In their 4th World Cup appearance, the Croats will try to repeat the past achievements of the 1998 historic team, something the former Yugoslav nation sees possible with the current star studded squad of Niko Kovac.
As mentioned, they participated three times in the grand stage before, their highlight is the 1998 World Cup , which was their first appearance, where the duo Davor Suker & Zvonimir Boban, and under the great coach Blazevic, lead the team to 3rd place finish, beating the likes of Germany & Holland across their path to glory. They qualified to the 2006 & 2010 World Cups but failed to go past the group stage.
The current Croatian team contain a lot of strong names playing their trade in Europe, but their midfield is where it shines most. Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic & Ivan Perisic just to name a few, they can dominate any team when they are on their day with those names.
They also possess a strong Fullbacks who play a big role in the style of attack they deploy, with team captain and most capped player Darjo Serna a key with his pinpoint crosses.
Coach Niko Kovac is considered one the game’s greats in Croatia, given his long career with the national team and in the Bundesliga, but on the managerial level he lacks the experience needed to lead a name like Croatia in the World Cup, he took helm of the team just before the two legged tie with Iceland, but before he has just took helm of the U-21 team of Croatia for a short period. But who knows, maybe he can be the surprise package of this tournament and prove his critics wrong!
Luka Modric remains the beating heart of the Croatian team, the whole team and style of play is built around the Real Madrid midfielder, and given the absence of Mario Mandzukic in the opening game against Brazil due to suspension, the responsibility is bigger on the “mini Cruyff”.
Keep a close eye also on Mateo Kovacic, the young Inter midfielder took an active part in the qualifying campaign and his talent brings back a memory of Boban with his accurate passing game and dribbling.
They have a tough opening game against the host nation, but they shouldn’t have problems dealing with Cameroon & Mexico to reach the 2nd round, but seeing that they probably be against either Spain or Holland there, it will be probably where their journey ends in Brazil.