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World Cup

Trophy Lager: Why Croatia believe they can win it

15:59 GMT+3 02/07/2018
Luka Modric Danijel Subasic Croatia 2018
Their showing against Denmark does not reflect that of a team that qualified for the finals via playoffs, but that of a potential champion!

Croatia’s story in this summer’s event is quite interesting, given the way they qualified for it.

Zlatko Dalic’s side finished second, behind Iceland in Group I of European qualifying series and made it to the tournament after dispatching Greece 4-1 on aggregate in the playoffs.


Rankings

Croatia are placed 20th in the current ranking which means they are quite some distance off the underdog tag…


Road to Trophy

...but what they’ve done so far says otherwise, in fact, they have become one of the favourites to lift the much-coveted trophy.

Croatia made a clean sweep of Nigeria, Argentina [placed fifth in the world] and Iceland to emerge as Group D winners.

They are now through to the quarterfinals - after defeating Denmark in a tightly contested encounter decided from the spot - and will face Russia.


Form

Although the Croats needed more fighting spirit to overcome Kasper Schmeichel and the resilient Danes, they have pretty much needed more of their swagger to get past their Group D oppositions earlier in the tournament.

They found the back of the net seven times, conceding just once in the group stages before their 1-1 stalemate against Denmark.

Make no mistake, this doesn’t in anyway lower their level, it only shows how determined and prepared they are, knowing full well that the competition takes a sterner turn as it progresses.


Star Player

Croatia are best known for the power of their collective, even though the team has top-class players.

With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic bossing the midfield, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic running the channels while Mario Mandzukic and/or Kramaric poach! There’s also Dejan Lovren and goalkeeper Danijel Subašić who are more of springboards that allow their mates thrive.

However, captain fantastic Modric is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch, with two goals to his credit and the head to restore confidence in his team to lead them to the quarters.