UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round
Scotland v Croatia
Tuesday, 31 March 2015, kick-off 12pm (UK time)
Lindabrunn Sportschule, Lindabrunn
James Jones says Scotland Under-19s are ready to prove their doubters wrong by beating Croatia tomorrow and sealing a place in this summer’s UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals.
The Crewe Alexandra midfielder featured in Scotland’s 2-1 win over elite round group hosts Austria on Thursday and in the 0-0 draw with Italy on Saturday.
The results put Scotland top of Group 6 going into the final round of matches and one win away from a place at the tournament finals in Greece in July.
Jones believes critics were too quick to write off Scotland’s chances after they finished as the best-third place team of the qualifying round and says the team are ready to show what they are capable of.
He said: “I think some people wrote us off as the whipping boys of the group after the qualifying round but we want to prove them wrong and get through to finals.
“We have learned from our experience in Lithuania (qualifying round hosts) and you can see that from how we have performed in our first two elite round matches against Austria and Italy.
“It’s in our own hands and you can’t ask for too much more going into the last match.”
Dundee-born Jones has spent most of his life living in England and only joined the Scotland national team setup last year after impressing at a number of training camps.
The 19-year-old is now a first-team regular at Crewe in England’s League One and says he is in the right place to continue his development.
He said: “I was born in Dundee and lived up there for a few years before my parents moved down south.
“I feel Scottish – if Scotland were playing against England I would want Scotland to win, especially now with my involvement in the national teams.
“I am playing in the first-team at Crewe and enjoying my football.
“I think every young player wants to be playing first-team football and League One is a great division to learn your trade and develop as a footballer.”
Croatia stand between Scotland a first appearance at the European Under-19 Championship finals in nine years.
A win would guarantee their place in the last eight of the competition and Jones says the team will give their all to ensure they advance.
Jones said: “We know Croatia are a solid team with some good technical players but we are feeling confident going into the match.
“There’s a real togetherness in the squad and every player would put their body on the line for the team.
“We want to play against the best countries in Europe at the finals and we will be doing everything we can to get there.”
Follow Scotland’s vital UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round match against Croatia on the Scottish FA Twitter (kick-off 12pm UK time).
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