Adriatic nation hoping to go one higher than 2018 ultimate loss as clutch of stars readies for a possible final match bow.
Earlier World Cup appearances: 5
Finest end: Runners-up (2018)
World Cup report: W11 D4 L8
World Cup targets: 35
Largest win: 4-0 vs Cameroon (2014)
Participant to observe: Luka Modric
Group stage fixtures: Morocco (November 23), Canada (November 27), Belgium (December 1).
Small however mighty Croatia will hope to observe up on their outstanding journey to the ultimate 4 years in the past and make inroads once more on the Qatar World Cup 2022.
This yr’s match will probably mark a final tilt at soccer’s most prestigious trophy for a number of key gamers, with the Adriatic nation anticipated to progress to not less than the start of the knockout section.
Earlier World Cup appearances
Croatia has competed in 5 World Cups because the nation declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, starting with the 1998 match in France. They’ve featured in each match since, barring the 2010 version, held in South Africa, for which they didn’t qualify.
In 2018, the staff weaved its method method to a primary World Cup earlier than shedding to France.
Alongside the best way, they picked up most factors within the group levels with wins over Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. That was adopted by knockout wins towards Denmark and Russia on penalties, earlier than beating England in a hard-fought, semi-final victory secured in additional time.
Their journey to eventual runners-up represented the nation’s best-ever efficiency, outdoing a semi-final look in 1998 which noticed them once more overwhelmed by France.
Ends in the final 10 video games
Croatia enter the match in wonderful kind, having lately topped their UEFA Nations League group – containing France, Denmark and Austria – following a confidence-boosting run of victories towards all three sides within the European competitors.
Luka Modric will as soon as once more be vital to Croatia’s hopes of success.
The 37-year-old playmaker nonetheless pulls the strings for his staff, captaining the facet and engineering its attacking play from central midfield.
His creativity threatens to pose issues for even the best-organised groups and will likely be pivotal for a facet higher famend for its midfield and defensive assets than its ahead expertise.
His affect on the 2018 World Cup was huge. He scored two and registered one help in a flurry of high-class performances that noticed him recognised because the match’s greatest participant with the Golden Ball award.
A vastly admired footballer, Modric was later the identical yr awarded the celebrated Ballon d’Or, the very best particular person accolade within the sport, and has additionally gained an array of trophies at membership stage with Spanish giants Actual Madrid.
Croatia is predicted to qualify with relative ease from Group F, alongside Belgium.
In response to the most recent Fifa rankings, the facet is the twelfth greatest on the planet and their thrilling mix of skilled stars – together with Modric, winger Ivan Perisic and midfielder Mateo Kovacic – and promising children is anticipated to show too robust for Canada and Morocco.
Croatia – a football-loving nation of 4 million folks during which the game has even been linked with the beginning of the nation itself – has a historical past of dumbfounding expectations and battling its well past extra illustrious rivals.
If the facet can navigate its method by way of the round-of-16, momentum will collect for an unlikely, however actually not not possible, run at a primary World Cup title.