Platt's Men Choose Upton Park

England's Under-21s will play Croatia at West Ham United's Upton Park on Tuesday, 19th August.

It will be England's first match of the new season and coach David Platt expects a strong challenge from the Croatians:

"They combine technical and physical qualities and will be difficult be beat. However, we have a lot of quality and experience in our squad and will go into the match with confidence. Upton Park is a fantastic stadium, and with a total of five West Ham players involved in the qualifying campaign so far, we hope that the Hammers fans will create a great atmosphere and help us get the new international season off to the perfect start."

England have played Croatia once previously at Under-21 level, losing 0-1 in a friendly at Sunderland in April 1996.

The match is an ideal warm up for the key European Championship qualifiers away to Macedonia and home to Portugal on 5th and 9th September respectively. England currently sit third in the group behind Turkey and Portugal, but still have their fortunes in their own hands.

The winners all the ten qualifying groups qualify for the play-offs in November along with the six best runners-up. The eight play-off winners then qualify for the finals in May 2004, venue to be decided later this year.

Ticket details will be announced in due course.