournament, with eight U-16 national teams soon playing their first matches in Osijek. Group A includes Croatia, Qatar, Montenegro and Bulgaria, while Group B consists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Zambia and North Macedonia.

The tournament is organized by the Croatian Football Federation with support from the FIFA Forward Development Programme. It carries the name of one of the most prominent individuals in Croatian football history – former player, coach, head coach, football official and HNS president Vlatko Marković, who headed the Croatian FA from 1998 to 2012. The tournament will commence on September 23, which is the 7th anniversary of Marković’s passing.

“I’m proud that, even in these particular times, we’ve managed to maintain this tradition and organize this tournament for a second year in a row. The pandemic of COVID-19 didn’t make things easy for us – we’ve had to move the tournament from the spring to September, but in the end the most important thing is that we’re here now. Like the rest of the world, football is also getting used to the so-called “new normal”, and the spotlight right now is mostly on senior competitions. That’s why hosting a youth tournament is an especially important thing in these conditions. I’m truly sorry that several teams that participated last year and wanted to return in 2020 – like Argentina, Mexico, China, and Korea – couldn’t be here because of COVID-19. However, we have eight excellent teams in Osijek and I am certain we’ll get to see great football. I would like to thank HNS president Davor Šuker and our entire management for their support in organizing this tournament,” said HNS head instructor Petar Krpan.

foto: HNS
 

The Croatian team will be led by head coach Tomislav Rukavina and will formally open the tournament against Qatar.

“I’m happy to see that we’re continuing this tradition of holding youth tournaments in honor of Vlatko Marković, who was a great man, player and football official. As hosts, we’ve naturally got high expectations – we have an excellent generation on our hands, which we saw during the summer camp in August. There’s a wide base of players available to us; even with small issues with injuries and cancellations, we’ve assembled a team that has a lot to offer at this tournament,” says Rukavina.

foto: HNS

“I expect an excellent tournament – we’ve got teams coming from other continents and we’ll get to see diverse styles of football. For a lot of our young players, these will be their first international matches of this type, though we have already played two friendly matches. However, a tournament setting is a different thing altogether and it will be an opportunity for me to see the players’ ability to adapt to different opponents. It’s going to be interesting to see how well they’ll play in this context – they’re still young and need a lot of experience, but we’re going to be able to see which players are the quickest to adapt to new demands and circumstances,” says Rukavina, who has called up the following players for the tournament:

Dorian KLARIN (Dinamo), Nemanja POZNANOVIĆ (Osijek), Lorenzo TRAVAGLIA (Istra 1961), Roko PERKOVIĆ (Osijek), Marat ŽLIBANOVIĆ (Rijeka), Patrik MAJDANDŽIĆ (Dinamo), Martin PLAVEC MARKOVIĆ (Varaždin), Diego SEKULIĆ (Hajduk), Ivan CVETKO (Dinamo), Rocco ŽIKOVIĆ (Istra 1961), Marin PREKODRAVAC (Osijek), Luka KAPULICA (Hajduk), Dino KEGALJ (Dinamo), Luka VRBANČIĆ (Dinamo), Vito ČAIĆ (Dinamo), Fabijan KRIVAK (Lokomotiva), Lovro ZVONAREK (Slaven Belupo), Marko CUKON (Istra 1961), Vilim GEC (Dinamo), Roko BRAJKOVIĆ (Hajduk), Luka DUDUKOVIĆ (Dinamo), Mate IVKOVIĆ (Hajduk).

foto: HNS
 

All matches will be played without spectators.


Match schedule

September 23, 2020

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - ROMANIA (10:30 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

BULGARIA - MONTENEGRO (12:15 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

NORTH MACEDONIA - ZAMBIA (15:00 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

CROATIA - QATAR (17:00 CET, NK Osijek Stadium)

September 24, 2020

ROMANIA - NORTH MACEDONIA (10:30 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

QATAR - BULGARIA (12:15 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

ZAMBIA - BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (15:00 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

MONTENEGRO - CROATIA (16:45 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

September 25, 2020

ROMANIA - ZAMBIA (10:30 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

QATAR - MONTENEGRO (12:15 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - NORTH MACEDONIA (15:00 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

CROATIA - BULGARIA (16:45 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

September 27, 2020

7th place play-off (9:30 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

5th place play-off (11:00 CET, NK Elektra Stadium)

3rd place play-off (12:30 CET, NK Grafičar Stadium)

Final match (16:00 CET, NK Osijek Stadium)

 

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