Croatia, beaten finalists in 2018, will be hoping to go one step further in Qatar.
Croatia finished runners-up in the previous World Cup in Russia after winning all three of their group games against Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. They would make it to the final by winning each of their knockout games either on penalties or after extra-time, before eventually succumbing to an impressive French side.
At 37, this will be playmaker Luka Modric’s last World Cup tournament and the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner will be hoping to go out in style.
The latest Croatia odds to win the World Cup
|Betting market||888Sport||Paddy Power||Sky Bet|
|Croatia to win the World Cup||45/1||45/1||66/1|
|Croatia to reach semi-final odds||15/2||15/2||8/1|
|Croatia to reach quarter-final odds||3/1||3/1||11/4|
|Croatia odds to win Group F||11/4||11/4||11/4|
|Andrej Kramaric World Cup Golden Boot odds||150/1||N/A||N/A|
Our recommended Croatia bet for World Cup 2022
Recommended bet3:00 pm Sunday December 18
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After shocking everyone and reaching the World Cup final four years ago in Russia, Croatia are not expected to reach those heights again in Qatar. With Belgium heavy favourites for Group F, we expect them to qualify for the last-16, but as runners-up, giving them an incredibly tough route to the final. If they were to make it past either Germany or Spain, then early favourites Brazil may be one step too far in the Quarters.
Croatia route to the World Cup 2022 final in Qatar
Group stage fixtures
|Morocco vs Croatia||Al Bayt Stadium||23 November 2022, 10am|
|Croatia vs Canada||Khalifa International Stadium||27 November 2022, 4pm|
|Croatia vs Belgium||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium||01 December 2022, 3pm|
*All times GMT
Croatia have been drawn against many people’s dark horses for the competition in Belgium, alongside African side Morocco and newcomers Canada, who have qualified for the tournament for just the second time in their history. At best price 8/13, they are odds on to qualify from the group stages in back-to-back tournaments for the first time in their history.
Who could Croatia meet in the knockout rounds?
If Croatia can finish above Belgium and top Group F then they should face an out of sorts German side before Luka Modric comes up against former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in a showdown in the quarters. If they can get revenge for their 2018 World Cup final loss against France, then favourites Brazil will most likely await Zlatko Dalic’s men in the showpiece finale.
|If Croatia win Group F||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Germany|
Finishing as runners-up in Group F is most likely to see you face either Germany or Spain in the last-16, with the two heavyweights expected to battle it out for top spot in Group E. If the Croats can come through that test, then they will be treated to another tough task in favourites Brazil, before possibly facing the Netherlands or Lionel Messi’s Argentina side in the semi-finals.
Another repeat of the 2018 final in Russia awaits them in France if they are triumphant.
|If Croatia come runners up in Group F||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Spain|
Our predicted Croatia World Cup 2022 squad
|Dominic Livakovic||Goalkeeper||27||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Lovre Kalinic||Goalkeeper||32||Hajduk Split|
|Josko Gvardiol||Defender||20||RB Leipzig|
|Josip Sutalo||Defender||22||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Luka Modric||Midfielder||37||Real Madrid|
|Nikola Vlasic||Midfielder||24||West Ham|
|Luka Ivanusec||Midfielder||23||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Marko Livaja||Forward||29||Hajduk Split|
|Mislav Orsic||Forward||29||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Bruno Petkovic||Forward||28||Dinamo Zagreb|
Croatia players to watch at this year’s World Cup 2022
Croatia top World Cup Golden Boot contender – Andrej Kramaric
Andrej Kramaric was directly involved in four goals in seven starts in qualifying for the tournament, scoring twice and providing two assists. At the time of writing, the Hoffenheim man has scored eight goals and provided 11 assists in the Bundesliga since the start of last season and scored and assisted against Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the campaign.
Croatia player to watch – Mislav Orsic
Dinamo Zagreb star Mislav Orsic has made a name for himself in European competitions in recent seasons, most notably scoring a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League in 2021. The forward has also scored in both of his Champions League appearances in 2022/23, scoring the winning goal against Chelsea in matchday 1, before scoring at the San Siro against AC Milan, which would turn out to just be a consolation goal.
Croatia emerging player to look out for – Josko Gvardiol
Despite a host of interest from top clubs across Europe, Josko Gvardiol decided to remain at RB Leipzig for the 2022/23 season and that may be a inspired decision in a World Cup year. The 20-year old is a superb ball playing centre half that isn’t afraid to dribble with the ball, having completed more take-ons than any other centre-back in Europe’s top five leagues in 2021/22 and making more passes into the final third than any other centre-back in the Bundesliga.
Comfortable in a back three and at left-back, Gvardiol gives Zlatko Dalic different options in how he can set his side up in Qatar.
Croatia tactical analysis & likely formation at the World Cup
Zlatko Dalic has mainly opted for a 4-3-3 formation in 2022, but has been known to adopt a 4-2-3-1 line-up when needed, most notably in their 1-0 win over Denmark in the Nations League back in June.
Experienced Marcelo Brozovic has been given the role of sitting in front of the defence to allow Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic the freedom to push forward, while Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic is used in much more of an advanced role than he is in Antonio Conte’s wing-back system.
There is no real goalscorer in the Croatia ranks, so expect everyone to chip in Qatar. Six players scored two or more goals in qualifying for the tournament, with experienced players Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic joining Mario Pasalic as the countries top scorers on three goals apiece.
Where are Croatia in the Fifa World Rankings?
Croatia are currently ranked 15th in the Fifa World Rankings.
Who is the Croatia manager?
Zlatko Dalic has been in charge of the Croatia national side since 2017 and led them to the 2018 World Cup final. The 55-year old was a defensive midfielder by trade, having three spells at Hajduk Split between 1983 and 1998.
Who is the current Croatia captain?
Five time Champions League winner Luka Modric, is a serial winner for Real Madrid and currently leads the dressing room for Croatia.
How many times have Croatia won the World Cup?
Croatia are yet to win the World Cup, previously finishing runners-up in Russia in 2018.
How many times have Croatia competed in the World Cup?
Since gaining independence in 1991, Croatia have competed five times at the World Cup, qualifying for six of the last seven tournaments.
Who has scored Croatia’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?
Former Real Madrid, Arsenal and West Ham striker Davor Suker has scored six times at the World Cup, more times than any other Croatian. Tottenham midfielder Ivan Perisic has five World Cup goals to his name and could break the record in Qatar.
Which player from Croatia has the most World Cup appearances?
Luka Modric has made 12 World Cup appearances for Croatia between 2006 and 2018, one more than the ever versatile Dario Simic who made 11 appearances at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups.