For the primary time of their historical past, Croatia will enter a World Cup during which the one option to higher their earlier outcome could be to win the entire thing.
Zlatko Dalic’s facet shocked everybody after they made a run all the way in which to the 2018 last, falling to a stacked France facet in Moscow.
The Vatreni can have their work minimize out in the event that they’re to even match these achievements from Russia in Qatar, however now that they’ve a wealth of event expertise behind them, such a feat may not be essentially the most stunning factor.
Here’s all the pieces it is advisable to find out about Croatia forward of the 2022 World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivusic (Osijek), Ivo Grbic (Atletico Madrid)
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Dejan Lovren (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Josip Juranovic (Celtic), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (Stuttgart), Josip Stanisic (Bayern Munich), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Josip Sutalo (Dinamo Zagreb)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Mario Pasalaic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino), Lovro Majer (Rennes), Kristijan Jakic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Luka Sucic (Red Bull Salzburg)
Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Tottenham), Andrej Kramaric (1899 Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hajduk Split)
Backup goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic is the one member of Dalic’s regular contingent that may miss the World Cup by means of damage.
Dominik Kotarski, Nediljko Labrovic, Duje Caleta-Car, Marin Pongracic, Luka Ivanusev, Josip Misic, Josip Brekalo and Antonio Colak had been minimize from the preliminary squad.
Still going robust at 37, Luka Modric might be dreaming of swapping silver for gold on the World Cup this time round. His performances in 2018 helped him win the Ballon d’Or, and whereas he understandably is not as constant a participant as of late, he nonetheless steps up in massive moments and might be essential to their possibilities as soon as extra.
One of Europe’s perennially underrated midfielders, Marcelo Brozovic might be serving to Modric in the course of the park once more. Still solely 29, the Inter star brings as a lot expertise as power and can relish their massive encounters – a duel with Kevin De Bruyne and Belgium on matchday three goes to be significantly tasty.
Listed as a ahead for nation however taking part in at wing-back for membership, Croatia will once more lean on Ivan Perisic to assist lead them at a serious event. Only Modric and Darijo Srna have extra caps for the nation than the Tottenham man, who has come into kind on the proper time.
Chelsea had been prepared to interrupt the financial institution for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in the summertime (and so they should still accomplish that down the road), and the 20-year-old ought to see his inventory rise as soon as he will get his first style of World Cup expertise.
Many of Croatia’s centre-back choices are within the twilight of their careers, however Gvardiol offers Dalic an opportunity to refresh a squad which might look very completely different over the subsequent few years.
Dalic has closely favoured a 4-3-3 system in 2022, trying to weld collectively his skilled core and a few brisker faces.
Croatia predicted XI: Livakovic; Juranovic, Sutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa; Brozovic, Modric, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic
Croatia booked a spot within the UEFA Nations League finals previous to this yr’s World Cup, profitable 4 and drawing considered one of their final 5 outings.
They are considered one of few competing nations who will play a pleasant earlier than the event kicks off on Sunday, with a match towards Saudi Arabia set to happen on Wednesday.
Croatia’s final 5 outcomes (all competitions)
Croatia 1-1 France
Denmark 0-1 Croatia
France 0-1 Croatia
Croatia 2-1 Denmark
Austria 1-3 Croatia
This will probably be the swan-song of Croatia’s golden era, and for a rustic of underneath 4 million folks, they need to be pleased with their achievements.
For them to match their run at 2018 would in all probability be a good larger feat than the unique, although with it being such a bizarre World Cup, you possibly can’t rule out a darkish horse going far once more.
Unfortunately for Croatia, there are different darkish horses with brisker legs than theirs. Save up for the Nations League parade as a substitute, lads.
Prediction: Last 16
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