Croatia, beaten finalists in 2018, will be hoping to go one step further in Qatar after making it to back-to-back semi-finals.
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.
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Latest Croatia odds to win the World Cup
|Croatia to win the World Cup odds
|Croatia to reach the final odds
|Dominik Livakovic World Cup Golden Glove odds
|Andrej Kramaric World Cup Golden Boot odds
Our recommended Croatia bet for World Cup 2022
Many expected them to bow out at the World Cup in the quarter-finals, so it came as a big shock to many people as they knocked out the bookies’ favourites Brazil on penalties.
Croatia route to the World Cup 2022 final in Qatar
Group stage results
|Morocco 0-0 Croatia
|Al Bayt Stadium
|23 November 2022
|Croatia 4-1 Canada
|Khalifa International Stadium
|27 November 2022
|Croatia 0-0 Belgium
|Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
|1 December 2022
Who could Croatia meet in the knockout rounds?
By finishing runner-up to surprise package Morocco, the 2018 finalists took on Japan in the round of 16, themselves sending Germany home as Croatia did to Belgium, a pre-tournament dark horse. The Croats ultimately came through each of their last two matches on penalties, and will now be treated to another tough task, facing Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the semi-finals.
|Route as Group F runners up
Confirmed Croatia World Cup 2022 squad
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. The Hoffenheim man has scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in the Bundesliga since the start of last season and scored and assisted against Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the campaign. He already has two goals to his name this tournament.
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. He has made four substitute appearances so far, and registered an assist against Canada.
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 an 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 against Argentina. Their scintillating attack will struggle to navigate past the precocious bulwark that is Gvardiol.
Croatia tactical analysis & 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. For the World Cup, though, it’s been all about the 4-3-3.
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, which may explain why they fired a blank twice in the groups. Their four goals against Canada saw three players bag, with Kramaric notching a brace. In fact, six players scored two or more goals in qualifying for the tournament, with experienced players Modric and Perisic joining Mario Pasalic as the nation’s top scorers on three goals apiece.
Where are Croatia in the Fifa World Rankings?
Croatia are currently ranked 12th 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 — with this being their sixth — 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, and Ivan Perisic moved level with him after netting in Croatia’s last 16 tie against Japan.
Which player from Croatia has the most World Cup appearances?
Luka Modric has made 17 World Cup appearances for Croatia between 2006 and 2022.