A look at the country’s demographics, football history and its squad status prior to the Qatar World Cup 2022.
Number of inhabitants: approx. 3.9 million.
National Football Association: HNS (Hrvatski Nogometni Savez)
Number of members: approx. 120.000 (3% of total population)
International trophies won: /
Best World Cup result: 2nd in 2018
In the past: Suker, Srna, Pletikosa, Mandzukic, Olic, Simic, Rakitic.
Key current players: Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic.
Coach, formation and possible lineup
Coach: Zlatko Dalic. (since 2017)
Typical formation: 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3
- GK: Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
- LB: Borna Sosa (Vfb Stuttgart)
- RB: Josip Juranovic (Celtic)
- LCB: Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)
- RCB: Martin Erlic (Sassuolo)
- DM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)
- CM: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
- CM: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
- RW: Mario Pasalic (Atalanta)
- LW: Ivan Perisic (Tottenham)
- ST: Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)
Players aged 25 or under in the current lineup: 3
Players aged 32 or over in the current lineup: 2
There are 2 players in this lineup that will (most likely) be playing their last World Cup this year: Modric and Perisic.
There are 3 players in this lineup that can play at least two more: Sosa, Gvardiol and Erlic.
The remaining 6 players could play in one or two more World Cups.
Youngest player: Josko Gvardiol, born 23 January 2002 (20)
Oldest player: Luka Modric, born 9 September 1985 (37)
Average squad age: 27.9
World Cup Qatar – Group F
Wednesday 23 November Morocco vs Croatia
Sunday 27 November Croatia vs Canada
Thursday 1 December Croatia vs Belgium
Croatia is a strong team, there’s no question. But, after losing the final of the previous World Cup, they are in transition. Moving from a squad with several established but aging top players to a more youthful squad. Qatar will be the last chance for Luka Modric to shine on the international stage. It will be interesting to see how Croatia will fare after his retirement. But first – the World Cup in Qatar of course. I expect Croatia to fight with Belgium over the top spot in their group, after which (just like with the Belgians) anything is possible.