Croatia have the experience and quality, but it remains to be seen if they can transfer the credentials in to the football pitch.
An inconsistent qualification campaign saw the Blazers finish second in the group behind Iceland and then took the route via play-offs to make it into the World Cup for a fifth time.
This team have fond memories of their debut campaign at the competition back in 1998, when they finished third aided by the golden boot of Davor Suker. They been underperformers at this level since, falling in the group phase itself in the last three attempts. They managed to win just 2 of their 9 games, drew 2 and lost 5.
The Croatia football team is blessed with some naturally talented players. The likes Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic, Brozovic, and Dejan Lovren are all key figures of big clubs in Europe. However, these lads must turn the heat to be able break the horrible group stage woe they suffered in recent tournament appearances. Zlatko Dalic tutored side will be locking horns with Argentina, Nigeria, and Iceland in Group D.
But this side have so far experienced mixed fortunes in their preparations for Russia. The Blazers suffered a 2-0 defeat to Peru and then got back to winning ways with a 1-0 margin against Mexico before losing again to Brazil. The team still has Senegal to face before their first world cup clash against Nigeria.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic sits second on Croatia national team goal scoring chart with 30 goals in 82 national team appearances. Mario Mandzukic aerial prowess, and killer finish will be vital in Croatia world cup run.
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic calmness on the ball will be crucial for Croatia in Russia.
Most of all Luka Modric is arguably one of the greatest midfielders in the world right now. Luka Modric is well known for his top-notch passing skills. In addition, the Croatian was crucial in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League hat trick of title wins.
The History of Croatia at the World Cup
Croatia made their first Word cup appearance in 1998 and finished third by beating Netherlands. The now-controversial Davor Suker was a standout performer in the tournament netting 6 goals to win the Golden shoe.
The Blazers haven’t gone past the group phase since, during their 3 appearances in four attempts.
Group D is arguably the pool of death and Croatia need to be at their top of the game for 270 minutes to get into the round of 16. I can only see a 50-50 chance for them at this moment as they are a team that failed to replicate their talent on the football field. If they manage to qualify from the group, the route to quarter final won’t be that hard as they are supposed to meet a relatively easy opponent from Group C.