Both Croatia and Romania get their campaigns underway at the Under 21 European Championships on Tuesday, with these two sides aiming to cause a shock this summer. The pair have landed a place in Group C alongside England and France, so their chances of making it through the group and into the semi-finals seem slim. Despite that, these two sides have done well to make it this far, while things could get even better for one of them in this encounter.
Romania are making their first appearance in over 20 years, while this is their second time at this tournament. Romania were quarter-finalists in 1998, but they return to the tournament this week aiming for another impressive run. After all, the senior side are trying to return to the European Championships next summer, while some of these Romania players could be included in that group if they can impress in Italy this month.
Pre-season expectations are a funny thing as they will be typically high for the majority of fans who believe that their side have finally got the tools to kick on in the league and achieve success. However, although expectations at both HIFK and SJK would not have been particularly high, both sides come into this Tuesday’s clash in high spirits as neither side looks in bad touch and, fortunately for us, that should result in an entertaining fixture.
For fans of HIFK, they would not have been expecting too much from the campaign as the title looked beyond reach but they were too good to be involved in a scrap at the bottom. However, in the early stages of the season they struggled to put points on the board and found themselves in a battle they wished to have no part of. Fortunately for the hosts, their form picked up and they come into this match undefeated in their previous five matches, albeit four of those five matches finishing in a draw.