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Croatia – World Cup preview

Croatia’s had a brief, but eventful affair with the World Cup tournament. A relatively young state, Croatia’s first participation came in 1998, when they reached the semi-finals, ultimately taking third place.

Their current squad features some of the greatest midfielders in the modern game. It doesn’t come as news to football fans worldwide, used to seeing Croatian players routinely represent some of the biggest teams in the world.

Despite their immense talent, the Croatians have failed to repeat the success of the 1998 World Cup. Will 2018 prove to be their time once more?

– Star playersLuka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic

Luka Modric (Croatia) - Real Madrid

– FootballCoin stars: 

Luka Modric (Real Madrid) 5,708.85 seasonal points (Pro), 1,913.10 points (Easy)

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) 8,275.33 seasonal points (Pro), 2,554.30 points (Easy)

– Coach: Zlatko Dalic

– Group: D

– Group fixtures:

Sat June 16: Croatia – Nigeria, Kaliningrad, 8pm

Thu June 21: Argentina – Croatia, Nizhny Novgorod, 7pm

Tue June 26: Iceland – Croatia, Rostov-on-Don, 7pm

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) - Croatia

– Prediction: The Croatians have been drawn into what reporters have dubbed the Group of death. Every World Cup tournament has one.

None of the Croatians’ games are easy ones. But the team will be looking to take advantage of Argentina’s recent lack of self belief and win their group.

From the knockout stages onward, it’s anyone’s guess, with Croatia’s squad simply looking as good as anyone else in the tournament. The East Europeans are a team to avoid at all costs, as far as all the other title contenders are concerned.

– Squad:

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo), Karlo Letica (Hajduk)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Matej Mitrovic (Brugge), Borna Barisic (Osijek), Zoran Nizic (Hajduk), Duje Caleta-Car (Salzburg), Borna Sosa (Dinamo)

Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic (both Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter), Marko Rog (Napoli), Mario Pasalic (Spartak Moscow), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter), Nikola Kalinic (Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht), Duje Cop (Standard Liege), Ivan Santini (Caen)

– World Cup history: (does not include Yugoslavia’s results until 1990): 1998 (Third place), 2002, 2006, 2014, 2018

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