Germany and Croatia caught World Cup spectators by surprise. One nation was sent packing following the group stage and the other made it to the final. As seen every World Cup year, stars emerge from the youth ranks and go on to have amazing careers.
The Germans and the Croatians had a World Cup squad average age of 27. One of the two nations may become much younger four years from now.
Bayern Munich U-19 player Josip Stanišic announced Tuesday that his national team allegiance would be with Germany instead of Croatia (h/t AZ). The Croatian-born Stanišic makes his decision just eight and a half months ahead of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Although the center-back has not featured for either country, the Croatian Football Federation (Hrvatski nogometni savez or HSN) said they had expected the 18-year-old to play for their national team and are not happy with his choice.
“[Josip’s] extremely talented; that’s why we called him. We regret his decision,” said HNS director Sreten Cuk. The Croatian Football Federation director said he believed that the decision was not solely up to Stanišic.
“We spoke with his father a few days ago, and he informed us that Josip would like to play for Germany,” Cuk said. “He has apparently made this decision under pressure from his club.”
Stanišic recently arrived at Bayern in January from SC Fürstenfeldbruck Juniors on a free transfer. Before that, the center-back was a part of the TSV 1860 Munich youth system.
Since arriving, the defender has lifted the 2017 U-17 German championship and captained this year’s U-19 squad in every match, which has won three of their first four matches.
Bayern Munich has been in this situation before, and Germany has benefited.
Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski made similar choices, respectively, some years ago when they chose to represent Germany instead of Poland. Yet, Stanišic is a young center-back in Bayern’s youth system and has not made the same impact of Germany’s first and third all-time goalscorers.
Stanišic accompanies a Bayern Munich team loaded with talent. Midfielder Oliver Batista Meier plays a vital role for the Reds as well as American international Chris Richards, who sits in defense with Stanišic.
The U-19s are doing just fine in goal with Christian Früchtl and Bayern Munich veteran Tom Starke as goalkeeper coach.
Like Früchtl, Stanišic has been given chances to train and play friendlies with the senior team. His latest came this past summer during the International Champions Cup, specifically against Paris Saint-Germain.
For now, the newly acclaimed German international will focus on his time with the Bayern Munich U-19s who place second behind Mainz in the South/Southwest standings, behind on goal difference. The Jungs will face Freiburg following this week’s international break.