Croatia's 2022 World Cup Standings
Croatia is the third team in Group D, which also includes Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria. Below you will find their current tournament standings, updated after every matchday.
Croatia's Odds To Win The World Cup
Croatia has a stack of talent and if they can manage to put it all together in Russia they are a chance of going on a run as they did in 1998. Their first team is made up of players who feature some of the best club sides in Europe, so the only question is whether or not Zlatko Dalic can have them focussed and firing.
Sports Interaction has listed them in the top half of chances to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and if you fancy a punt on the outsiders you can get odds of +3900. They are favourites to progress from their group although at -200 they still present fantastic value to do so. We are very confident Croatia will finish second in Group D behind Argentina, and therefore recommend a wager on them to qualify from the group.
Croatia is priced at +225 to reach the quarter-finals, and while they certainly have a team capable of progressing, they will most likely be coming up against France in the Round of 16. If they manage to avoid the French, this would be a great value bet, however, we believe that they will fall short and be eliminated in the second round.
Whatever you choose, there's no doubt that Croatia has enormous potential, and will be one of the most exciting teams to watch at the 2018 World Cup.
Croatia's Squad & Key Players
All teams must declare a 30 man squad for the World Cup by the middle of May, while the final 23 man squads don't have to be finalized until the first week of June, just days prior to the tournament start date. We will update you when the team sheets are announced, but first, let's take a look at some of the most important players in the Croatian team and who we think will play a big part in the competition.
Luka Modric (Midfielder)
The Real Madrid star is one of the best midfielders in the world and is easily the most crucial cog in the Croatian setup. He became the first Croatian in history to be named in the FIFA World XI, doing so in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and has been named the Croatian Footballer of the Year six times, equalling Davor Suker's record.
His versatility is his greatest asset and he can be employed in a number of midfield roles; Modric is most often deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. He now captains Croatia and has already made over 100 senior starts for his country. At 32, this may well be one of his last major international tournament appearances, so he will be very keen to guide his nation to the latter stages of the competition.
Ivan Rakitic (Midfielder)
Another classy midfielder, Rakitic is a great performer for Barcelona and both a Europa League and UEFA Champions League winner. He has made 88 appearances for his country and is normally deployed on the right-hand side alongside Modric who takes up a more central position.
Mario Mandzukic (Forward)
Mandzukic has scored goals for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, and is currently leading the line for Juventus. Known for his high work-rate and physical power, it is often said that he does his best work off the ball by creating space for his teammates. Mario has made 81 appearances for Croatia and scored 30 goals.
The Coach - Zlatko Dalic
Dalic took over the national team role in October 2017 after the sacking of Ante Cacic, which continues a trend of short spells in the head coaching role. He came in to ensure that Croatia held onto their chance of World Cup qualification, and he did just that in winning the decisive group match in Kyiv against Ukraine before emphatically disposing of Greece in the play-off.
It remains to be seen what kind of formation and tactics Dalic will utilize with the national team, particularly as his resume does not include any other international roles. He has spent much of the last three years in the UAE with club side Al-Ain, leading the team to an AFC Champions League final in 2016, but it will be interesting to see how he goes at the world's biggest tournament.
Croatia's World Cup 2022 Lineup
Russia's latest international was the second-leg of their World Cup qualification playoff against Greece on November 12th, 2017. The full lineup was as follows.
Starting Lineup (4-3-3)
Danijel Subasic (Monaco) - Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid) - Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) -Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus).
Reserves: Marin Leovac, Andrej Kramaric, Lovre Kalinic, Josip Pivaric, Ante Rebic, Matej Mitrovic, Dominik Livakovic, Mario Pasalic, Zoran Nizic, Filip Bradaric, Marko Rog, Nikola Vlasic
Croatia's World Cup History
Since becoming an independent nation, Croatia has punched well above their weight in international football considering their population is just over four million. They have managed to qualify for five out of six tournaments since their first entrance in 1998, and it was their first-ever appearance in which they shocked the world as they made it all the way to the semi-finals, defeating Germany 3-0 along the way.
The 1998 Croatian team is still seen as the best in the nation's short history, boasting the likes of Real Madrid striker Davor Suker, who is Croatia's all-time leading goal scorer, former West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic, and AC Milan midfielder Zvonimir Boban.
After their incredible success in the 1998 World Cup in France, Croatia has not come close to a repeat performance. 2002 saw them grouped alongside Mexico, Italy and Ecuador, and although they managed a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Italians, defeat to Ecuador in their final match meant that Croatia would be eliminated at the group stage.
2006 proved to be Croatia's least successful campaign to date, finishing with two draws and a loss in a group containing Brazil, Australia and Japan. Once again Croatia was in a position to qualify, however, a late goal by Australia in their final group match was enough to send them home early for the second consecutive tournament.
After failing to qualify for the 2010 tournament in South Africa, Croatia's next opportunity came in 2014, and once again they found themselves in the same group as the Brazilians. After losing to the hosts in their opening match, a 4-0 victory over Cameroon looked to have Croatia on track, but once again they fell at the final hurdle as Mexico scored three goals in ten minutes to eliminate them.
With perhaps their best team since the golden generation of 1998, Croatia has a great opportunity to progress to at least the second round in 2018. While they come up against the might of Argentina, they will fancy their chances against Nigeria and Iceland. It will be a great group to follow at the World Cup.