Croatia is considered one of the dark horses of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Here is a detailed analysis of the team.

World Cup History:

Playfantasy – 1st paragraph

This is going to be the European nation’s 5th appearance in the World Cup. The best finish Croatia has ever managed is a third-place finish in the 1998 edition in France. After parting from Yugoslavia in 1990, the team has only failed to not qualify for one World Cup and that was in South Africa 2010.

Except for their 1998 performance, Croatia has nothing more to show for as they have been ousted in the group stage itself every other time. With the plethora of talent brimming from this country, a better result is expected this time out.

Analysis:

The Blazers have a task cut out for themselves in this World Cup as well after being drawn in a difficult group.

However, the team has some star quality amongst their ranks that should ease the burden of their coach Zlatko Dalic. He led the side past Greece in the play-off stage for the FIFA World Cup qualification and reinstating the belief of players and their abilities.

In Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic and Milan Bajelj the team has one of the strongest midfield partnerships in the world.

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic has been sought after for a while by big clubs and a move for the Croatian seems imminent. This would be the perfect platform for him to show that why he’s one of the best left-footed forward players in the world.

With Mario Mandzukic leading the attack, the team can rely on his physical presence and predatory instincts within the box to score crucial goals.

Meanwhile, UEFA Champions League finalist with Liverpool Dejan Lovren and Vedran Corluka are might in defence as well.

The team has all the tools to have a successful World Cup, and the only thing they need is self-confidence and belief. The brilliance of their midfield can overwhelm any team and it would be a joy to see them play some of the crucial games they have been allotted.

Croatia is clubbed in Group D with Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria.

Full Squad:

Goalkeepers:  Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb).

Defenders:  Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Milan), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka).

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Juventus), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina).

Croatia

Croatia will be eyeing a better WC showing than last time. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Probable Playing XI:

Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Corluka, Strinic, Rakitic, Modric (C), Badelj, Rebic, Mandzukic, Perisic

Key Players:

Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren, Mario Mandzukic

Interesting Tidbit:

When Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, they were twice the runners of the UEFA European Championship in 1960 and 1968.

Croatia

Yugoslavia National Football Team In 1968 Euros. Photo Courtesy: Playbuzz

Probability of winning the World Cup:

Bet 365: 33/1

Skybet: 33/1

Betfair: 33/1